BALTIMORE -- When Joe Flacco spoke out against the Baltimore Ravens' use of the Wildcat offense, fans and critics alike told the quarterback there is an easy way to get rid of it -- play better. That's exactly what Flacco did in Thursday night's 22-20 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Flacco drove the Ravens into Steelers territory on all but one his nine drives, and Baltimore punted only once. His 68.5 percent completion rate (24 of 35) was his second-best of the season, and his 98.6 passer rating was also his second highest of the year. His four-game streak of throwing at least one interception ended.
This continues a trend for Flacco, who typically backs up his talk. A day after the Ravens put Tyrod Taylor behind center for five snaps last Sunday, Flacco said the Ravens' use of the Wildcat makes them look like "a high school offense" and wanted every opportunity to have the ball in his hands.
Flacco proved his point from the start Thursday night by fearlessly taking deep shots down the field. He completed four of his first five attempts for 74 yards and a touchdown.
There was even a time when Flacco showed Taylor isn't the only one who can gain yards with his legs. When the Ravens faced a third-and-8 in the second quarter, Flacco scrambled for 9 yards and a first down. It was a determined run by Flacco, who didn't elect to slide.
As a result, the Ravens didn't use the Wildcat once and Flacco wasn't asked about it for the first time this week.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh said the Wildcat was in the game plan against the Steelers.
"We will continue to have it in the game plan," Harbaugh said after the game. "But the flow of the game dictated the way we were playing, and it wasn't in our best interest to put it out there.”
Harbaugh can say it was "the flow" that dictated not using the Wildcat. But if you want to be more specific, it was Flacco who dictated it.