In the end, it turned into another nightmare in Cincinnati.
After rallying the Ravens from 21 points down to within one score, Flacco had the ball knocked out from behind for his third and game-sealing turnover in a 34-23 loss to the Bengals.
Paul Brown Stadium has been a house of horrors for Flacco, who has lost more games there (seven) than anywhere else in the NFL. His two interceptions on Thursday night gave him 25 career interceptions against Cincinnati -- which are 13 more than he has against any other team.
“Their front seven is really good,” said Flacco, who was 32-of-55 for 376 yards. “Geno Atkins is arguably the best at his position. Carlos Dunlap is a monster. They don’t rely on pressure by blitzing a lot; they rely on those guys to get to the passer."
This has been the biggest source of frustration for Flacco. He throws for three touchdowns in the season opener, then he gives the ball away three times in the next game.
On Thursday, Flacco saw 11-of-55 throws fall incomplete due to an off-target pass (21 percent of his targeted throws), including an interception and a dropped interception, according to ESPN Stats & Information. He also overthrew his receiver on a two-point conversion try.
The 11 off-target throws were tied for his most in a game over the last four seasons.
Do the Bengals do anything differently in defending Flacco than other teams?
"They play great defense,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "They have talented guys, they have pass-rushers. They’re a team that turns people over. You can't turn the ball over a lot versus anybody and that’s probably why they’ve most of the games recently."
All the blame can't be put on Flacco. He was under pressure throughout the game, repeatedly throwing with Bengals hanging on him and getting sacked four times. His second interception was the result of his right arm getting hit by Bengals defensive end Carlos Dunlap.
It won't get any easier for the offensive line to protect Flacco, either. Left tackle Ronnie Stanley left late in the game, which forced Baltimore to move James Hurst to Flacco's blind side and put rookie Orlando Brown Jr. at right tackle.
The defense did just as much as Flacco did to dig that early hole. After Pro Bowl linebacker C.J. Mosley was carted off the field with a knee injury, Baltimore gave up touchdowns on four straight drives.
But Flacco came up short in the end, which has been a recurring problem. He hasn’t delivered a game-winning drive since September 2016.
On third-and-10, Flacco was stripped from behind with 2:42 remaining. Harbaugh thought it would have been a winning touchdown pass to Brown if Flacco had one more second to throw.
“We battled,” Flacco said. “We had a chance to win the football game. When you get down like that, that’s all you can ask. Anything can happen. We just didn’t play well enough early. It’s too good of a football team to let that happen."