Joe Flacco has no time to celebrate win vs. Steelers

October 04, 2010|By Jamison Hensley, The Baltimore Sun

After quarterback Joe Flacco threw the biggest touchdown pass of his NFL life, this is how he spent his time:

Flacco went out with a couple of buddies to catch the Sunday night football game and talk about the Ravens' 17-14 comeback win at the Pittsburgh Steelers. He came to Ravens headquarters Monday and watched his game-winning 18-yard touchdown pass to T.J. Houshmandzadeh only once with the team.

It's as if Flacco is already leading another key drive: ushering the first-place Ravens (3-1) past their most emotional victory of the season.

"It was very exciting. It was one of the greatest wins since I've been here," Flacco said. "Honestly, we've already moved on. I'm not lying to you and trying to say stuff that sounds right. We've moved on. We're getting ready for Denver."

Overcoming the Steeler Hangover could be tougher than the Broncos (2-2).

The Ravens are 1-3 in games after a win over Pittsburgh. After the Ravens beat the Steelers in overtime last season, they lost at Green Bay by 13 points.

The Ravens' latest win over their division rival could go down as their greatest. With his team trailing 14-10 late in the fourth quarter, Flacco completed all four of his passes, hitting Houshmandzadeh for the winning score with 32 seconds left.

In the afterglow of his first win at Pittsburgh, Flacco said a letdown against Denver isn't a concern.

"It's what we all do. It's part of our game. It's what we have to do to be successful," Flacco said. "I think everyone enjoys the win. But at the same time, we take it for what it was. It was another win, and we have to move onto the next week."

Flacco added, "You can't look back on one you just won for too long or it's going to jump up and get you the next time."

While Flacco is looking forward, it's hard not to see how his quarterback resume is filling out. He has won on the road. He has won in the playoffs. Now, he has won a game in the final seconds.

It marked only the fifth time in the Ravens' 15-year existence that they had won on a touchdown in the final minute of a game. It was the Ravens' first since 2006, when Steve McNair beat the San Diego Chargers with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Todd Heap with 34 seconds left in the game.

"It's got to be a confidence boost for Joe," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "It's all part of the process. That was a big moment. I think we can all realize that."

Flacco had another big moment a couple of weeks ago, but the circumstances were different. After throwing four interceptions at Cincinnati, he passed for three touchdowns against the Cleveland Browns. Instead of conquering adversity this week, Flacco's test is how he handles success.

"Sometimes getting over the interceptions can be harder," he said.

"Depending on what team you have, getting over the victory can be harder. But I think we have the right kind of team that will work to get better. I think it's going to be pretty easy for us to move on and get ready for Denver."

Flacco is moving in the right direction. After two shaky games, he has completed 46 of 68 passes for 518yards. He has thrown four touchdown passes and one interception for a 103.6 quarterback rating.

At Pittsburgh, the Ravens needed Flacco to carry them after their running game managed 2.6 just yards per carry. He responded by driving 40 yards in 36 seconds against a defense that had allowed the fewest points this season.

"It was a great win for Joe," running back Willis McGahee said. "Last week they were on Joe about not delivering. He delivered in a big game, big rivalry."

The growing admiration for Flacco wasn't limited to the Ravens locker room.

"He's a good quarterback," said Steelers safety Ryan Clark, who offered few compliments about the Ravens leading up to this game. "He can make all the throws and he showed that at the end of the game. He's not one of those quarterbacks that's going to miss, and he didn't. We left a guy open and he found him for a touchdown."

Said Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin: "He's played in a lot of situations and done an awesome job. We have a lot of respect for that guy right there."

Baltimore Sun reporter Ken Murray contributed to this article

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