Playoffs could help determine Flacco's worth

OWINGS MILLS - Joe Flacco is fully expected back with the Ravens next season regardless of what happens during the course of the playoffs.

But will it be under the team's franchise tag? Or will he and team finally be able to work out a long-term extension after negotiations stalled leading up to the season?

Flacco's performance during the postseason figures to go a long way in determining that - starting with Sunday's AFC Wild Card matchup with the Indianapolis Colts.

"I don't really look at it that way," Flacco said. "I go out there and play football. You try to lead this team to victories. That's what we are trying to do right now. That's all I'm concerned about is making a playoff run and making the Super Bowl. All that other stuff will take care of itself. Whatever happens happens."

Flacco is in the final year of a rookie contract that paid him $6.76 million this season. He was reportedly seeking a seven-year, $100 million extension prior to the start of the season, but he endured an erratic regular season. He threw for a career-high 3,817 yards and 22 touchdowns but completed just 59.7 percent of his passes and was limited to 188 yards or less in six of the last 11 games that he saw extensive action in.

Flacco, however, voiced confidence heading into Sunday's matchup with the Colts.

Flacco sat for most of the Ravens' regular season finale but led Baltimore to a 33-14 victory against the New York Giants a week earlier in his last extended work of the regular season.

Flacco threw for 309 yards and two touchdowns - and completed 25 of his 36 pass attempts - as he guided a Ravens' offensive attack that posted a season-high 533 yards.

"I think [I'm] still a work in progress," Flacco said. "I think the biggest things are going out there and working with speed and being consistent and getting everybody around us to get going and get up to that level that we need to win a Super Bowl. I think that's going to show over these next four weeks, five weeks.

"I think we're all playing at that level. And that's the job of the quarterback - not only to go out there and get completions and put points on the board for your team - but it's getting everybody going and excited about every single down. I think we are at that point."

But, as has been the case during the regular season as well, Flacco's had mixed results in the playoffs.

He's thrown for an average of just 170 yards in nine career postseason games, completing only 54 percent of his passes with more turnovers (10) than touchdown passes (8).

He did, however, shine in his most recent playoff action, throwing for 306 yards and two touchdowns amid the Ravens' 23-20 loss to the New England Patriots in last season's AFC Championship.

Flacco had seven touchdown passes and just two interceptions the past two postseasons after tossing just one touchdown with six interceptions during his first two years in the playoffs.

Flacco led the Ravens to at least one playoff win during each of his first four seasons and Baltimore is 5-4 in the postseason with Flacco under center.

"We have 100 percent confidence in Joe," Ravens tight end Ed Dickson said. "This is where he thrives - in the playoffs. This is where he plays his best football. And if he wants to be known as one of the best quarterbacks in the league then he has to thrive in these moments, thrive in the playoffs and win a title. But he knows he's not by himself. Everybody - offense, defense and special teams - has his back."

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