Don’t count Joe Flacco among those impressed by the Dallas Cowboys or their 9-1 start.
“We should beat this team,” Flacco said bluntly. “We should beat this team and I’m not kidding.”
Flacco’s dismissal came after the Cowboys dismissed his Baltimore Ravens 27-17 Sunday afternoon at A&T Stadium.
We should beat this team. We should beat this team and I’m not kidding.
Ravens QB Joe Flacco after Sunday’s 27-17 loss to Dallas
Ravens coach John Harbaugh was somewhat more diplomatic on the subject.
“If we play good, solid football, if we play winning football, eliminate the mistakes, we would have won the game in my mind,” Harbaugh said. “That’s how I look at it.”
Flacco threw for 269 yards and ended a drought of 16 consecutive quarters on the road without a touchdown pass, hitting Steve Smith Sr. for a 5-yard scoring strike in the fourth.
For the most part, though, the Ravens (5-5) had trouble moving the ball consistently. Not having the ball was part of the problem, as the Cowboys had a 35:39-24:21 edge in time of possession.
136 Yards of penalties for the Ravens on Sunday against the Cowboys
Twelve penalties for 136 yards also contributed to the AFC North leaders losing their third straight road game.
A 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty by center Jeremy Zuttah helped thwart a third-quarter drive with the Cowboys leading 17-10.
Harbaugh claimed he didn’t see the foul, asking reporters instead for their opinions on Zuttah’s de-cleating of safety J.J. Wilcox while running back Kenneth Dixon was fighting for extra yards. Flacco said the play hadn’t been whistled dead, and it’s hard to ask a lineman not to hit somebody in that situation.
But when you’re playing football and you’re an offensive lineman and that’s your nature, it’s tough to say play smart. You’re just looking to hit guys.
Flacco on center Jeremy Zuttah’s 15-yard penalty in the third quarter
“It might not have been the smartest play, but the whistle hadn’t blown,” Flacco said. “It’s tough. In this day and age in football, they’re going to probably make that call. But when you’re playing football and you’re an offensive lineman and that’s your nature, it’s tough to say play smart. You’re just looking to hit guys.”
The ambiguity wasn’t lost on Zuttah.
“The running back is fighting for yards, so I’m trying to help him out,” Zuttah said. “You’ve got to know just certain situations; you’ve got to toe the line.
“There’s a fine line between being aggressive and doing something dumb. [The official] told me that you can’t hit him like that whether the whistle blew or not.”
▪ Smith caught eight passes for 99 yards, becoming the 14th player in NFL history to reach 1,000 career receptions.
▪ The Ravens lost to the Cowboys for the first time in five all-time meetings.