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What Joe Flacco Said After His Comeback Crumbled in Playoffs

Cleveland Browns quarterback Joe Flacco (15) throws a pass against the Houston Texans during an NFL football game Saturday, Jan. 13, 2024, in Houston.
Cleveland Browns quarterback Joe Flacco (15) throws a pass against the Houston Texans during an NFL football game Saturday, Jan. 13, 2024, in Houston.

The Ravens won't be facing their former Super Bowl MVP after all.

Joe Flacco threw back-to-back pick-sixes in the Browns' 45-14 loss to the Houston Texans in the wild-card round Saturday.

Flacco, who entered the game with the most wild-card wins in NFL history, started hot in the first half. However, with the Browns trailing by 10 points in the third quarter, things came unraveled.

"I was so fortunate to become part of this team — it's a special group," Flacco said, per ESPN’s Jake Trotter. "To be given a chance to do this with those guys, I'm super grateful for it. ... Stinks the way it ended. But it was a lot of fun and I'm grateful for the time that we had."

Flacco tossed up a prayer that was picked off by Steven Nelson and returned 82 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter.

"You're trying to throw a ball away, not trying to make a bad decision, but at the end of the day you have to be able to live with sacks," Flacco said. "You have to realize that sometimes sacks aren't bad things."

On the next drive, facing a critical fourth-and-2, Flacco was intercepted by linebacker Christian Harris, who took it 36 yards for a score that essentially ended the game with a 24-point lead.

"I thought I'd be able to jam one in there," Flacco said. "That's just a calculated risk at that point."

Flacco led the Ravens on an epic Super Bowl run to cap the 2012 season. At 38 years old (he turns 39 Tuesday), and after being signed off his couch late in the season, he made an incredible comeback with the Browns, leading them to the playoffs.

Flacco led the NFL in passing yards from Weeks 13 to 17 (1,616). However, he also threw eight interceptions over that span and that ultimately led to his downfall in the playoffs.

Flacco has already said he wants to continue playing, and he was asked after the game if he would want that to be in Cleveland, even if he's the backup to Deshaun Watson.

"Listen, I love it here and we're dealing with so much right now, just going through the emotions of this game and being so excited to be in this position and now to come up empty," he said. "That's where my head is. Trying to soak it all in and let this digest a little bit."

The Ravens had some conflicted feelings going into the Browns-Texans game, as there was a decent chance that the winner would face Baltimore in the divisional round at M&T Bank Stadium.

"Joe is a friend and family to me. So, heck yeah, I root for Joe Flacco," Head Coach John Harbaugh said Wednesday. "But I don't root for any opponent that we're playing."

"Those of us that know Joe and were fortunate enough to be around Joe for a long time are happy for him as a friend and former teammate," kicker Justin Tucker added. "I'm not happy for him as a division opponent. Not happy for the Cleveland Browns. But, in a way, it is cool to see him doing well. If we get that opportunity to face off with him in a playoff game, I just think it would be a really cool opportunity."

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