Share This Page
NFL

Flacco will test Patriots' secondary with long passes

| Friday, Jan. 18, 2013, 7:06 p.m.

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The Patriots have cut down on the long completions they allowed early in the season. The Ravens keep making them.

On Sunday night, New England's progress will be tested against Baltimore's strong-armed Joe Flacco and his speedy receivers in the AFC Championship Game.

Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib saw just how dangerous the Ravens' deep passing attack can be in their 38-35, double-overtime win over the Broncos in last Saturday's divisional playoff game.

“That game summed it up, man,” he said. “They started the game taking shots, and they ended the game taking shots. So that's what you're going to do against guys like that, play that deep ball.”

Flacco has completed passes to receivers 13 times on gains of 40 yards or more. The Patriots, meanwhile, had just five completions to receivers that picked up that distance.

“We can't allow them to just throw the ball over our heads,” safety Devin McCourty said. “The biggest thing is understanding how strong Flacco's arm is because I think we already know how fast some of the receivers are over there.”

In the first half of the season, the Patriots allowed 21 completions that gained at least 25 yards in their first eight games. They lowered that to 15 in their last eight regular-season games. Talib, who played in the last seven after being acquired from the Buccaneers, helped. His addition allowed the Patriots to move McCourty from cornerback to safety, where he's solidified the secondary.

Flacco knows how Belichick likes to defend Baltimore's passing game.

“They're going to probably come up and put pressure on our receivers,” Flacco said. “They always, throughout the years, like to get up and not allow our tight ends and our inside guys to get off the ball very well and play over the top of the outside guys.”

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.