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FLACCO DEVOTED AS AN ELITE QUARTERBACK
Wed, 06 Feb 2013 01:30 AM EST

Quarterback Joe Flacco put off contract talks with the Baltimore Ravens till after the season was done.

Appears like a terrific decision now, huh?

Capping a perfect postseason, the unassuming and unheralded Flacco completed 22 of 33 passes for 287 yards and 3 first-half touchdowns Sunday, earning Super Bowl MVP honors for leading the Baltimore Ravens to a 34-31 victory over the 49ers.

It is a back-and-forth game oddly interrupted more than a half-hour by a power blackout.

”We gave the country a pretty good game to watch,” Flacco expounded.

Sure did his part, especially at the outset.

Flacco put aside any questions about just how good he is and whether he belongs in the conversation about the league’s best quarterbacks, becoming only the 6th in 47 Super Bowls to throw for 3 scores in a 1st half. He connected with Anquan Boldin for 13 yards, Dennis Pitta for 1 and Jacoby Jones for 56.

The admittedly mild-mannered guy, who played his college football far from the spotlight at Delaware, wrapped up Baltimore’s 4-game run to the title with a record-equaling 11 TD passes and zero interceptions, going 73 of 126 for 1,140 yards. It was an impressive streak that incorporated road victories against 2 of the game’s most respected QBs, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, and a 1st-round home win against No. 1 overall draft pick Andrew Luck. Odds

Flacco’s job in the 2nd half Sunday was more about being safe than impressive. He had helped Baltimore take a 21-6 halftime lead, and it grew to 28-6 when Jones returned the 2nd-half kickoff a Super Bowl-record 108 yards.

That is when things got peculiar.

First, the lights within the Superdome cut out, delaying action for over a half-hour. And when play recommenced, San Francisco speedily scored 17 consecutive points to make things interesting.

The Baltimore Ravens held on down the stretch though, with 2 short field goals by rookie Justin Tucker padding the lead, and the Lewis-led defense stopping the 49ers on a 4th-and-goal at the 5.

”I was sitting there thinking, ‘There’s no way. There’s no way we stop them here,”’ Flacco expounded. ”But we did.”

Neither Flacco nor his team appeared to be ready to take on all comers as the regular season concluded.  After all, the Ravens lost 4 of their final 5 games in the regular season to stumble into the playoffs.

And Flacco, a 5th-year pro, finished only 12th in the 32-team NFL in passer rating at a just OK 87.7 – way behind league leader Aaron Rodgers’ 108.0 – while compiling 22 touchdown passes and 10 interceptions.

Middle-of-the-pack, to say the least.

But he and his team definitely did shine when the results mattered most.

He simply becomes a different player in the playoffs. He set an NFL record for quarterbacks by leading his team to playoff wins in each of his first 5 seasons. He is 9-4 overall in the postseason.

His contract is up now. And he could wind up with one of the largest agreements in NFL history, maybe commanding somewhere in the neighborhood of $20 million a year.


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