Colts vs. Ravens: Joe Flacco Must Prove He's an Upper Echelon QB

David DanielsSenior Writer IJanuary 1, 2013

BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 23: Quarterback Joe Flacco #5 of the Baltimore Ravens throws a second half pass against the New York Giants at M&T Bank Stadium on December 23, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

By the time the fat lady sings, Joe Flacco can’t be seen as the lesser of the two QBs in the Baltimore Ravens’ matchup vs. the Indianapolis Colts.

All eyes will be on Andrew Luck in the Wild Card Weekend showdown, but Flacco is more than capable of stealing the spotlight. He must not only steal it against the Colts, though, but stay scorching throughout the playoffs.

Baltimore needs Flacco to lead it to the Super Bowl. Its defense is no longer dominant enough to carry a Trent Dilfer-like passer to the promise land.

Flacco must do the carrying. Because without him proving that he’s not clinically insane to call himself the best quarterback in the league, the Ravens have no hope.

This season, Flacco has thrown for 3,817 yards and 22 touchdowns. His skeptics may say those numbers aren’t impressive enough to label him an upper echelon QB. Here are two passers, however, who are considered elite (or at least in one of their cases, he used to be). In the campaigns in which they led their teams to world titles, neither of them approached 4,000 passing yards or 30 touchdowns.

Those two quarterbacks are Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger.

When the New England Patriots won the Super Bowl in the 2001, 2003 and 2004 seasons and the Pittsburgh Steelers won it in the 2005 and 2008 seasons, neither of them threw for as many yards as Flacco did this year. And only did the ’03 and ’04 versions of Brady edge him out in touchdown passes.

Brady and Roethlisberger didn’t embarrass opposing secondaries on their way to a Super Bowl victory.

They just found ways to win games.

And considering that Flacco has won more games in his first five years than anyone not named Dan Marino in NFL history, it’s safe to say he’s capable of doing just that.

With the Ravens defense being ranked outside the top 10 in points and yards allowed for the first time in his career, Flacco must take the reins from Ray Lewis and be the one to steer them to a title.

Flacco is ready. He can lead Baltimore to a Super Bowl triumph.

But the difference between can and will is what separates the elite QBs from the rest of the pack.


David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.