Generally, assuming people will change in life is a fool’s decision. Hoping that they will change is fine and is a healthy optimism but assuming that they will change makes little sense.
Cleveland Browns fans found that out with QB Joe Flacco. Celebrated for resurrecting his career and the Browns season, Flacco didn’t change his stripes in Cleveland. One of the many reasons the idea of crediting wins as a quarterback stat is silly can be seen in Flacco’s time with the Browns.
Did Flacco have some good games? For sure. Five games with over 300 yards passing and five games with two or more touchdowns. During the regular season and one playoff game, Cleveland was 4-2 with Flacco at the helm.
The Browns as a team were 4-2 with Flacco running the show.
The final game is the one that fans will remember. Blame can be spread around in the team’s blowout loss. DC Jim Schwartz failed to adjust and gave QB CJ Stroud the type of looks that he thrived in all season.
Flacco’s role in the downfall of Cleveland’s season is as front and center as his role in the team’s success.
The Browns were driving down 10 after the defense finally got a stop in the third quarter. As he did all year, Flacco then turned the ball over. In his five regular season games, Cleveland’s quarterback threw at least one interception. Saturday, he threw two which were both returned for touchdowns to end the team’s chances to advance.
Not only has Flacco’s turnovers been a problem but, perhaps due to luck, his interceptions have either led directly to a touchdown, taken away a chance for the Browns to score or put opposing offenses in position to score quickly a majority of the time:
8 of Flacco’s 10 INT this year over six games:— Scoops (@ejmaroun) January 14, 2024
- Returned to the CLE 24
- Returned to the CLE 1
- Pick 6
- Intercepted at the CHI 1
- Intercepted in the end zone
- Pick 6
- Pick 6
- Pick 6
Simply speaking, Flacco’s interceptions have been backbreaking.
Turnovers and a big arm are a part of Flacco’s story and one of the reasons he didn’t get a call until Cleveland was desperate this season.
In the 10 seasons where he started 10 or more games with the Baltimore Ravens, Flacco threw more than 10 interceptions every year. He accomplished that with the Browns in just six games this year.
15 to 20 years ago, double-digit interceptions were the norm. This year, Lamar Jackson, Dak Prescott, Geno Smith, Gardner Minshew, Justin Fields, Russell Wilson, Derek Carr, Justin Herbert and Kenny Pickett had less than 10 interceptions despite starting most or all of their team’s games.
It was a fun ride with Flacco at the helm but that ride came to an end as should have been expected: A Joe Flacco interception.