The comeback continues for rejuvenated Joe Flacco

Dec 24, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Joe Flacco (15) in action during the
Dec 24, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Joe Flacco (15) in action during the / Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Back in 2008, there were a pair of quarterbacks selected in the first round. Boston College standout Matt Ryan put up impressive numbers in 15 NFL seasons, the first 14 with the team that made him the third overall selection that year. Ryan would guide the Atlanta Falcons to a Super Bowl appearance in his ninth season, a year which saw him named the NFL’s Most Valuable Player.

Super Bowl LI turned about to be a disaster for the Falcons and Ryan, who owned a 28-3 third-quarter lead over the New England Patriots. Tom Brady and company rallied for a 34-28 overtime triumph. Overcoming a 25-point deficit remains Super Bowl Sunday’s greatest comeback.

Joe to the rescue

On that note, Joe Flacco was the 18th overall pick by the Baltimore Ravens that same year. During his 10 first seasons with the franchise, he started all 16 contests all but one year. In 2018, playing time started to dwindle with the arrival of first-round pick Lamar Jackson. From 2019-22, there were stints with Broncos and the Jets. It didn’t appear he would be playing football in 2023.

Then the Browns came calling. Flacco would be the fourth of what would be five different starting quarterbacks this past season. The veteran signal-caller would start five games, winning the last four. In each of those victories, he threw for 300-plus yards. In his five appearances, he threw for a total of 1,616 yards, 13 scores and eight interceptions. The Browns were playoff bound for the first time since 2020.

Flacco served up at least two TD passes in each contest. He was also picked off at least once in each outing. Despite the short stint, he was named the 2023 NFL Comeback Player of the Year. It's also worth noting that in the Browns’ 45-14 playoff loss at Houston, Flacco once again reached the 300-yard mark. This time around, there was one touchdown pass and a pair of pick-sixes.

On the move…again

There was talk that the 16-year pro would be returning to the Browns. However, he opted to ink a one-year deal to play for Indianapolis Colts’ head coach Shane Steichen.

In 2023, rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson had his issues staying healthy. He started four of the Colts' first five games before missing the remainder of the season. Gardner Minshew, now a member of the Las Vegas Raiders, was the starter the rest of the way. Now enter Flacco. Could he be called on again to rescue a team and perhaps guide them into the playoffs? Only time will tell.