Before the game on Sunday night, people were talking about how Joe Flacco had fluked his way to the AFC Championship Game, and how this guy bottled it when it came to pressure situations. There’ve been doubts about Flacco’s ability for quite a while from the press, who question whether he can get it done when it matters. But on Sunday night, we saw that this guy is the real deal when it comes to the play-offs, and he may well have earned himself the title of ‘elite’ after the way he’s perfomed in the post season this year.
So far in the play-offs, Flacco has beaten Andrew Luck at home, and Peyton Manning & Tom Brady in their own back yards, who are considered 2 of the greatest QB’s of all time. Flacco went into those 2 games, written off by most as a bottler and they felt that the Broncos would win & then they said the Patriots would win, as ‘Tom Brady doesn’t lose at home’. Well Flacco has turned all of that upside down. This is a guy who let’s not forget outplayed Tom Brady in the AFC Championship Game last year and should have had his 1st Super Bowl appearance then, if it hadn’t of been for a dropped Evans catch or a missed Billy Cundiff field goal. Ray Lewis may be the leader and inspiration for this side, but Flacco is the real deal and is just as important to this side.
On Sunday Flacco won his 6th road playoff game, which is more than any other starting QB. Before the game he was tied with Eli Manning, who is well known for getting it done in the playoffs, and you just get the feeling that this years Ravens side could be the new NY Giants. Much like the Giants last year, the Ravens got hot late in the regular season, and have won games which nobody gave them a chance in. Of course they’ve had a bit of luck along the way, but you need that if you’re gonna be a Super Bowl champion. But there’s been nothing lucky about the way Flacco has played.
In the playoffs this year Flacco has thrown for 8 TDs and 0 interceptions, and in the second half on Sunday his stats were 15-24, 159 yards and 3 TD passes. Against the Broncos last week he outplayed Peyton Manning in his own back yard, throwing for 331 yards and 3 TDs. There’s something special about the way the Ravens are playing this season, inspired by their linebacker Ray Lewis and it may well be that it’s written in the stars for the Ravens this year, especially after coming so close last year.
In his first 5 seasons in the NFL, Joe Flacco has won 8 play-off games, with at least one every season. This is tied with Ben Roethilsberger for 2nd most in first 5 seasons of a QB, with Tom Brady having the most with 9. So if Joe Flacco was to win the Super Bowl, he’d be tied for 9 wins with Brady in their first 5 seasons, but Flacco would only have one Super Bowl and Tom Brady won his three. Consistency is key in the playoffs, and you want a QB in your side who you can trust when the going gets tough, and Joe Flacco is that player for the Ravens. Ok, during the regular season he may not be the most consistent, but neither is Eli Manning and he has 2 Super Bowl wins. A player can be a world beater in the regular season, but if they’re useless in the playoffs then what’s the point? Peyton Manning has a losing record in the playoffs, with just 1 Super Bowl to his name, and is a prime example of a player who is brilliant in the regular season, but struggles in the playoffs. As a fan, and as a coach, I’m sure you’d much rather have a QB who gets it done in the playoffs consistently, rather than someone who bottles under pressure.
Flacco has matured so much since he was drafted in 2008, and has turned into a fine QB. His Ravens side were the first team to beat the Patriots in an AFC Championship Game, and they also were the first side to overturn a deficit at halftime to win in Tom Brady’s career, and that took 68 games. Yes, the Ravens defence was so impressive on Sunday, and the Patriots did lose Talib early on, as well as missing their tight end Gronkowski which limited Brady, but you’ve still gotta get the job done. The fact is that they shut out the Patriots at home and showed that this side are in a rhythm that will be a hard to tackle.
So can Flacco be considered an elite QB? I think so. All you’ve gotta do is take a look at his career numbers in the playoffs. For me personally, regular season numbers don’t mean too much, as the Broncos found out last weekend. I would rather have a QB who’s gonna do enough to get you to the playoffs, and then perform to such a level that can’t be dealt with by any side they come up against. Eli Manning was never considered elite until he won his 2nd Super Bowl last year, when everyone stood up and noticed that this guy gets it done when it matters, and that could be the same story with Flacco.
The Ravens are one win away from being world champions, when almost nobody would have called that a few weeks ago when they lost 4 in a row. But the way they’re performing recently, you have to think that this is their year. The 49ers and Kaepernick are a very good side also, and won’t be easy as they’ll go in as underdogs. But they’ve been underdogs for the past 2 weekends, so that won’t bother them, if anything it will work to their advantage. With Flacco’s contract up for renewal this summer, even if the Ravens don’t fulfill their destiny and lift the Lombardi trophy, I still think they’ll give Flacco a new contract. You only have to look at 6 road playoff wins to know that this guy is a bit special in the playoffs, and that’s why the argument of calling him an elite QB will no longer be laughed at.