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Injuries mounted for Flacco as season went on

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Posted Jan. 21, 2010 @ 10:47 a.m. ET
By Mike Wilkening

It is clear that Ravens QB Joe Flacco battled various injuries as the 2009 season progressed.

His injury issues started in earnest in Week Six, when he suffered an ankle injury in a loss at Minnesota. He was also twice listed with a knee injury in the second half of the season. Furthermore, he appeared on the injury report before the Week 14 game against Detroit with a hip bruise, and he apparently reaggravated the injury in the regular-season finale at Oakland. The following week, Flacco was listed on the injury report with a hip injury, but he played in the wild-card win at New England, although he attempted just 10 passes. He was not on the injury report in the week leading up to the divisional-round loss at Indianapolis, when he threw for 189 yards with no TDs and two interceptions.

At his season-ending press conference, head coach John Harbaugh told Baltimore reporters that Flacco had a "bad contusion on his thigh, on the outside of his thigh and hip area" and indicated the injury bothered him after the Oakland game and was a concern at the end of the season.

"I think Joe showed some real toughness throughout the last five, six weeks playing through that," Harbaugh said.

Including the playoffs, Flacco did not reach 200 yards passing in his final four starts, and his last TD pass came in Week 16. Granted, the Ravens didn't have to rely on the passing game in the season finale at Oakland or in the wild-card rout of the Patriots because of their strong running game, but when Flacco needed to throw more with Baltimore trailing at Indianapolis, he did not fare particularly well.

One defensive assistant who game-planned against the Ravens' offense this season told PFW that Flacco is at his best when the Ravens' running game is rolling and "when he throws it 18-20 times a game; then they have (boot-leg) and play-action passes" at their disposal. The assistant suggested that Flacco is strongest when "he's got one read (to make)" and believes Flacco struggles when he has to look for his second and third receivers.

At his season-ending press conference, Harbaugh said he likes the way Flacco has developed. "Second year to third year, I expect him to make some more progress, but I would say he's on schedule," he said.


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