View Full Version : Win over Steelers missing from Baltimore quarterback Flacco's resume

11-27-2009, 12:06 AM
Win over Steelers missing from Baltimore quarterback Flacco's resume
By Scott Brown
Friday, November 27, 2009

During a season in which he earned NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors, Joe Flacco did just about everything except beat the Steelers.

Despite going 0-3 against the eventual Super Bowl champions in 2008, Flacco won many admirers on a team that doesn't exactly care for the Ravens.

"He was actually one of the guys I voted for the Pro Bowl last year," Steelers free safety Ryan Clark said. "I was very impressed with his poise, impressed with what he did. This year, he's only gotten better."

The Ravens haven't, at least in the win-loss column, which is why they will play with a sense of desperation when the Steelers visit Baltimore Sunday for an 8:20 p.m. game.

The Ravens (5-5) badly need a win to boost their flagging playoff aspirations, and their chances of beating the Steelers (6-4) hinge in part on Flacco solving a defense that tormented him at the end of last season.

In two victories over the Ravens in the span of a month, the Steelers intercepted Flacco five times and allowed him to complete just 41 percent of his passes. His storybook season effectively ended when Steelers safety Troy Polamalu picked off Flacco late in the AFC Championship game last January and weaved his way 40 yards for a touchdown.

The Steelers, who will likely be without Polamalu because of a knee injury, should not count on Flacco suffering from flashbacks in the teams' first meeting since the AFC title game.

Flacco has proven to be unflappable during his brief NFL career. That quality allowed him to win the starting job in Baltimore this despite coming from a small school and become the first quarterback in NFL history to win two playoff games as a rookie.

"I think as a quarterback, you've got to play confident with what you see and just let loose," said Flacco, whom the Ravens took with the 18th overall pick of the 2008 draft.

There is no doubting that Flacco, who started his collegiate career at Pitt before transferring to Delaware, has an abundance of natural ability.

The 6-6, 235-pounder has the size and arm of a prototypical drop-back passer. Flacco also has something that can't be taught: the courage to stay in a pocket while it is collapsing around him.

Flacco has built on what he did in 2008 when he led the Ravens to 13 wins. He has completed over 65 percent of his passes for 2,455 yards and 12 touchdowns. Flacco's fourth-quarter passer rating of 111.5 is the fifth highest in the NFL this season.

"He's had the normal growth you would expect going from his first year to his second," Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau said. "He plays with confidence, and he's a very effective quarterback."

Scott Brown can be reached at sbrown@tribweb.com or 412-481-5432.

11-27-2009, 02:33 PM
Here's to us making him 0-4 against the Steelers on Sunday night :tt02:

11-27-2009, 02:35 PM
Here's to us making him 0-4 against the Steelers on Sunday night :tt02: