I wanted to do a retrospective on Flacco’s career with the Ravens to count down his greatest games as the team’s QB. In ordering, I gave a weighting for play value, importance, portent, and the imprint of the memories we retain. Joe’s also had some great moments in losing efforts, but I decided to leave them off the list.
I had to eliminate a number of fine performances to get to 21, but leave a comment and we can discuss.
21. 12/4/16: Ravens Throttle Dolphins
The Ravens passing game had struggled all season despite Flacco’s 672 attempts. For this game, he put it all together with 4 TDs, including a 53-yard crosser to Breshad Perriman that propelled the Ravens to a 38-6 win versus the WC rival Dolphins and put them back in the playoff hunt at 6-5.
20. 11/25/12: 4th and 29
Ray Rice was the man most responsible for the iconic conversion, but Joe led the Ravens’ comeback from a 13-3 deficit in the last 5 minutes. Justin Tucker’s FG in OT beat the Chargers 16-13 after Flacco drove the Ravens from their own 11 to the Chargers’ 20 in the last 5 minutes of overtime, highlighted by a 31-yard completion to Torrey Smith to convert 3rd and 10.
19. 10/24/10: Criqui Calls the Comeback
Lee Evans burned the Ravens corners for 3 TDs in the game which may have precipitated the trade to Baltimore for 2011 and the Bills led 24-10 just before the half. The Ravens scored 17 unanswered points in the span of 1:02 to take a 27-24 lead culminated by a gorgeous flea flicker that announcer Don Criqui called for a TD before Flacco had released the football. Flacco had 3 TDs, 0 INTs, and the Ravens won 37-34 in OT.
18. 9/28/11: Torrey Smith Connection
The Ravens’ 2nd-round pick had been targeted just once in the first 2 games, but became the first player in NFL history to have his first 3 receptions be TDs (74, 41, and 18 yards) as the Ravens blasted the Rams 37-7 in St Louis. Flacco threw for a then-career-high 389 yards with 3 TDs and 0 INTs.
17. 12/23/12: Ravens Secure AFC North Title vs Giants
Joe completed 25 of 36 for 309 yards with 2 TDs/0 INTs and added another TD on the ground. The Ravens clinched the AFC North with a win over the defending Super Bowl champions at home to end a 3-game losing streak.
16. 12/8/13: Two-Minute Drill in a Blizzard
The Ravens and Vikings played through a blizzard in a game that had an NFL-record 5 TDs in the final 2:09. Flacco capped the game-winning 80-yard drive in 41 seconds with a 9-yard TD pass to Marlon Brown in the back of the end zone with 0:04 remaining.
15. 9/9/18: Slinging in the Rain
Joe opened the 2018 season in a persistent downpour against the Bills and completed 25 of 34 with a passer rating of 121, 3 TDs, 0 INTs. The Ravens drilled Buffalo 47-3.
14. 9/30/18: Ravens Win Convincingly in Pittsburgh
With the running game ineffective, Flacco completed 28 of 42 passes for 363 yards, 2 TDs/0 INTs in a 26-14 Sunday night win at Pittsburgh. It was the last prime time performance of his Ravens career.
13. 11/2/08: Ravens Comeback in Cleveland
In the first great comeback of Flacco’s career, the Ravens trailed the Browns 27-13, late in the 3rd quarter in Cleveland. Joe led the Ravens to 24 unanswered points in the final 17 minutes to win 37-27, including the game-tying 28-yard TD to Derrick Mason.
12. 9/23/12: Sunday Night Comeback vs Patriots
Joe was 28 of 39 for 382 yards, 3 TDs/1 INT and a 118 passer rating as he brought the Ravens back from 9 points down in the final 4:01 to a 31-30 win. Joe completed 6 passes, including 2 TDs, for 127 yards to Torrey Smith. Smith was playing despite losing his brother in a motorcycle accident.
11. 9/7/08: Flacco Debuts vs Bengals
The Ravens started Flacco in the season opener due in part to Troy Smith’s illness. Joe would not give up the job for more than 10 seasons as he led the Ravens to a 17-10 win over the Bengals including his own 38-yard scoring run. That remains the longest run of his career.
10. 9/7/11: Ravens serve notice to Steelers
The Ravens still had the monkey on their back for the 2011 opener after a 2010 playoff elimination in Pittsburgh. Baltimore was led by outstanding performances by their top 4 defenders (Lewis, Reed, Suggs, Ngata) to a 7-0 turnover edge en route to a 35-7 win. Flacco was 17 of 29 for 224 yards with 3 TDs/0 INTs.
