I know that this may be beating a dead horse, or maybe raising an issue that most Steelers fans don't really care about. But, I was interested in it, so I decided a to take a quick look at it. Ever since the Ravens lost the AFCCG to the Pats in heart-wrenching fashion due to the missed Billy Cundiff 32 yard FG, the main takeaway from the game for the media seems to be this: "You can't say anymore that Joe Flacco can't step up in the big games." Because he basically outplayed Tom Brady in that game right? While Brady passed for under 250 yards, 0 TDs, and 2 INTs, Flacco had over 300 yards, 2 TDs, and only 1 INT. However, was Flacco's performance against that Patriots' defense really that impressive?
A quick look at the passing totals achieved throughout the season against the Patriots this year seem to throw a wrench into the idea of Flacco's brilliance against the Pats. I just pulled the defensive passing yards allowed by the Pats in each game this past season from Pro-Football-Reference.com and sorted from highest to lowest.
|3||2||San Diego Chargers||372|
|12||10||New York Jets||268|
|14||9||New York Giants||250|
|15||11||Kansas City Chiefs||209|
|16||5||New York Jets||158|
These passing totals are adjusted based on sacked yards lost, which is why the Ravens' number is less than 300 yards. This is not some in depth analysis, but it does show that Flacco's total yards passing in the CG was bested during the regular season by such great QBs as Vince Young (Phi), Chad Henne (Mia), Ryan Fitzpatrick (Buf), Jason Campbell (Oak), Dan Orlovsky (Ind), and Tony Romo (that great clutch player).
I certainly think that expectations will be raised for Flacco based on this performance. However, based on the overall performance of the Pats' defense this season, I don't know that his performance was really as impressive as it first seems. As with all things, time will tell. And maybe this will be the confidence boost that Flacco needs to get himself over the hump.
It's also interesting to note how low the Giants rank on that list, given the upcoming SB rematch.