Whether Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco can finally be considered an elite quarterback is debatable -- expect to hear a lot about this in the next two weeks, though Patriots safety Steve Gregory already has weighed in on the matter. But one thing seems certain: Flacco hasn't been afraid to be aggressive in the postseason.
Flacco hasn't been entirely accurate in beating the Colts, the Broncos and the Patriots (he hasn't completed more than 58.3 percent of his passes in any playoff game this year), but he's also averaging 284.3 yards per game and has thrown eight touchdowns against zero interceptions. Oh, and his quarterback ratings have gone like this: 125.6, 116.2 and 106.2.
And no defense he's faced seems to have scared him. That's why his mindset has been to be aggressive in the passing game, particularly in the second half of the Ravens 28-13 win against the Patriots when Flacco continuously went after a New England secondary missing its best player in Aqib Talib.
"I think we wanted to put that pressure on them, and that's a good personnel group for us," Flacco said, via the Baltimore Sun. "We were able to get some matchups inside on some linebackers that helped us move the ball down the field at times. Anquan [Boldin] was able to come up with some big catches.
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"We talked about it before the playoffs began. We don't have anything to lose. We have to go out there and lay it all out on the line. We may not win like that, but it's the only chance we're giving ourselves. I think we have put ourselves in a good position now."
Since Jim Caldwell has taken over the offensive coordinator position from Cam Cameron after Week 14, the offense has been clicking. In four of the past five games, the offense has scored at least 24 points, and not surprisingly, Baltimore has won four of its last five.
In the past five games, the Ravens are averaging 175.2 rushing yards per game -- which is crazy, considering the team topped 175 yards rushing in just one game this season with Cameron in charge. Plus, Flacco is playing some of the most inspired football of his career.
"We had a pretty good idea of what Joe wanted to do [vs. the Patriots]," coach John Harbaugh said. "So, I think it was music to his ears. Joe's involved in what we do.”
In that last sentence, Harbaugh was talking about Flacco's influence in the offensive gameplan. With the way he's been playing lately, it's probably a pretty good idea to get Flacco as involved as possible. Even though the 49ers had the fourth-best pass defense in the regular season, it doesn't sound like the Ravens' aggressive streak is going to end. It's worked pretty well for them so far.
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