Flacco on pace for sixth-most passes in NFL history

We’ve talked a ton about the Ravens’ increased reliance on the pass this season, and I mean it when I say that I don’t want to beat that topic to death.

But I did want to pass along some pretty interesting statistics which show just how much the Ravens have adjusted their traditional run-first mentality and become a pass-happy team.

Get this: If you project Joe Flacco’s number of passing attempts through the first nine games of this season over a full 16 games, Flacco will finish the season with the sixth-most passing attempts in NFL history.

You read that correctly.

With nine games in the books, Flacco has thrown 361 passes, or 40.1 passes per game. If that pace keeps up, he’ll finish with 642 passing attempts on the season.

Joe_Flacco_Home.jpgDrew Bledsoe holds the NFL record for most passes in a single season with 691 in 1994, followed by Peyton Manning (679 in 2010), Drew Brees (658 in 2010), Warren Moon (655 in 1991) and Brees again (652 in 2007).

The gun-slinging Brett Favre has never topped 613 attempts. Manning has only broken the 600-attempt mark once in his lengthy career. Tom Brady has never thrown more than 601 passes in a season.

Yet, Flacco is on pace for a whopping 642.

I asked offensive coordinator Cam Cameron today whether he’s comfortable with the overall run/pass ratio this season, Sunday’s loss at Seattle (and the 52 passes Flacco threw that day) notwithstanding.

“Every game kind of takes on a life of its own. We’re not looking at it big-picture as runs and passes,” Cameron said. “We’ve had some success, so you are throwing the ball a lot, and then we have been in two-minute at the end the games. We were in the two-minute of the second half of two games, so there is no doubt it’s tilted.

“If you look at our two Pittsburgh games, if you look at the Jets game, if you look at the Texans game, that’s what we really want our offense to look like, but yet we have to be ready to run our two-minute offense, and if we have to throw it 50 times like we did against Arizona to win the game, that’s what we’re going to have to do. But, we want to run the football better. We want to run it more, but sometimes circumstances dictate that you have to do whatever you need to do to win the game. As far as numbers go, I really haven’t looked at it in that way, per se.”

While Flacco’s number of passes are up, his completion percentage (54.8) is by far the lowest of his career. Of the guys I listed above who are currently in the top-five in single-season passing attempts, only Bledsoe (57.9) is close to Flacco’s completion percentage, while Manning (66.3), Brees (68.1 in 2010 and 67.5 in 2007) and Moon (61.7) all have far superior completion numbers.

The increase in passing attempts does have Flacco on pace to top the 4,000-yard passing mark for the season, however.

Running back Ray Rice, meanwhile, is averaging 15.3 carries per game this season, well down from the 19.1 carries he got per game last year. Rice is on pace for 245 carries this season, which would be his lowest total since becoming the Ravens’ feature back in 2009.

Rice is on pace for 82 receptions this season, which would be the highest total of his career.

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