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Joe Flacco Unfazed In Chaotic Comeback

Posted Dec 8, 2013

The quarterback led a pair of fourth-quarter touchdown drives that were critical in the victory.

The range of emotions inside M&T Bank Stadium Sunday was difficult to manage.

The back-and-forth nature of the final two minutes against the Minnesota Vikings had both sidelines stunned – multiple times.

But in the midst of all the chaos, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco was unfazed.

After seeing the Ravens defense give up the lead twice in the final minute, 30 seconds, Flacco never lost his cool. That demeanor rubbed off on his teammates, and was critical in leading the offense down the field for a game-winning drive and 29-26 victory.

“Joe just kept the same mannerisms throughout the whole time,” running back Ray Rice said. “He did not panic. He did not say a word. It was, ‘Let’s go.’ And that’s the kind of guy you want to be in battle with in crunch time situations.

“There was no teetering off for him. He just lined up, got the play call, got us lined up. It was his show man. It was vintage Joe Flacco right there.”

The finish to Sunday’s game was unlike any other game most of the players or coaches had ever seen. There were five lead changes in the final two minutes, five seconds. On two separate occasions, the Ravens appeared to have the game won, and then the Vikings came back with long touchdowns.

Flacco watched from the bench as the defense gave up back-to-back touchdown drives to the Vikings, and each time his focus was about finding a way to lead another comeback for the offense.

“You’re just in complete shock,” Flacco said. “You get a little bit low, but like I said, it’s more just shock. Rather than low, you get pissed [thinking], ‘Are you kidding me? How did this happen?’ You go take the field and see what you can do.”

Flacco orchestrated the game-winning drive in the final 45 seconds, which was capped by a perfectly placed 9-yard touchdown pass to rookie wide receiver Marlon Brown. Flacco ran the hurry-up offense to perfection, marching the Ravens 80 yards down the field with only two timeouts.

Earlier in the quarter, he led the Ravens on a 9-play, 64-yard go-ahead touchdown drive. Flacco capped off that with a 1-yard touchdown pass to tight end Dennis Pitta on fourth down, which looked at the time to be a game winner.

It was far from Flacco’s best statistical performance overall, as he finished the day 28-of-50 passing with three touchdowns and three interceptions. He struggled for much of the snowy day, and the offense could not move the football for chunks of time.

But he stepped up his game in crunch time and went 11-of-17 passing for 131 yards and two touchdowns in the fourth quarter.

“I see a lot of callouses on his character,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said. “Joe is our guy, and to me, that’s all you really need to say. I love him and I respect him, and I think he’s a great player. I always have.”

After the win, Flacco’s teammates praised him for leading the Ravens back from a seemingly impossible situation.

“Man, I love Joe Flacco,” safety James Ihedigbo said.

“Joe is the real deal,” defensive lineman Arthur Jones said. “He showed what he could do those last couple of seconds when he drove the ball all the way down the field with a little bit of time. The guy has a cannon for an arm and I’m happy I’m on his team.”

Flacco has developed a knack for late-game heroics during his six years with the Ravens. Sunday’s victory was the 18th time that he has led a game-winning drive in the fourth quarter or overtime, and he once again showed his uncanny ability to keep his composure in the face of high pressure situations.

“Was it unlikely that we win this game today? Probably,” Flacco said. “But we did.”

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