Well, Joe Flacco did it again.
The Baltimore quarterback turned in yet another quality postseason performance Saturday, leading the Ravens to a 30-17 win over the Steelers in Pittsburgh. Flacco finished 18-of-29 for 259 yards and two touchdowns, including a 21-yard touchdown pass to Crockett Gillmore that made it 30-15 with 7:56 to go in the fourth quarter.
So, the question has to be asked: How is Flacco so good in the postseason?
“Tiki, you know what it is,” Rob Long – co-host of “Vinny and Rob” on 105.7 The Fan in Baltimore – said on Tiki and Tierney. “Some guys live for the postseason, especially a guy like Joe Flacco, who, when he came into the league, was instantly thrust into the postseason. His rookie year going to the AFC Championship Game, never losing a playoff game – maybe he just got to the point in his career where that’s what he lives for. He does what he has to do to get there, and once he gets there, he dials in and takes it to another level.”
Flacco has 13 touchdowns and zero interceptions in his last five postseason games.
“Tremendous competitor,” Long said. “He’s a really good quarterback in the regular season. He’s approaching Hall-of-Fame status in the postseason.”
Yes, the Ravens have another good defense, yes, they have another solid running game, and yes, Steve Smith has been a great addition. But Flacco continues to impress.
“For 16 games, that’s who he is, and then when you get in the playoffs, he becomes this alter ego almost,” Long said. “He’s a good quarterback from Weeks 1 to 16, and I’m taking nothing away from Joe Flacco. I like Joe Flacco. He’s a good quarterback, but he’s a great quarterback in the postseason.”
Still, did long think the Raves would go Pittsburgh and handle the Steelers the way they did?
“I thought they could, but I didn’t think they would,” Long said. “Whenever it’s Baltimore/Pittsburgh, anything can happen. That’s how that series is. I just didn’t think they would. You talk about Le’Veon Bell being out. That’s a big chunk of Pittsburgh’s offense, but keep in mind, the Ravens were without both of their starting tackles. That’s huge when you talk about protecting that quarterback that’s been great in the postseason. I thought that would hurt Baltimore more than (losing) Le’Veon Bell (would hurt the) Steelers because last I checked, Ben Roethlisberger had six touchdown passes the last time he faced the Ravens in the regular season.”
Baltimore will now face the Patriots in New England this Saturday at 4:35 p.m. ET. This is the fourth postseason matchup between the Ravens and Patriots in the last six years.
“They go from their regular season rival to something that’s become kind of their postseason rival in the New England Patriots,” Long said. “And again, yes, (the Ravens) can (win). There’s nothing that tells me the Baltimore Ravens can’t go into Foxboro and get that upset and go to the AFC Championship game. This should be a classic, classic matchup. I think this is one of those games that’ll go down to the wire. These two teams still go toe-to-toe. They respect each other, but there’s no love lost between these two teams, especially in the postseason.”