1. Joe Flacco, Quarterback
Unfortunately, there are reasons to put this loss on Joe Flacco. He did miss a couple of throws, including a third-down pass to Elijah Moore in the fourth quarter. However, none of his misfires were more devastating than when he tried to go deep for Moore but left the ball over the middle of the field where John Johnson III was waiting to pick it off.
Despite those hiccups, Flacco deserves a lot of praise for what he did on Sunday. At 38 years of age, Flacco was asked to start despite being signed just two weeks ago. Even the broadcast crew continued to express their surprise at how well he was throwing the ball since he was just tossing it around with his kids.
He started by completing 4-of-5 attempts on the opening drive for 65 yards. He had two passes go for more than 20 yards, which was a welcome change after the offense had just two in Weeks 11 and 12. He even finished that series with a touchdown pass to Jerome Ford from 24 yards out.
Flacco had a second touchdown pass in the second half. This time, it was Harrison Bryant who made it 20-19 with his score. From there, a missed extra point, a penalty on third-and-inches, and the Flacco interception doomed the Browns.
After the game, Kevin Stefanski said he wasn't going to commit to Flacco being the starter going forward. But after he threw for 254 yards and two touchdowns, it would make sense to put him in the game against the Jaguars. His ability to throw the ball downfield opens up this offense and gives them the best chance to win.