NEW ORLEANS -- Joe Flacco completed his emergence as one of the NFL's elite quarterbacks with three more postseason touchdown passes and zero interceptions against San Francisco on Sunday night. His honor as Super Bowl XLVII MVP might as well extend to his entire playoff run.
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In victories against Indianapolis, Denver, New England and San Francisco, he had 11 scoring throws and no interceptions.
“It's unbelievable,” he said. “It still hasn't sunk in yet.”
Flacco threw all three of his touchdown passes in the first half as the Ravens led 21-6. Baltimore barely held on, needing a late red-zone stand to preserve a 34-29 lead, but he said that made it feel even better.
“It's fitting that we won that way,” he said. “Baltimore is a blue-collar city, and that's how most of our games come down to. We had to grind one out. This game always comes down to two or three plays at the end.”
Flacco admitted he was not sure the Ravens' defense would prevent the 49ers from scoring after they had first-and-goal at the 7 in the final two minutes with a chance to take the lead for the first time. He already was preparing mentally for having to lead a last-minute drive in response to what would have been a 35-34 or 37-34 deficit.
“I thought they were going to put the ball in the end zone,” he said. “I figured we'll have to drive down to kick a field goal to tie it or win it, depending on whether they would have made the two-point conversion.”
Flacco was on fire in the first half. His favorite play may have been one of his worst throws, a third-and-10, 56-yard TD pass that wide open Jacoby Jones had to wait for before falling down, getting up and racing to the end zone. Jones burned cornerback Chris Culliver with a double move.
“It was an unbelievable call,” Flacco said. “It was just the perfect depth. Third-and-10, just enough that they would come up and bite on the move, thinking we were throwing for the sticks.”
Flacco, who was 22 of 33 for 287 yards, admitted the MVP could have gone just as easily to wide receiver Anquan Boldin, who had six receptions for 104 yards and a TD. His biggest grab may been a 15-yarder on third-and-1 that set up Baltimore's final field goal, when he leaped to haul in a pass with cornerback Carlos Rogers draped all over him.
“He had a little bit of separation, but he did a great job of going up and catching the ball,” Flacco said. “He's a beast.”
Just as critical as Flacco's big throws were his lack of mistakes. His counterpart, Colin Kaepernick, threw a costly interception on an overthrow in the first half.
Flacco played four postseason games without a pick.
“I don't think I'm a guy that throws picks in general,” he said. “In 20 games I believe I threw 10 this year.”