DENVER - It wasn't just the stunning 70-yard touchdown pass to Jacoby Jones that tied the game in the final minute of regulation.
There was the perfectly placed deep ball that hit Torrey Smith in stride for a 59-yard score early in the first quarter. The 32-yard touchdown pass to Smith later in the half. The 19-yard completion to Anquan Boldin that converted a third-and-7 late in the fourth quarter. The 29-yard pass to Dennis Pitta that Flacco fit between two defensive backs with the Ravens facing a third-and-13 at their own 3-yard line early in overtime.
There was the 331 passing yards. The three touchdowns. The eight completions that went for gains of 15 yards or longer.
But, most impressive, there was the poise displayed by the savvy Flacco in leading the Ravens to a shocking 38-35 double-overtime victory over the top-seeded Denver Broncos amid frigid conditions in Saturday's divisional round matchup at Denver's Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium.
It was a defining game on so many levels for the Ravens' much-scrutinized fifth-year quarterback.
"He grew up today," Baltimore linebacker Ray Lewis said of Flacco, later adding, "I've always been a Joe Flacco fan, and always will be, but to watch what he did today probably was one of the greatest things I'll sit back and remember."
Flacco's critics have questioned his place among the league's upper-echelon of quarterbacks. They've questioned his consistency. They've questioned his ability to read and diagnose opposing defenses. They've questioned his worth as an impending free agent. And, more than anything else, they've questioned whether he's good enough to lead the Ravens to a Super Bowl.
Saturday, he showed he is.
"This was just a great performance by Joe," Baltimore left tackle Bryant McKinnie said. "Maybe people will stop underestimating Joe finally. This could be the turning point in his career. People need to stop underestimating Joe and give him a little more respect."
Facing the same defense that he had one of his worst performances of the season against less a month earlier, Flacco threw for 331 yards and three scores without an interception in helping the Ravens keep pace with the Broncos despite three scoring passes from Peyton Manning and two touchdown returns from Trindon Holliday.
Flacco averaged more than 18 yards per completion against a Denver pass defense that ranked as the NFL's third-best during the regular season.
"Joe makes big plays when we have to have them, and he stays poised all throughout," Pitta said. "He was unbelievable this game."
It was the continuation of an impressive past month for Flacco, a quarterback that tight end Ed Dickson said earlier in the week is "hitting his peak" right now.
Saturday was Flacco's fifth game with Jim Caldwell as offensive coordinator.
Flacco struggled in his first game under Caldwell - the Dec. 16 loss to Denver - but he's flourished since.
He played only sparingly in the Ravens' regular season finale, but he's thrown for 922 yards and seven touchdowns without an interception in the other three games since that loss to the Broncos.
Cam Cameron was the Ravens' offensive coordinator for Flacco's first four-plus NFL seasons before being fired in early December.
And after being limited to 188 yards or less in six of his final nine games under Cameron, Flacco's thrown for 282 yards or more in the last three games that he's seen a full workload under Caldwell.
"Joe's really been throwing it well," Pitta said earlier in the week. "We've had confidence in him all year, but I think with the regime change - and with Jim calling the plays - I think that things have been a little different and Joe's really comfortable in the things that we're doing now and really able to kind of get more in a rhythm during games, so that's certainly helped him out."
And that continued to be the case Saturday.
"Joe Flacco's been playing lights out," Baltimore running back Ray Rice said. "He will lead us to the Super Bowl. Our offense goes through Joe. So when Joe plays at a high level like that, it makes everything a lot smoother."