Joe Flacco's play has been in question for a while, but Ed Reed fueled the fire Tuesday. (ABACAUSA.COM)
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- The last thing the Baltimore Ravens need as they prep for Sunday’s AFC title game is in-house drama. Joe Flacco said Wednesday that there's nothing to worry about, one day after safety Ed Reed criticized his quarterback on national radio.
"I talked to Ed about it. It's not really that big a deal," Flacco said prior to practice. "I don't take things that bad. It's Ed -- it's not a big deal."
Reed told SiriusXM's Blitz that "Joe was kind of rattled a little bit by (Houston's defense)" in last weekend's AFC divisional round game. "They had a lot of guys in the box and they were giving it to him," Reed said. "I think a couple of times he needed to get rid of the ball. It just didn't look like he had a hold on the offense."
Reed went on to describe one specific play in which Flacco attempted to check down to Ray Rice when, according to Reed, "he had Torrey Smith on the outside."
Less than 24 hours after Reed's rant, the Ravens more or less brushed off the comments.
"It's not an issue," said Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis. "Joe Flacco is a straight-up winner. It ain't about our quarterback -- it's about the Baltimore Ravens."
Flacco completed 14 of 27 passes for 176 yards and two touchdowns in Baltimore's 20-13 win over the Texans, but the Ravens managed just three points in the final three quarters, and both of Flacco's TD passes came after the defense handed him a short field with which to work.
The Ravens might need to generate a lot more offense in Sunday's trip to New England, if they're going to have any hope of taking down Tom Brady and the high-powered Patriots.
"It's on us to go out there and help him out and make plays for him," said rookie wide receiver Torrey Smith, who managed just one catch for nine yards against the Texans, having to line up opposite veteran corner Jonathan Joseph.
"He did a great job managing the game -- didn't throw any picks, threw a couple touchdowns. I don't know what else you could ask for. ... At the end of the day, it's a winning organization, and he's the head man. Everyone expects you to win, but it's on us as receivers, tight end, offensive line to have his back."
Flacco said last week, in slightly aggravated fashion, that "if we win, I'll have nothing to do with it, according to you guys (the media)."
Now in his fourth season with the Ravens, Flacco frequently has had to answer criticism regarding his play, especially as Baltimore has bowed out short of the Super Bowl each of the past three years. Both he and Ravens coach John Harbaugh have expressed frustration with the constant stream of questions about Flacco's ability.
When asked to explain Flacco's importance "beyond just the numbers" on Monday, Harbaugh responded, "I've done that many times, and I don't really feel like running down all those things right now. I can just tell you, in this last game, he won."
Harbaugh said Wednesday that he talked with Reed about his comments and came away unconcerned.
"I'm sure Ed wishes things had come out a little bit better," Harbaugh said, "but I know where Ed's heart is."