“When a defining moment comes along, you can do one of two things: Define the moment, or let the moment define you,” thanks to "Tin Cup" for the fitting quote.
Baltimore Ravens QB Joe Flacco has found himself living in one of those moments. He’s not ready, though, and will fall short after taking a stab at immortality.
In just one day, Flacco will take the Superdome field in New Orleans and he will never be the same again.
Football is a team sport, but at the end of the day it’s the quarterback that takes most of the blame and reaps all of the glory.
That glory is taunting Flacco, dangling in front of him, but just out of reach. That’s where it will stay, too, after the 49ers slowly pull the carrot further and further out of his reach as Sunday’s game progresses.
It isn’t just about the defense he’s facing, either.
San Francisco’s second-ranked scoring defense speaks for itself. After being burned by the Atlanta Falcons they clamped down and allowed zero second half points to get to this point.
It’s more about Flacco the player, than it is any other single factor.
Beating the 49ers is going to take a full two halves of quality football. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but to win the Super Bowl; it has to be pretty close.
Flacco is known as many things, but perfect isn’t one of them. In fact, he’s imperfect in a lot of ways, but it’s his character and his many strengths that have helped him battle forward.
The numbers say a lot about the situation, too.
He was ranked 12th in the NFL (87.7) in passer rating and just 22nd in the league in ESPN’s Total QB Rating (46.8). Poor completion percentage, questionable decision making, turnovers and yardage totals are all factors that played into those ranks.
Like the Super Bowl, that game was indoors, too.
Flacco’s final QBR was 0.3 after he completed just 48.8 percent of his passes and threw one touchdown to two interceptions against Houston.
Handling consistent pass rush pressure was his biggest problem, especially against the more physical teams up front this season. No one is more physical and punishing defensively than the 49ers.
He could shock the world and break the mold, but it’s just not likely considering what he’s up against.