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According to outside linebacker Terrell Suggs, the Ravens will be facing one of the top three quarterbacks of all-time this Sunday in New England’s Tom Brady.
“When it’s all said and done, it’s going to be Johnny [Unitas], him and Peyton [Manning], end of discussion,” Suggs said.
What Suggs, and others, may not realize is that the Ravens have a quarterback on their own sideline that has in many ways mirrored Brady’s statistics over their first four NFL years.
A closer look at Flacco’s numbers compared to the three remaining quarterbacks in the playoffs – Brady, New York’s Eli Manning and San Francisco’s Alex Smith – shows that Flacco is neck-and-neck with Brady and ahead of the others.
Flacco came out of Delaware as opposed to Brady’s Michigan, Smith’s Utah and Manning’s Ole Miss, all big-time Division I programs.
Over their first four years, Flacco has the second-highest completion percentage (61 percent), only trailing Brady (62 percent). Flacco has the most passing yards per game (215.9) of the three, 2.7 yards ahead of Brady. Flacco has the second-highest collective quarterback rating (85.9). Brady’s is 86.0.
1st 4 Years in the NFL
Yards Per Game
Flacco has said before that a quarterback often doesn’t get recognition until they win a Super Bowl ring. Brady won his first in just his second year. Manning won his in his fourth season.
In his fourth year, Flacco can get to his first Super Bowl if he wins on Sunday in New England.
“Hey, this is what a team, this is what a player, lives for is playoff time, and having to win tight games or what could possibly be tight games,” Flacco said last week. “That’s what I, that’s what we all, really want to be in the position to do.”
This season, Flacco has excelled in tough games against playoff opponents.
In seven games against 2011 playoff teams, the Ravens are 7-0. But everybody knows that Flacco is a winner. After all, he’s won more games than any starting quarterback in modern history in his first four years.
In those seven games, Flacco has completed 126 of 202 passes (62 percent) and thrown 10 touchdowns to just two interceptions. He has averaged 224 passing yards per game and posted an average quarterback rating of 99.6.
Those numbers have not only come against playoff teams, but defensively-driven playoff teams.
The four playoff teams that Flacco faced this year – Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, San Francisco and Houston – all finished the regular season with defenses ranked in the top seven. Pittsburgh was No. 1, Houston No. 2, San Francisco No. 4 and Cincinnati No. 7.
Flacco went 14-for-27 for 176 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions against the Houston Texans in the divisional round.
“That’s a winning performance, and Joe – I told him [Sunday night] – I thought he played very, very well,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said.