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Super Bowl 2013: Breaking Down QB Joe Flacco's Best Plays in MVP Performance

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Super Bowl 2013: Breaking Down QB Joe Flacco's Best Plays in MVP Performance
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Baltimore Ravens QB Joe Flacco has been the flavor of the month after his team won Super Bowl XLVII on Sunday night. Rightly so, as "Joe Cool" finished with 287 yards passing, three TDs and no turnovers in what turned out to be an MVPperformance.

Flacco absolutely turned it on when the playoffs started and finished the postseason with 11 touchdowns (tied for the most in a single postseason) and zero INTs, something only one other QB has ever done in the history of the NFL. The other man's name is also Joe and they now have both posted zeros in that stat and the Super Bowl loss column.

ESPN's SportsCenter provided that evidence with this tweet:

Flacco spread the ball all over the field and kept his cool in the face of a potential San Francisco 49ers comeback and 34-minute blackout at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, part of an 84-minute period in which his Ravens offense was off the field. After three straight AFC Championship appearances, including a victory over the New England Patriots, Flacco proved that he has taken his past playoff experiences and learned from them each offseason

It was evident in the first three rounds as the 4th-seeded Ravens had to get through the up-start Indianapolis Colts, AFC-favorite Denver Broncos and perennial powerhouse Patriots before finally holding on for the Lombardi trophy against the 49ers.

To achieve that ultimate feat, Flacco had to make plays against a defense regarded as one of the NFL's best. He did so at the highest level and, in honor of that accomplishment, we're going to break down Flacco's best plays from XLVII—just in case you want to see them one more time.

 

The Score: Baltimore 7, San Francisco 3

The Situation: 1st Quarter—1:31 remaining, 3rd-and-7 on the Bal 36

The Receiver: WR Anquan Boldin

The Result: 30-yd reception and a first down

 

In a key play during the Ravens' second drive of the game, Flacco showed great instincts in the pocket, an ability to throw on the run and some extreme trust in his receiver of choice. The 49ers brought six defenders on the blitz, and looked to have Flacco dead to rights on his vision side.

Rolling out to avoid San Francisco pressure, Flacco saw Boldin had 1-on-1 coverage down the right sideline, and unleashed a monster throw just before he was pushed out of bounds by the San Francisco defense.

Boldin attacked the ball at its highest point, made the catch in SF territory and managed to set the tone for the rest of the night. The Baltimore receivers completely owned the 49ers secondary in the middle part and down the stretch of the game, and it really gained weight after Boldin made this catch in the first quarter.

Although the Ravens would eventually have to punt on the drive, Flacco showed nice escape skills from the pocket and made a decision that favored a receiver that had the advantage down the field. It's one of the reasons he didn't have an interception in the 2012-13 playoffs—he didn't make many chances against double coverage.

 

The Score: Baltimore 7, San Francisco 3

The Situation: 2nd Quarter—7:15 remaining, 2nd-and-Goal on the SF 1

The Receiver: TE Dennis Pitta

The Result: 1-yd TD and 14-3 lead

 

After the LaMichael James fumble, Baltimore mounted a 75-yard drive and did what great teams do in the process—capitalize on turnovers by the other team.

Flacco made several good throws on the drive, including a pair of bullets to tight end Ed Dickson, while going 4-for-4 on the drive for 45 yards and the eventual touchdown to Dennis Pitta.

The Ravens ran the ball on first down and then ran a playaction fake to Ray Rice before rifling the ball in between two defenders to Pitta. It was a bold play to say the least by Flacco, as he took a big chance that the ball wouldn't be deflected or intercepted by one of the two closest defenders.

Still, sometimes arm strength trumps all and that was the case on this throw. It gave the Ravens a big lead late in the second quarter, and it turned out Baltimore would never every point it could get down the stretch of this game.

 

The Score: Baltimore 31, San Francisco 29

The Situation: 4th Quarter—7:14 remaining, 3rd-and-1 on the Bal 40

The Receiver: WR Anquan Boldin

The Result: 15-yd reception and a first down

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

 

Flacco made tons of big throws in his 22-completion day at the Super Bowl, but none were bigger than this. The Ravens watched the 49ers climb all the way to within two after a great third quarter, and felt close enough to snatch this game after Colin Kaepernick's fourth quarter TD run.

But Flacco was having none of that.

He saw that Boldin had 1-on-1 coverage on the outside against Carlos Rogers, made the audible at the line to attack the defense at its weakest point, and made a back-shoulder throw to Boldin that put the Ravens in a realistic shot at a field goal in a close game.

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From every aspect of this play, it's brilliant football and it has the mindset of the winner. The entire stadium thought the Ravens would run the ball on third down to keep the clock moving, but Flacco trusted his arm and his favorite target and put the ball in a place his receiver could make a play.

Instead of playing not to lose, Flacco played to win.

The rest is history, and we now have the joy of reliving Super Bowl XLVII as one of the most exciting games of this era of football. Led by Cool Joe, the Ravens got it done in New Orleans.

When we look at back at the NFL history books, this could be the kind of game that defines a career—that of Joe Flacco's, that is.

 

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