Joe Flacco has proved he can lead a comeback

September 30, 2010|By Jamison Hensley, The Baltimore Sun

Joe Flacco showed he could rebound Sunday, passing for three touchdowns just a week after throwing four interceptions.

But the Ravens quarterback progressed in another area as well — delivering a game-winning drive in the fourth quarter. Coming through in pressure situations is often how quarterbacks are ultimately defined.

In Sunday's 24-17 win over the Cleveland Browns, Flacco put together his fifth game-winning, fourth-quarter drive of his 40-game career. In comparison, Kyle Boller had six of them in his 53-game career.

Although Flacco's latest comeback didn't come in the final two minutes or in overtime, it was perhaps his most impressive one. Down 17-14 in the fourth quarter, he completed six straight passes for 78 yards and hit Anquan Boldin for a 27-yard touchdown with 9:13 left in the game.

Flacco could get a chance at another comeback Sunday in what should be a close game at Pittsburgh. Four of his five games against the Steelers have been decided by four points or fewer, including two overtime games.

Here are his other four game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime:

Nov. 2, 2008 at Cleveland: Nine games into his rookie season, Flacco tied the game at 27 in the fourth quarter with a 28-yard touchdown pass to Derrick Mason. Then, running back Ray Rice's 60-yard run set up Matt Stover's game-winning 22-yard field goal with 5:40 left in the fourth.

Jan. 10, 2009 at Tennessee: With the divisional playoff game tied at 10 in the fourth quarter, Flacco completed a 23-yard pass to tight end Todd Heap on third-and-2. Then, his 8-yard pass to Mark Clayton on third-and-9 set up Stover's game-winning 43-yarder with 57 seconds remaining.

Sept. 13, 2009 vs. Kansas City: With the 2009 season opener tied at 24 late in the fourth quarter, Flacco stared down an all-out blitz by the Chiefs and found Clayton for a 31-yard touchdown. The offensive line had to pick up nine Chiefs crashing the line, and Clayton got behind Kansas City cornerback Brandon Carr to score the winning touchdown with 2:06 left in the game.

Nov. 29, 2009 vs. Pittsburgh: Flacco found Rice down the seam on fourth-and-5 for a 44-yard connection to set up the game-tying 24-yard field goal from Billy Cundiff with 1:51 left in regulation. In overtime, the Ravens' Paul Kruger intercepted Dennis Dixon and returned it to the Steelers' 28-yard line. Four runs by Rice and a kneel-down by Flacco led to the game-winning kick with 6:42 remaining in overtime.

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