Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 1/21/13

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 10: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots looks on during warm ups against the Baltimore Ravens during the 2010 AFC wild-card playoff game at Gillette Stadium on January 10, 2010 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
FOXBORO, Mass. — Tom Brady has long been viewed as an elite quarterback. Even Ray Lewis referred to Brady as “one of the greatest quarterback in NFL history,” after Sunday’s AFC Championship win. But Joe Flacco proved yet again why he too deserves that title. Flacco outplayed Brady in last year’s AFC Championship Game loss and he one-upped the great No. 12 yet again, throwing a trio of touchdown passes, only this time the Ravens came out victorious. With the win, Flacco set a new postseason mark with his record sixth road playoff victory and he clinched his first ever trip to the Super Bowl. Beyond the obvious feats, Flacco also accomplished something that only one other quarterback — Mark Sanchez, if you can believe it — has ever done by beating both Peyton Manning and Brady in the same postseason. His gutsy efforts in both wins, and knack for playing his best in the biggest moments, have also established him as maybe the most clutch quarterback in football today — Eli Manning, you are acknowledged. “For Joe to come out and have this kind of game, on this kind of a stage, three weeks in a row — [Andrew] Luck’s a pretty good quarterback, Manning’s a pretty good quarterback, Brady’s a great quarterback; all those guys are great players,” John Harbaugh said of his quarterback after the win. “But Joe’s a great quarterback. He’s proven that, and he’s not just proven that this year, he’s proven it for five years. But to do it this year, on this stage, and to have the success he’s had [wow].” During his past seven postseason games, Flacco has been impressively poised and astonishingly efficient, throwing 15 touchdowns compared to just two interceptions and leading the Ravens to a 5-2 record in those games. This postseason, he’s performed even better, throwing eight touchdowns while a fumble in Denver marks his lone giveaway of the three-game stretch. Sunday, Flacco was a cool operator once again and remained confident as Baltimore pulled off their second comeback win in as many weeks. The win over the Broncos last weekend came with a little bit of luck as well as a lot of Flacco magic, but scoring 21-unanswered points to complete a championship game win over the Patriots just confirmed his growing legend and status as a premier quarterback in the league. Now, as the Ravens prepare for their first Super Bowl appearance since the 2000 season, Flacco looks primed to take on the challenge of the big game and finish off what’s been a remarkable journey for the Ravens and poetic “last ride” for retiring linebacker Ray Lewis. “I’m a little biased because I’ve always been a Joe Flacco fan,” Lewis said. “For Joe to do the things he did coming into this business his first five years — he’s the winningest quarterback, I think, in playoff history on the road. That speaks volumes, because that means he always kept his head on the prize. “He played his butt off again today and he was one of the biggest reasons why we’re here today.” Lewis and the Ravens’ defense did quite the number on Brady and the potent Patriots’ attack in the second half, holding them scoreless. But still, Flacco’s will and desire to see them through is what ultimately drove them to victory. The 49ers are up next on the slate and in the biggest game of Flacco’s life. The questions surrounding him will likely only continue over the next two weeks. But while “experts” continue to deny him his due, Flacco continues to prove time and again just how deserving he is of that “elite” tag. The respect may not fully be there yet, but it should be. And in two weeks time, Flacco will prove yet again just how clutch he can be and usurp that elusive elite title once and for all. Have a question for Luke Hughes? Send it to him via Twitter at @LukeFHughes or send it here.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Rex Ryan jabs Jets for passing on Martavis Bryant?

Jay Gruden backing down from support of RG3 as starter

Ukwuachu rape victim hires firm that prosecuted Winston

Leo Santa Cruz tops Abner Mares in slugfest

WATCH: Beckham makes great grab over Revis

SEC commissioner wrote classy note to injured Arkansas RB

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

John Daly taken to hospital after collapsing on course

Rex Ryan keeping Bills' starting quarterback a secret

Braves fan dies after falling from upper deck

Randall Cobb suffers shoulder injury vs. Eagles

WATCH: John Harbaugh, Jay Gruden get into shouting match

WATCH: Brian Hartline drags toes on great TD catch

WATCH: Rams cheerleader surprised by military husband

WATCH: John Harbaugh berates sideline reporter at halftime

WATCH: Ricardo Mayorga taunts Shane Mosley in ring, loses

Will Jimmer Fredette find success with Spurs?

Every NBA division's most interesting rookie for 2015-16

American Pharoah upset at Travers Stakes

Steve Smith joins family in stands after getting ejected from game

WATCH: Cordarrelle Patterson rips off 107-yard return TD

Steve Sarkisian giving up most of USC's playcalling duties

Animal shelter cancels fundraiser at Heinz Field

Mets acquire RP Addison Reed from Diamondbacks

WATCH: James Rodriguez scores unreal goals

Vin Scully: I believe next year will be my last

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Every NBA division's most interesting rookie for 2015-16

Fantasy football round-by-round draft strategy

Ronda Rousey's Carl’s Jr. ad

The WWE Divas Revolution is getting ugly

The NFL’s season kickoff isn’t going as planned, but plans don’t matter in the NFL

The Opening Drive: What happened to all the great Michigan tailbacks?

The 1980s Lakers represent the NBA’s ultimate creation story

The Orioles’ frustrating season

Five greatest NBA players of all-time

Finding signs of life for the Red Sox

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker