Joe Flacco brought excitement to the Cleveland Browns offense during his five starts. Not only did he throw for at least 250 yards and two scores in each game, but he led them to more than 30 points three times. He also tossed more than 300 yards in each of their wins.
Despite being a late addition, he had full command of the offense and finished with 1,616 yards and 13 touchdowns. He was so good that he could afford to take a nap in the middle of a beatdown of his former team on Thursday Night Football.
As long as the 38-year-old veteran is taking snaps, the Browns believe they can beat anyone — and they should feel that way since they have wins over the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers. But that doesn't mean they don't have a potential 'fatal flaw' that could cause them concern in the playoffs. As good as Flacco has been at racking up points, he's thrown eight picks and lost a fumble as well.
He's not alone either as the team turned the ball over 12 times in his five starts and led the league in that area. The good news is that their defense is also great at taking the ball away, which always helps.
Cleveland's defense had 15 picks, with Martin Emerson leading the way with four. They also took the ball away thanks to players such as Myles Garrett, who forced four fumbles.
Joe Flacco must protect the ball for the Browns to make a run
Going forward, the Browns have to find a happy medium on offense. They can't become so conservative that they don't take chances because those deep shots are what opened things up down the stretch. However, they also can't put themselves in holes by being careless with the ball.
The margin for error shrinks dramatically in the playoffs. Thankfully, Flacco knows this. He enters Saturday's game with 15 playoff games under his belt — and a record of 10-5. But he also knows the one time he won it all, which was in 2021, was when he had 11 touchdowns and no picks.
He doesn't have to put up the numbers he did for Baltimore during that run but as long as he keeps the turnovers in check, the Browns have a chance to do something special.