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Joe Flacco Deserves Some Blame for Struggles vs. Bills But Is Probably Getting Too Much

Flacco wasn’t good, but there were others culpable

NFL: New York Jets at Buffalo Bills Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Mike White did not miss many snaps in the Jets’ Week 14 loss to the Buffalo Bills, but the two brief stretches where Joe Flacco subbed in for him were costly for the Jets.

Let’s take a look at where things went wrong during Flacco’s brief stints on the field in Western New York.

Flacco’s first trip to the field resulted in one passing attempt, an incompletion to Tyler Conklin.

On the play, Conklin is running a seam route.

In a scoreless game in the second quarter, a completion here would have put the Jets close into field goal range with a great chance to open the scoring. Flacco’s pass fell incomplete. The veteran quarterback received a lot of criticism for the play’s failure, but I’m not entirely sure it was his fault.

It appears that Flacco threw the ball believing Conklin’s would be running his route on the numbers. However, the tight end is redirected in the early stages of his route.

Conklin doesn’t do a great job fighting through the contact and takes his route inside the numbers.

You might blame this on a lack of chemistry. Perhaps the two could be more on the same page about how Conklin would adjust his route with early contact. Still, these two played together plenty at the start of the season when Flacco was in the lineup. In any event, the throw is outside of the receiver, and an opportunity is loss.

Mike White quickly came back into the game after this play. However, White left the game a second time in the third quarter with the Jets trailing 14-7. What followed was the one play in this sequence that I think you could legitimately say was a Flacco catastrophe.

Flacco takes a five step drop. It looks like about to throw to his first option, Elijah Moore, who is creating separation. However, Flacco double clutches.

One of the issues with Flacco when he started the early part of the season was a refusal to get aggressive. He was very hesitant to throw the ball to receivers who were not wide open. He then stares down his second option, Garrett Wilson, who is just manhandled by Tre’Davious White.

Flacco belatedly gets to his checkdown option, Michael Carter, but by this point he’s stepping right into a big hit and fumbles.

It is easy to get on the backup tackle Mike Remmers since the man he was blocking hit Flacco. In all honestly, it was not a great rep for him. Still I have to put most of this on Flacco. He didn’t get the ball out quickly to an open receiver. Then he was delayed in going through his progression. He just held the ball for too long and fumbled on top of it.

The Jets got the ball back after a Buffalo field goal down 17-7 late in the third quarter. Their drive stalled, although I think this was less bad Flacco and more good defense.

On first and long after a penalty the Jets run Elijah Moore on a 10 yard in route and Garrett Wilson on a corner route from the slot.

The play here essentially puts White into conflict. If he follows Moore, Wilson will be open deep. If he follows Wilson, Moore should have room to operate.

White peels back to take Wilson. This leaves Moore.

Matt Milano just does a great job ranging to deflect the throw.

It’s easy to forget that there is another team out there trying to make plays, and sometimes they do their job well. Check out how much ground Milano covers.

This brought up second and long.

Here the Bills are just in the perfect call. Flacco’s top two options have defenders around them.

Flacco is left to hit his checkdown, Moore, for his only completion of the day.

An excellent defense rallies to the football to limit the gain.

When I was watching the game live I was struck by how damaging the Flacco snaps were to the Jets considering how few of them there were. After rewatching, I feel like Flacco probably got a bit too much grief.

I still think it is correct to say that his snaps were quite damaging to the Jets. Still, of the plays that involved him, I only think one was truly his fault. One seems like a bad route by Tyler Conklin. The other two were just really good defense.

Now the one that was on Flacco is difficult to excuse since he failed on numerous levels. Still, I would now argue he deserves grief for that one play, not the entirety of his time on the field.