(Apologies to Bruce Raffel)
Three weeks ago, the Ravens clung to a three point lead provided by a Mike Wallace fumble and a special team’s touchdown to claim the crown for Joe Flacco in what will doubtlessly remembered as one of the greatest quarterback duels in NFL history.
For years, NFL fans have dreamt of Joe Flacco going up against someone who could finally match his skill set of questionable decision making, poor mobility, and a strong yet depressingly inaccurate throwing arm. That dream became a reality three short weeks ago, as the equally awkward Leftwich took the field in a clash of the (quarterbacks who might not start for the) Titans.
In the end, the outcome was decided by Cam Cameron’s shrewd play-calling ability. He called on the wisdom of Championship’s past (note singular tense), and employed the same strategy used in the Ravens' super bowl victory:
Don’t let your inept moron QB throw the ball more times than the other team’s inept moron QB.
Yes, just as Trent Dilfer was permitted to throw fewer times than equally awful Kerry Collins in super bowl XXXV, Joe Flacco was allowed to throw fewer times than Byron “look at me, I can be as tough as Ben but not win when I do that” Leftwich.
To expose a quarterback of Flacco’s ability to any playoff caliber defense, who make him pay for every mistake he makes, would be insane at this point in the season, especially with an otherwise good team, full of hope for a postseason run. Why watch Joe misread man and zone defense, fail to recognize double coverage, and short arm throws at his receivers’ shoelaces, when there is almost no reason to justify it?
The Ravens are still firmly in the hunt for the second overall seed in the AFC. They hold tiebreakers over every team but the Texans, who they’d have to finish a full game ahead of in order to claim the first overall seed. Why jeopardize a perfectly good first round bye by allowing Joe Flacco to throw? Any play other than a handoff to Ray Rice should be a checkdown to Ray Rice, or an intentional throw out of bounds. This would almost certainly ensure them a first round bye.
Taking the risk of putting every game on Joe Flacco’s arm could theoretically result in victory, but at what cost? Flacco is capable of losing to the lowliest of teams, like last year’s Jaguars, and could reduce the Ravens to a wildcard spot if left in control of his team’s destiny.
As much as the Steelers cannot stand the Ravens and their QB (and coach – doucher), there has always been a mutual respect between the two teams, toward Mike Tomlin, the players, and the majority of the civil fans.
However, there has also been a one sided hatred in this rivalry that is so strong that the editor of Baltimore Beatdown finds it necessary to write an eight paragraph article on his opinion of what the Steelers should do with their star quarterback. This is not an indictment of Bruce, it is a microcosm of the insane obsession that the Ravens’ fan base has with the Steelers in general, and I hope that Ravens fans reading this satirical article can see how silly it sounds to have a fan of an opposing team venting his opinions about one of your players.
Now, imagine having bullshit like this written about your team 16+ weeks a year and you’ll know what it’s like to be a Steelers fan.