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Who are these guys at QB in Super Bowl?

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Who are these guys at QB in Super Bowl?

NEW ORLEANS (AP) No Tom Brady. No Aaron Rodgers. No Ben Roethlisberger. Not a Manning in sight.

Super Bowl has a pair of fresh faces at quarterback, bona fide nobodies as far as the NFL title game goes. One will leave New Orleans as football's newest star.

For Colin Kaepernick and Joe Flacco, this is new territory. And, of course, exactly where they want to be.

``To be AFC champs feels good,'' Flacco said Monday. ``We move on now to this challenge.''

Flacco, the only quarterback to win a playoff game in each of his first five NFL seasons, will lead the Baltimore Ravens into Sunday's matchup against the NFC-winning San Francisco 49ers and Kaepernick, a backup for most of his two seasons.

It's the first time in a decade that the big game doesn't feature one of the big five household names in the glamour position.

You can't get much fresher than quarterbacks who never have gotten this far before.

``At the start of the season, I was just hoping to get on the field some way, somehow,'' said Kaepernick, the backup for Alex Smith, who took the 49ers to the conference final last season.

He got that chance after Smith sustained a concussion on Nov. 11, and hasn't seen the bench since.

Win this one and he'll have a piece of history, joining a heady quarterback club that includes Hall of Famers Joe Montana and Steve Young, who guided the 49ers to five NFL titles - a victory every time they played. No. 6 would tie the team with Roethlisberger's Pittsburgh Steelers - a record for most Super Bowl wins.

A second-round draft pick in 2011 out of Nevada - not exactly Alabama - Kaepernick has the shortest pro resume of any Super Bowl quarterback. It's impressive, nonetheless. His legs (181 yards rushing against Green Bay, a record for the position) and his arm (105.9 passer rating in the postseason) are the main reasons San Francisco is in its first NFL title game in 18 years.

``Anybody that is out there on the football field, you want to see them produce and get results,'' left tackle Joe Staley said. ``With Colin, his first couple of starts, you did not know what to expect because we had not seen him out there as a starting quarterback. He did amazing and he has all season, as well as the playoffs. I think it was one of those things where we saw him in practice and we just wanted to see how he was going to handle the situation in the games. He has done that.''

Still, he's new to this environment and that hardly seems to faze Kaepernick.

``One thing I've always said about him from the start is he comes off as a guy that has a lot of confidence,'' said center Jonathan Goodwin, who won a Super Bowl snapping for Drew Brees and the Saints three years ago. ``I'm not just saying that. You can feel it by the way he acts and talks.''

Flacco has that air of certainty, too, but at least it's built on a more substantial foundation, including an 8-4 mark in the playoffs, with six road wins - the most for any quarterback, Montana and Young included. That goes for Baltimore's John Unitas, too.

Nobody is comparing Flacco to them just yet, except for the self-belief he brings to the job.

``You naturally become more of the guy when you spend a number of years in the league,'' he said at the Ravens' first Super Bowl news conference Monday. ``As a quarterback, it's my job to lead from Day 1.''

As a five-year starter, that's exactly what Flacco did after Baltimore drafted him out of Delaware - yep, not exactly Alabama.

As has become the custom in the NFL, Flacco represents the high draft pick who steps behind center early in his career and, usually, stays there. Both Mannings did it, as did Roethlisberger. Just this season, the top two picks in the draft, QBs Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, were anointed starters at the outset and played sensationally.

Now Flacco and Kaepernick try to join those big-name quarterbacks who own all those Super Bowl rings.

``We try to pass tests every day,'' Flacco said.

That's how you become a Super Bowl quarterback.

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What Trace McSorley’s shining performance vs. Philadelphia means for the Ravens roster battle

What Trace McSorley’s shining performance vs. Philadelphia means for the Ravens roster battle

PHILADELPHIA — Trace McSorley knew something was brewing when he saw he had missed two phone calls: One from his quarterback's coach, James Urban, and the other from his head coach, John Harbaugh. 

McSorley received word early Thursday morning that he would make his NFL starting debut later in the evening against the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field with starter Lamar Jackson not suited up.

And with the biggest opportunity he’s had all preseason, McSorley delivered his best performance as a Raven. He finished 19-of-28 with 203 yards through the air, two passing touchdowns and a rushing touchdown to lead the Ravens to a 26-15, lightning-shortened win. 

It was McSorley’s first performance where he didn’t come off the bench this preseason.

“You’re really coming into it, if you’re not starting you kind of come in and you know when you’re going to be up so you’re getting the juices flowing, getting yourself ready,” McSorley said. “Tonight, as a team, we were able to come in and play really good offensively.”

His best performance of his pro career might have clinched him a spot on the 53-man roster, too. At the very least, it moved him closer to earning a spot when the rosters shrink on Aug. 31.

“I thought he played really well,” Harbaugh said. “I thought he was really poised, he made a lot of plays on the move, extended some plays and made them. He played really well.”

With normal backup quarterback Robert Griffin III sidelined with a right thumb injury, McSorley has been the team’s backup all preseason long. 

In that role, he’s gotten reps he typically wouldn’t have seen otherwise. Thursday, he showed it’s paying off.

