Joe Flacco took another step towards elite status Sunday night. This game was well played, well coached, and well managed. The entire Ravens organization gets the game ball for this victory.
It should be made abundantly clear what took place in the closing minutes of this game. The Steelers had all but put another one in the win column and even upped the series in 2011 at one game each. Then Joe took the ball with a 2:17 remaining in the game. He put the Ravens on his back and drove 92 yards in 12 plays for a game-winning touchdown.
And just like that those demons from the Steel City that welcomed Joe to the NFL in 2008 had been purged from existence.
The Ravens found the formula for how to convert on third down, converting 14 of 21 opportunities. The running game was not working very well but they stayed with it the entire game. Ray Rice averaged about two and half yards a carry. For much of the game they seemed to find themselves in third-down situations. But they would continue to convert and therefore continue to move the chains. They spent much of the evening stopping themselves. Most of the time whenever they failed to convert on third down it was because a receiver dropped a pass.
Nobody but Joe…….
With 7:40 left in the game Joe Flacco committed his first mistake of the contest. When he was sacked by James Harrison for the third time he dropped the ball and it was recovered by Pittsburgh. The Steelers marched six plays and 58 yards to go ahead 20–16. When the Ravens got the ball back they went three and out. The Steelers received the ball at their own 46 and moved the ball down to the Ravens 34. There they were forced to punt it away to the Ravens 8 yard line where Ladarius Web called for a fair catch. Joe took control with 2:17 remaining in the game. He has enough time (I kept telling myself). As good as the Steelers are on defense, in front of their home crowd, there is no way this ends well. Yep, this one’s gonna sting.
But wait….. somebody forgot to tell Joe the plan. He was only able to complete 50% of his passes on this drive. That is until the touchdown pass he threw to Torrey Smith who had already dropped several passes thrown in his direction. This victory against this team will be right here with me for a while–a long while.
*(Editor’s Note) Click on the link to watch a detailed breakdown from NFL.com and Brian Baldinger as Joe Flacco earns the “Drive of the Week” award.