Say what you want about the recent play of Baltimore Ravens QB Joe Flacco, but if you blame him for how the team looked last week and in the first half of today's game, then you must then fairly give him credit for responding in a huge was in the second half. Flacco's excellent second half helped turn a 24-6 halftime deficit into a 30-27 win as placekicker Billy Cundiff nailed a 25 yard field goal on the game's final play.
Rallying the team to victory after trailing by as many as 21 points, the Ravens enjoyed the biggest comeback in team history. A lot of the blame for the team's poor first half must be placed on Flacco's shoulders, as he went 12 of 23 for 98 yards and a 45 QB Rating. A lot of the credit for the team's solid second half should also go to Flacco, as his stats line for the final 30 minutes of the game read 19 of 28 for 265 yards. Joe finished with a 72 QB Rating, which by itself is not very good, but after having a 45 QBR in the first half, his second half had to be really solid in order to finish with that 72 QBR.
Flacco seemed to continue his frustrating performance from last Monday night's loss at the Jacksonville Jaguars on Monday Night Football, as his passes were off target on the short to mid-range ones and just past the outstretched arms of open receivers on the deep balls. Finally, he hit the long ball when he needed it the most, a 36 yard completion to rookie WR Torrey Smith with less than a minute left in the game, after targeting Smith eight previous times, never able to hook up on that one long pass until then.
Joe finished the game with 31 completions in 51 attempts for 336 yards. This was the third time in 2011 that Flacco has thrown for over 300 yards and the third in his past five games. A sign of his frustrating inconsistency shows that his past five games have resulted in the following yardage: 389, 163, 305, 137 and 336. Hopefully, this trend will not continue as the Ravens are heading to Pittsburgh to play the Steelers on Sunday Night Football next week.
Flacco's best game of the season was against those hated AFC North division rivals in the Ravens 35-7 opening game, when he threw for 224 yards and three TDs, with a season-best QB Rating of 117. If the Ravens continue to play up or down to their level of competition as they have seemed to do recently, next week's game is shaping up to be another classic, with control of the AFC North at stake. For now, give Flacco credit for having the guts and poise to respond in the way he needed to to help the Ravens to a hard-fought heart-stopping victory.