Eight NFL playoff games are in the books and three remain. The reaction to Wild Card Weekend centered around Robert Griffin III playing hurt, Joe Webb starting because Christian Ponder was injured, and Russell Wilson's brilliance. Last week brought Colin Kaepernick running crazy against Green Bay, Tom Brady dominating Houston, and a typical big numbers, but big mistake playoff loss for Peyton Manning. Quarterbacks have dominated the postseason.
Surprisingly Baltimore's Joe Flacco has been the best of bunch.
With wins over Indianapolis and Denver the Ravens are back in the AFC Championship game for the second straight season. Flacco has taken Baltimore to the title game three times during his five years. While he is overshadowed by Ray Lewis on his own team, and Andrew Luck, Manning, and Brady during his post-season match-ups, Flacco has been nothing short of brilliant.
Flacco is the playoff leader this season in QB Rating, passing yards, touchdowns thrown, and yards per attempt. His 59-yard touchdown toss to Torrey Smith, and 70-yard TD strike to Jacoby Jones are the two longest completions of the postseason. In 57 pass attempts Flacco has not been intercepted.
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With a QB Rating of 120.0, Flacco has the best figure since Kurt Warner in 2009, and the second highest postseason ranking in more than a decade. During the last eight seasons the only quarterback with a regular season rating over 120.0 was Rodgers last year. In other words, Flacco has played two historically great games.
In out-playing Luck during the first week of the playoffs, Flacco was asked to throw only 23 passes. He tossed two touchdowns and averaged more than 12 yards per pass attempt. Last week against Denver he fired three touchdowns, threw for 331 yards, and hit Jones for the game-tying 70 yard completion with 31 seconds left. During the two games Flacco has been sacked just once in each contest.
When Baltimore beat New England 31-30 in September Flacco completed 28 of 39 throws for 382 yards and three scores. His touchdown pass to Smith with four minutes left got the Ravens within two points. His seven play, 70 yard drive with under two minutes to go led to the game winning field goal by Justin Tucker on the final play of regulation.
Flacco's regular season numbers have been good but not great. So far during this year's playoffs he has been special. Ask Eli, Aaron, and Drew, having the hot quarterback this time of year is a good formula for success.