Joe Flacco has been criticized a lot in his career. Inaccuracy, indecisiveness, no leadership – all accusations that have been used to label the Ravens quarterback over the years.
Today is not the day to blame Flacco.
For a start, let’s look at the stats. 22/36, 306 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT. Not spectacular by any means but any day you can throw for over 300 yards and less than 2 picks is a day you’re satisfied with – especially in a Conference Championsip game. By comparison, Brady also went 22/36 – but for less yards (239), more picks (2) and no TDs.
In fact, Joe Flacco played one of the best games of his career. After a nervous start, he hit Torrey Smith for a 43 yard bomb and from there was poised and played well. At the end of the game, he led the Ravens on a drive that led to what would have been the game tying field goal and the fact that Cundiff missed the 39 yarder can’t be laid at Flacco’s feet either.
Further to this is that there is some dispute the field goal was even necessary. Near the end of the drive, Flacco threw a pinpoint back shoulder throw to Lee Evans in the endzone that was knocked out of his hands by Stirling Moss. However, the Ravens wide receiver had both feet down in-bounds when the catch was made.
On the matter, the NFL rulebook say this:
“If a player controls the ball while in the end zone, both feet, or any part of his body other than his hands, must be completely on the ground before losing control, or the pass is incomplete.”
From vision that I have seen of the catch, this should have been ruled a touchdown. Had that happened, odds are that the Ravens would be in the Super Bowl, Flacco would be hailed instead of criticised and we’d all be talking about the Patriots inability to win yet another postseason game.
That’s how fickle this game can be sometimes. What matters most to people is winning. The fact that Flacco was practically flawless means very little.
“I don’t know if I ever will prove anything,” Flacco said. “I just play the same way. We lost; someone has to. But we laid it all out on the field.”
Blame Ray Rice for having an atrocious day (21 attempts for 67 yards). Blame Lee Evans for dropping the game winning catch. Blame the Ravens defense for allowing one of the most immobile quarterbacks in the league to score a rushing touchdown. Just don’t blame Flacco – he did his job.