There were subtle hints the entire offseason.
Hints from coaches, teammates and pundits that Joe Flacco was the healthiest and the most laser-focused he's been in years.
And after probably too much talk about whether or not first-round draft pick Lamar Jackson would knock Flacco out of his role, the Super Bowl MVP made it crystal clear throughout the preseason who QB1 in Baltimore would be.
He followed up on that dominate preseason with a dominant Week 1 47-3 win against the Buffalo Bills. Flacco finished the day (early!) going 25-34 for 236 yards, three touchdowns and a 121.7 rating, the seventh highest of his career.
Those three touchdowns each came from much-needed offseason wideout additions Michael Crabtree, John Brown and Willie Snead.
Flacco first found 'Smokey' in the back of the end zone for a 7-yard touchdown. Then with 13 seconds left in the second, Crabtree showed off what NFL Network host Nate Burleson calls 'toe drag swag' with a far left corner 12-yard touchdown catch. Flacco finished the trifecta with a 13-yard pass to Snead at the beginning of the third before the team decided he had done enough with a 40-0 lead.
Trust us, we are very much aware that it's Week 1. What we're saying now could have little merit come Week 12. But seeing a mobile, confident Flacco in less than ideal weather conditions has to get you somewhat excited on top of both the offense and defense firing on all cylinders.
"It's definitely good for us to go out there as a team and as an offense, speaking as the quarterback, to have the kind of game we did for sure," Flacco said via ESPN's Jamison Hensley.
"If we didn't score 40 points and we scored 25, and we still won, it's the same outcome, but there's something to be said about going out there and playing the way we did today. Just how everybody feels or how we feel as players, it can take you to another level."
Hopefully that level of play will continue to rise as the weeks go on, but for now, bask in the glory of a win and health under center.
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