There isn't ever a good time to take a painful hit to the left knee, but for quarterback Joe Flacco to have it happen in Week 16 with the Ravens trying to make a run at the playoffs is close to the worst possible moment.
Flacco dodged time missed, however, by taking the ball in Sunday's loss to the Patriots and reports that his knee is improving as time goes on.
"It feels better. It felt real good on gameday," he said Tuesday. "A little sore yesterday and today, but it feels a lot better."
Flacco wore a knee brace Sunday for the first time since he was a junior at Delaware, and he doesn't plan to change a thing, as he'll wear it this week at Cincinnati.
"I'm going to do it the same way. I really just want to make sure I can be as safe as I can moving forward so nothing crazy happens," he said. "Yeah, I'm pretty comfortable with it. It's not ideal, but it is what it is. It's not that big of an issue."
Flacco played better in the second half against New England than the first. He had an atrocious opening two quarters, going 5-for-10 for 52 yards and an interception while taking three sacks. After halftime, he went 17-for-28 for 208 yards, an interception and a rushing touchdown.
Flacco said the reversal wasn't because he became accustomed to playing on the knee.
"Nah, it wasn't anything to do with that. The knee actually felt really good all game. That's just the way it played out," he said.
In the contest, Flacco was intercepted two more times while throwing for no touchdowns to increase his career-high picks total to 19 - seven more than he had in any of his first five seasons - compared to 18 touchdowns.
The turnovers definitely bother Flacco.
"I've told you before, I don't like throwing interceptions," he said. "But at this point, it is what it is. I can't do anything about the ones I've thrown. I've just got to go out there and play this game and make sure we get a win and don't worry about really anything else. But you guys know it's never good to throw interceptions and put your team in a bad position. But like I said, if I dwell on that, I'm not going to give ourselves a good chance to win in this game right here. So that's all I've got to worry about."
Flacco was never able to lead the Ravens offense back into the game after falling behind 20-0 Sunday. The team found a small rhythm in the third quarter, evidenced by the way the quarterback threw the ball in the second half.
But Baltimore was only able to accumulate 358 yards in the most important game of the season to date.
"It was really frustrating. You want to go out there and put your best foot forward, and we didn't really do that," Flacco said. "We scored late and got ourselves back within a chance to get 14 on the board, and if we would've done that, we could've put some real pressure on them. But we just couldn't connect and convert, so yeah, it was pretty disappointing."
On a more positive note, Flacco was voted Media Good Guy by the beat crew covering the team. He won with 13 votes, beating out defensive end Chris Canty (nine) and safety James Ihedigbo (eight). For full disclosure, I voted for Canty.
However, Flacco is an excellent choice for the very reason explained in the award announcement.
"Flacco's accessibility and candid, blunt opinions pleasantly surprised the Ravens' media corps this year, an extraordinary showing for someone who plays such an important position and who has a growing family at home," the release said.
Flacco was somewhat surprised to garner the honor.
"I heard a rumor that that was being talked about. That's pretty funny," he said. "I never ever would've ever thought I would be in the running for that because I don't give you guys really anything, I don't feel like. It's definitely pretty cool."
Flacco said he doesn't plan to change his approach to talking to the press now that he knows reporters appreciate what he has to offer in interviews.
"Everything's going to be good, all the same," he said. "... I give you what I have. I'm usually pretty honest."
And on the lightest note of the day, here's a look at the Santa socks the quarterback donned in the last practice before Christmas.