All week I couldn’t figure out why EVERYONE was picking New England to not only win but run away and hide in the AFC Championship game. It was basically as if 16 games didn’t mean anything, the only thing that mattered was what happened last week. The Ravens went up against a great defense at home, and the Pats went up against a banged up, 8-8 Broncos squad. And of course Joe Flacco is terrible, it has nothing to do with the Texans defense…
Yes the Pats won, yes Flacco failed in the AFC Championship game for the 2nd time in 4 years. But Flacco did his job today. There are 2 guys if you want to point the fingers: Lee Evans and Billy Cundiff.
It always amazes me when people point to Marty Shottenheimer’s postseason record. When Marty was in Cleveland he went to 2 AFC Championship games. The first one was the drive. I don’t hear anyone put that on Marty, they praise John Elway (rightfully so). The next year they went back and Ernest Bynar fumbled on the 2 yard line. The Browns were about to take the lead late in the 87 game and Bynar fumbled. How is that on Marty?!
Then in Kansas City he went back with Joe Montana at 38 years old and pretty much nothing else. In 04 he turned the Chargers around and lost to the Jets at home. Kicker Nate Kading missed a FG to win it in OT…a makeable FG. Then in 06 he lost to the Pats at home…with a rookie QB.
Anyways, I’ve gone on and on about Marty Shottenheimer. The point is this guy continuously got his teams to overachieve. The reason he kept losing in the playoffs was because his teams realistically were rarely good enough to be where they were. What does all this have to do with Flacco?
Well I’m not saying Flacco has nothing to work with or has bad coaching, complete opposite actually. But you watch that game today, Flacco had that team in position to win. Lee Evans got careless with a TD pass that had the Ravens going to the Super Bowl. Then Billy Cundiff missed a kick to put the game into OT. I’m not saying it will happen tomorrow. Tomorrow people will remember the Cundiff miss and Evans being careless.
But in 11 months if the Ravens are back in a playoff spot, people will start asking yet again if Joe Flacco (only going into his 5th year and is 5-4 in the playoffs, only 1 of those games at home) can take the Ravens all the way? He proved it today, he can. Don’t forget that when the question comes up again.