Late For Work 11/7: What They’re Saying About Flacco … Now

Steelers fans reminded refs didn’t cause loss and Harbs cuts chin celebrating with Ozzie.

Posted by Sarah Ellison on Monday, November 7th, 2011 at 9:01 am | Categories: Late For Work, Sarah Ellison

What They’re Saying About Flacco … Now

The controversy in Pittsburgh this morning revolves around Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin’s “passive aggressive choice” to pin quarterback Joe Flacco deep in Ravens territory instead of kicking a 46-yard field goal with just over two minutes left in the game.

A field goal would have been a nice insurance policy that could take the game to overtime just in case the Ravens scored a touchdown and the teams locked at 23.

Tomlin admits the decision wasn’t an easy one. It was so tough, in fact, that he hesitated sending out his kicking unit and ended up costing his team five yards for a delay of game. Now out of field goal range, he was forced to punt.

Oh well. Turned out to be the right move anyway, right?

After all, they had Flacco pinned at his own 8-yard line, he was only 1-4 in Steel city, and Pittsburgh had the No. 1 pass defense in the league.

“I made the decision to make them work the length of the field,” Tomlin said. “Ultimately, that was probably the best option for us.”

In other words, he didn’t think Flacco could do it.

But he did.

With one 92-yard touchdown drive, the fourth-year quarterback turned the Ravens-Steelers rivalry on its head.

“I wonder what @RealSkipBayless excuse is gonna be tomorrow???????” tweeted Terrell Suggs referring to the heated debate the two had about the Ravens quarterback.

Not only did Flacco and the Ravens convince Bayless they are for real, they convinced a slew of other analysts too.

Here is a roundup of what “they” are saying about Flacco after his improbable come-from-behind win.

Gregg Doyel (CBSSports.com): Not even very good quarterbacks can replicate Flacco’s comeback. “Joe Flacco doesn’t get happy, doesn’t get mad, doesn’t seem to register emotion like a human being registers emotion. He plays football with bland detachment, like a librarian stacking books instead of a quarterback trying to avoid James Harrison.  And that ticks some people off. They don’t get it. They can’t relate to it. It’s spooky to watch, but when it works — and it worked Sunday night — it’s beautiful to watch. Beautiful and still spooky, because normal people don’t handle stress like Joe Flacco handles it.

“But a normal person, even a normal NFL quarterback — even a very good NFL quarterback — wouldn’t have been able to handle the stress Flacco handled Sunday night. There might be only two other quarterbacks in the NFL who could have led the game-winning drive engineered by Flacco on Sunday night … those two other quarterbacks are named [Tom] Brady and [Aaron] Rodgers.”

Les Carpenter (Yahoo! Sports): Flacco resembled Brady, Manning and Roethlisberger. “This was about Joe Flacco, the Baltimore quarterback whose development has been both too rapid and painfully slow, tempting with promise and damning with failure. But then came a drive like none of the other drives of his football life …. Suddenly it was clear Flacco had climbed toward a peak reserved for the likes of Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Ben Roethlisberger: a man who can deliver those late, impossible victories.”

Jamison Hensley (ESPN): His drive was incredible, but Flacco still is not elite. “It was equally improbable and incredible. … What does this say about Flacco? He’s still not an elite quarterback. He’s not even a consistent one. But the Ravens – as well as the football world – now know Flacco can take over that moment of the game when he’s needed the most. With the defense that Baltimore has, that might be enough for the Ravens to get past that Pittsburgh roadblock and return to the Super Bowl.”

Former Ravens Super Bowl-winning quarterback Trent Dilfer (ESPN): Flacco chose to be great. “The one thing the Ravens have been missing in this era of football … is the dynamic quarterback play. He’s been good – hasn’t been great. It almost looked as if last week [against the Cardinals], and then all night tonight, Joe Flacco said, ‘I’m done with that talk. I’m gonna be great. I’m gonna put myself in the conversation of the best quarterbacks of this league.’”

Clark Judge (CBSSports.com): No more whining. “Please tell me that the bellyaching over Joe Flacco in Baltimore has ceased. That wasn’t just a game-winning drive. It was a magnificent series reminiscent of a 12-play, 92-yard drive Ben Roethlisberger launched vs. Baltimore in 2008 … in Baltimore no less. With the victory, his second straight over Pittsburgh, Flacco proved he’s the quarterback who can take Baltimore to the top.”

Skip Bayless on Twitter (ESPN): New sheriff in town. “After yet another sack-fumble by Flacco, [he] really showed me something on final drive. Hung tough. Great reads, outs, deep balls. Kept firing. … Ravens over Steelers for a 2nd time, in Pittsburgh, was the best win any team has had all season in the NFL. New sheriff in AFC town.”

Pit. Columnist To Steelers Fans: Refs Didn’t Cause Loss

Steelers fans feel like they were robbed.

There’s an outcry about the pass interference call on Ike Taylor in the third quarter.  The call eventually led to a Ravens touchdown.

Steelers fans also believe linebacker Ray Lewis should have been called for an illegal helmet-to-helmet hit when he knocked Steelers receiver Hines Ward out of the game. Especially when considering Steelers safety Ryan Clark was penalized 15 yards for hitting defenseless tight end Ed Dickson in the second quarter. The Ravens went on to score a field goal.

“But the officials didn’t beat the Steelers on this night. The Ravens did,” wrote Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Ron Cook.

“Besides that, when you can’t hold a 20-16 lead in the final two-plus minutes at home when the other team has to go 92 yards, you don’t deserve to win.”

Ravens AFC Frontrunners?

Prior to last week, the New England Patriots (5-3) were the AFC team to beat.

But then the Steelers (5-3) knocked them from glory to became the top dogs of the conference.

And then the Ravens swept the Steelers. So what does that say about the AFC now?

“This was the kind of victory that can catapult a team into the stratosphere, and the AFC is there for the taking,” wrote Doyle. “Unlike the NFC, with the Packers clearly the dominant team, the AFC has no frontrunner. Well, it had no frontrunner until Sunday night, when the Ravens emerged from the pack thanks to their maddeningly cool, sometimes downright cold, quarterback. Joe Cool? Joe Freezing.”

Technically the Ravens (6-2) aren’t even the leaders of the AFC North, however. The Cincinnati Bengals (6-2) are at top the division standings through tie-breaker procedures.

With the Bengals playing the Steelers at home next week and then the Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium in two weeks, the division picture will become clearer.

“Split the next two games, and the Bengals will be taken seriously,” wrote PFT.com’s Mike Florio. ”Win them both, and it’ll be time to start talking about the Bengals as a potential No. 1 seed.  Lose both, however, and the Bengals will be viewed as a group of overachievers who benefited from a fairly soft schedule in the early part of the season.”

Harbaugh Cuts Chin Celebrating With Ozzie

And you thought you were pumped after the win.

Nobody was more excited than Head Coach John Harbaugh.

When Harbaugh stepped up to the podium after the game, reporters noticed a cut on his chin and promptly asked about it. Turns out, he cut it while jumping on General Manager Ozzie Newsome to celebrate the victory.

Ozzie wasn’t prepared.

“It’s from when Ozzie dropped me when we were celebrating,” Harbaugh explained. “They’re supposed to hold you when they pick you up.”

CSNBaltimore.com caught the fun exchange below.

Quick Hits

Tags: , , , , , , ,