Going into this NFL season, I instantly wrote the Ravens for dead because they were starting a rookie quarterback. A rookie quarterback who spent the last few seasons playing 1-AA ball, and couldn’t possibly comprehend or keep up with NFL defenses. I figured the Ravens were 8-8 at best. I even thought the Browns could knock around the Ravens the two times they would meet in the season. Yikes, was I wrong.
And for week after week this NFL season, I continued to wait for the Ravens to collapse, because of their rookie quarterback. Waiting for him to cave in, waiting for opposing defenses to figure out his tendencies, waiting to watch him start throwing ill advised passes, and have Ray Lewis begin to talk down to him in the media. It seemed only logical. A natural transgression to a mediocre season. But every week Flacco would do whatever it took to help his team win the game, eventually reminding me of the way Trent Dilfer worked, as the Ravens quarterback during their Super Bowl season in 2000.
Even still, going into this weekend, I truly thought Flacco would show his rookie label. He was heading into Nashville, to play a tremendous defense, in one of the loudest stadiums in the league, in the playoffs. He couldn’t possibly win another game. But once again, I was wrong.
It’s not that Flacco is a difference maker, but his ability as a rookie to identify what HE needs to do personally, to help his team win the game is pretty phenomenal to watch. Similar to the way Steelers quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, handled himself his first few years in the league, by just being conservative and letting the rest of his team do the job. Flacco has done the same. But Flacco, when given to opportunity to throw the ball, and have the game in his hands has chimed in nearly flawless all season long. Including his performance yesterday at Tennessee.
So Flacco and his dominate defense moves into the AFC Championship game, and once again I’m viewing him as an underdog, no matter who they play.
Hey, I’m due to be correct at some point about this guy…. Aren’t I?