Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco is coming of a masterful AFC divisional-round victory where he delivered three touchdown passes. Against the Broncos, he had a 116.2 quarterback rating in the 38-35 double-overtime victory. Against the Indianapolis Colts, Flacco was sharp in an opening-round win, passing for 282 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. Flacco hasn't thrown an interception or committed a turnover since the first half of the Ravens' Dec. 16 loss to the Broncos. A year ago, he nearly toppled the Patriots, coming within a potential touchdown catch mishandled by Lee Evans from earning his first Super Bowl berth. Flacco is 7-4 overall in the postseason through five NFL seasons. He's the first starting quarterback since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970 to make the playoffs in his first four and five seasons and win a playoff game each year. Only Tom Brady (9-0) and Ben Roethlisberger (8-2) have more playoff wins in their first five seasons than Flacco, who ranks just ahead of Troy Aikman's 6-1 mark in his first five NFL seasons. During the Ravens' past six playoff games, Flacco has thrown for 1,485 yards, 12 touchdowns and two interceptions. Flacco's poise, confidence and deep-ball accuracy are what's setting him apart lately and gives the Ravens a strong chance of pulling off an upset Sunday night. Flacco has 973 yards, seven touchdowns and two interceptions on 70-percent accuracy in his past three outings against New England. Flacco should have plenty of time to operate with the recent reconfiguration of the offensive line. The Ravens' line has given up just two sacks through two playoff games.
Baltimore Sun photo by Lloyd Fox