Flacco saves best for Ravens' final drive
Down by four points, needing a touchdown and 92 yards to go, the first thing that came to Baltimore's Terrell Suggs' mind was ??
"Oh, (expletive)," quarterback Joe Flacco said, answering the question for Suggs.
Suggs had other things swimming around in his head rather than what Flacco jokingly suggested.
"Either one of two things are going to happen," Suggs said. "Either we are the same team from last year or we are going to show the world that we've grown up. And we did just that."
Flacco showed the world that he isn't that quarterback who stumbled against the Steelers six times in the eight times he faced them, including twice in the playoffs.
Flacco also showed he wasn't that guy responsible for losing to Jacksonville or the guy booed on his home field last week.
Flacco led the Ravens on an improbable 13-play, 92-yard drive and capped it off with a 26-yard touchdown pass to Torrey Smith on a third-and-10 with 8 seconds left in the game as the Ravens took a stranglehold on the AFC North with a 23-20 win over the Steelers.
"It was 92 yards in two minutes, 14 out of 21 third-down conversions," Baltimore coach John Harbaugh said. "This Steelers-Ravens game is a game for men. It is a game for big men. You have to shine bright in this game if you want to win and nobody shined brighter than Joe Flacco in this game."
Flacco finished 28 of 47 for 300 yards, but most important, helped his teams convert nearly 70 percent of the Ravens' first downs.
"People want to write about him and the naysayers," Harbaugh said. "It's not the critics who count."
It was Flacco's 10th career game-winning drive and sixth career fourth-quarter comeback.
"Joe is a great quarterback," Smith said. "We all know what type of quarterback he is in our locker room."
The Steelers do, too.
Three of Flacco's game-winning drives came against the Steelers • Nov. 29, 2009 (20-17) and Oct. 3, 2010 (17-14) were the others.
"Obviously, you've done it before but every case is different," Flacco said.
This time, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin felt good when he decided to pin the Ravens deep in their territory late in the game rather than attempt a long field goal to make it a seven-point game.
Flacco made the Steelers pay.
"We got the ball to midfield and there's a minute left," Flacco said. "At one point I did say that this is probably the same position we were in last year."
Flacco was 7 of 13 on the final drive and overcame a critical drop by Smith in the end zone with 42 seconds left.
"I felt good about where they were," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. "We had a four-point lead and our defense was on the field. As you can see, Joe Flacco and company did a nice job."
Harbaugh was more than happy with how his quarterback played.
"First of all, congratulations to the fans in Baltimore," Harbaugh said. "Congratulations to everybody back in Baltimore watching this game on TV that jumped off their couch when Joe Flacco threw that pass and we won that game."