This has not been Joe Flacco’s best season. However, that will hardly matter if the Ravens’ quarterback has a vintage performance Sunday against the Steelers.
Big games often bring out Flacco’s best. And to characterize the Ravens-Steelers matchup on Christmas as a big game would be an understatement, according to Steelers coach Mike Tomlin.
“One game for the (AFC) North title,” Tomlin said during a conference call. “If you can’t get up for that, then you’re a dead man.”
The Ravens are very much alive, needing road victories over the Steelers and Bengals (Week 17) to win the division. Is this when Flacco comes alive, like during the 2012 playoff run when he led the Ravens to a Super Bowl title?
Don’t rule it out. Flacco plays for games like this.
“When you dream of being in the NFL, you dream of going into hostile environments in high-pressure situations, where a lot is on the line, and people are into it,” Flacco said. “You do not dream of playing in front of 10 people, like you do in high school for some of us. You picture playing in front of 70,000 people that hate you. That is what makes it fun.
“I have played there (Pittsburgh) a lot. It’s not about being comfortable there, or not being comfortable. It is a big game in a high-pressure situation. They don’t like us, and that is what it is all about.”
Flacco has a 5-6 lifetime record at Heinz Field but has won his last two starts there, including a 2014 playoff game. However, comng off major knee surgery, Flacco has thrown 13 interceptions this season, the second-most of his career, and he has a quarterback rating of just 84.8. Pro Football Focus ranks Flacco as just the 23rd best starting quarterback this season heading into Sunday’s game.
Does Flacco care about any of that? No. Does he sound ready for Sunday? You bet. Flacco knows the Ravens need him to play well, or there will be no playoffs for them this season.
“It going to be a lot of fun,” Flacco said. “We can enjoy Christmas that night on the plane ride home. I think people are going to be sitting at home on Christmas, loving the fact they get to watch Ravens-Steelers.”
And Flacco will love trying to silence the crowd.