“Just being able to get in and really see things, really be there live, it’s a big difference than watching the film or sitting back and getting the mental reps,” McSorley said. “Once you get in there, see it live, it’s different. It’s been extremely beneficial getting all these reps.”

Aided by the return of Marquise Brown, the Ravens offense scored 23 points in the second quarter — with three touchdowns from McSorley — to pull ahead for a 26-0 lead.

McSorley’s best play came when he rainbowed the left sideline and found Michael Floyd in the end zone for a 28-yard touchdown pass that found the wide receiver right on the money. That followed his toughest effort of the night, a four-yard scramble where he found a way to get his right arm, and the football, over the goal line for a touchdown.

His other touchdown came on a seven-yard fade route to Jaleel Scott to put the Ravens up four possessions.

Still, despite his strong performance, he deflected individual praise and was more focused on how the offense ran as a whole. 

“I think so far, I think this is probably… we made some progress from the first couple games,” McSorley said. “That’s just kind of been the goal from week one to week two, from week two to week three. I think that’s something that coach Harbaugh talks about, I think we were able to do that as an offense again tonight.”

With Jackson and Griffin not expected to play next week in Washington for the team’s fourth and final preseason game, the spotlight will once again be on McSorley, as he’ll make his final case to be on the roster. 

Even though he looks like a safe bet to make the team now, especially with the special teams reps he’s received in practice, nothing is confirmed for the former Penn State quarterback.

But Thursday’s performance, one where he played the best football of his professional career, will go a long way toward ensuring he’s on the 53-man roster when the regular season begins.

“He did amazing,” running back Justice Hill said. “He got, what, three touchdowns? That’s crazy. And he only played a half.”

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Stock up, stock down: Justice Hill, Mother Nature's stock down in Ravens win

Stock up, stock down: Justice Hill, Mother Nature's stock down in Ravens win

PHILADELPHIA — In the team’s 16th straight preseason win, the Ravens jumped out to a 26-0 lead over the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field and were able to hold on for a 26-15 win on Thursday. 

Here are a few players who stood out for the Ravens:

Stock up: Michael Floyd

With Floyd seemingly on the outside looking in to the Ravens roster bubble, he certainly made his case loud and clear. 

Floyd finished with three catches for 54 yards and a score. He caught a beautiful route down the sideline from quarterback Trace McSorley on an over-the-shoulder grab for the score. 

He’s still fighting for a roster spot, but Floyd registered his first catches of the preseason. If nothing else, he performed well to potentially get a look from another team, should he be released by the Ravens.

"Yeah, he's really had a good couple weeks," coach John Harbaugh said. "I think he got his legs kind of going the first week and he plays kind of angry. He does, and I say it in a good way. He plays with aggressiveness and tempo and physicality. He had some big catches for us today and he's done a great job."

Stock up: Trace McSorley

McSorley had an excellent first half and carried that the rest of the way for a 19-of-28 performance. He threw for 203 yards yards, had two touchdowns and no interceptions. 

WIth McSorley still fighting for his spot on the roster, his showing at quarterback moved him that much closer to a spot on the 53-man roster. 

He’s expected to play special teams this year, which will boost his chances of being on the 53-man roster, and the 45-man active roster each week. 

Still, his start against the Eagles was his best performance as a professional. 

Stock down: Justice Hill

Hill didn’t have many opportunities to make a special play, but he had a pedestrian game after his excellent showing against the Packers a week ago. He had just eight yards on seven carries.

With Mark Ingram, Gus Edwards and Kenneth Dixon out of the lineup, Hill got his fair share of touches but struggled to make much of them. He made a key block on a 44-yard pass to Miles Boykin, but the rest of his night was largely forgettable.

In a crowded backfield, Hill has to stand out each and every week to earn his touches. Thursday was a step in the wrong direction.

It is noteworthy, however, that the entire team only had 40 yards put together. While it wasn't just Hill who struggled on the ground, he's one that is fighting for playing time.

Stock up: Miles Boykin

Boykin had just one catch, but he made it count as he took the pass for 44-yards for the Ravens longest gain of the evening.

Expected to see significant reps this season, Boykin has been a big, athletic target for Ravens quarterbacks to throw to all preseason long. As his experience grows, the Ravens offense should evolve with him.

Stock up: Marquise Brown

Marquise Brown's stock isn't up because he played. It's how he played. 

He had three catches for 17 yards and a rush, but suffered no setback and said he felt good with how he played postgame. 

"I think it was very emotional during the pregame," Brown said. "Just knowing that I'm finally able to play. So once I got there, it was just back to football."

Stock down: Mother Nature

With 11:43 left in the fourth quarter, Mother Nature intervened. 

The game was called after multiple lightning strikes, ending the game early. 

That’s not good news for some of the Ravens on the roster bubble, who were looking for any reps they could get. The team has just one more preseason game, and just over a week, before the rosters are cut to 53.

"I mean, (Eagles coach) Doug (Pederson) and I had the exact same feeling and all the players on both sides felt that way. ALl the coaches felt that way. To send the guys out there after sitting in the air conditioning for, it was going to be a long time, would've just been crazy."

This post has been updated with quotes.

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