Experienced Joe Flacco Outduels Andrew Luck

By James Taylor III
Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Coming into Sunday’s playoff game between the Baltimore Ravens and Indianapolis Colts, all the hype was surrounding Andrew Luck.

The number one overall pick had a great rookie campaign as he was at the helm of the Colts’ amazing turnaround. Along with Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson, it was the year of the rookie quarterback. Even the likes of Ryan Tannehill and Brandon Weeden had pretty good rookie seasons considering the horrendous teams they went to.

However, the playoffs is a whole new experience for a rookie quarterback, as very seldomly does a rookie quarterback win a playoff game.

That notion held true again in Baltimore on Sunday as Joe Flacco gave Luck a free lesson in playoff football.

Admittedly, Flacco had a very inconsistent regular season, but the playoffs are when Flacco has been at his best. Flacco did nothing to change that sentiment as he was both economical and protective with the football against the Colts.

Flacco completed only 12 passes, but he had 282 yards passing, two touchdowns and no turnovers. His passer rating of 125.6 was more than double that of Luck, who had no touchdowns and two turnovers.

Flacco now has nine passing touchdowns to go with just two interceptions in his last three postseason runs, spanning five games. Flacco built upon his own unprecedented NFL record, as he has won a playoff game in all five of his professional seasons.

Flacco’s performance against the Colts was extremely important, as Ray Rice’s two turnovers sabotaged two promising Ravens’ drives. In a season when Flacco has received much criticism, it may finally be time to lay off Flacco during the regular season, because all he does is win playoff games.

Luck, Chuck Pagano and the Colts were the feel good story coming into the game, but the experience of Flacco and the Ravens showed why it is so hard for a rookie to win a playoff game.

The aforementioned Wilson became just the sixth rookie quarterback all time to win a playoff game, as the Seattle Seahawks beat a banged up RG3 and the Washington Redskins. Wilson joined a club in which Flacco is one of the six members, further emphasizing how great Flacco has been in the playoffs throughout his career.

The sledding will get much tougher for Flacco and the Ravens as they will travel to the Mile High City to take on Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos on Saturday. The Ravens are already heavy underdogs, but Flacco has three playoff wins under his belt since Manning last won a playoff game, so recent history is in Flacco’s favor.

One thing is for sure, and that is Flacco plays his best football in the playoffs and he will give the Ravens every chance to keep their postseason run alive.

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