9. 11/6/11: 92-Yard TD Drive Sweeps Steelers
Despite the opening-day massacre, the Ravens entered their Week 9 rematch with the Steelers trailing by half a game in the division. On Sunday night in Pittsburgh, Joe led the Ravens to a 92-yard, game-winning drive in the final 2:24 capped by a 26-yard TD to Torey Smith with 0:08 remaining.
8. 10/3/10: Flacco to Houshmandzadeh Caps Comeback vs Steelers
After failing to score on 4th and goal from the 2-yard line, the Ravens got the ball back at the Pittsburgh 40 with 1:08 to go, trailing 14-10. Flacco drove the Ravens 40 yards on 4 plays in 36 seconds with completions of 9, 3, 10, and 18. The game-winning TD to T.J. Houshmandzadeh in the back of the end zone sent the Pittsburgh crowd home crying in their towels.
7. 1/6/13—Ravens Exorcise Playoff Curse vs Colts
Most recall this game as “Ray’s Last Dance”, but the Ravens had twice previously been eliminated by the Colts (2006, 2009). Joe began his historic playoff run with 282 yards on just 23 passes (2 TD/0 INT, 126 rating). The Ravens won 24-9 with Ray Lewis as the tailback in victory formation.
6. 1/3/15: Ravens Eliminate Steelers
The Ravens ended a long playoff drought for Baltimore area teams against Pittsburgh that dated back to the 1971 World Series. Flacco led the elimination of the Steelers in Pittsburgh with 259 yards, 2 TDs/0 INTs, and a 114 passer rating. The Ravens would be eliminated by the Patriots the following week in a 35-31 thriller in New England that was the precursor to Deflategate.
5. 10/12/14: Flacco Fastest to 5 TDs in Rout of Bucs
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 12, 2014
The Ravens traveled to Tampa in Week 6 in C.J. Mosley’s first game as the defensive signal caller. Flacco ended any drama with 5 TD passes in the first 17 minutes to give the Ravens a 38-0 halftime lead on the way to a 48-17 rout.
4. 1/10/09: Flacco Engineers Winning Drive to Eliminate Titans
Flacco became the first quarterback in NFL history to win 2 playoff games as a rookie as the Ravens upset the Titans 13-10. Joe had 3 passes which provided the most efficient offense in a game where the run game produced just 50 yards on 30 carries (1.7 YPC). His 48-yard pass to Mason (Q1, 1:28) tied the game at 7. His 37-yard pass to Mason (Q3, 1:41) set up the go-ahead FG early in the 4th quarter. And his 23-yard pass to Todd Heap converted 3rd and 2 on the game-winning drive (Q4, 2:51).
3. 1/20/13: Harbaugh Puts AFCC in Flacco’s Hands
The Ravens trailed the Patriots 13-7 at halftime of the AFC Championship at New England. Bill Belichick and Tom Brady had never lost such a game (68-0 at the time). The Ravens put Flacco in the Shotgun and ran the no-huddle offense for most of the 2nd half to score 21 unanswered points and send the Ravens to their 2nd Super Bowl. Flacco (240 yards, 3 TDs/0 INTs, 106 rating) outplayed Brady (320, 1 TD/2 INTs, 62 Rating) to extend his outstanding playoff performance.
2. 1/12/13: Mile High Miracle
On his most well-recalled day, Joe led the Ravens to a 38-35 win in double OT. He threw for 331 yards with 3 TDs/0 INTs and a 116 passer rating. The 70-yard TD to Jacoby Jones was a thing of beauty not only for its timing, but for Joe’s ability to extend the play by moving up in the pocket and unloading the F-bomb accurately at that distance. Earlier in the game, Joe threw a pair of TDs to Torrey Smith, including a 59-yard answer to the first Broncos TD (Q1, 10:31) and a game-tying 32-yard bomb down the right sideline (Q2, 0:36). In the first overtime, he completed a 3rd-and-13 pass to Pitta (OT, 6:01) for a 24-yard conversion to save his team a punt from their own 3-yard line.
1. 2/3/13: Super Bowl MVP
In New Orleans, Joe finished his incredible run with another 3 TD/0 INT game against the favored 49ers. His 3 first-half TDs included a 56-yard bomb to Jacoby Jones (Q2, 1:58) and helped the Ravens build a 28-6 lead when the lights went (half) out. As the 49ers mounted their comeback attempt, Joe’s biggest pass of the day may have been a 3rd-and-1 audible completed to Anquan Boldin by the right sideline. That extended the drive that eventually put the Ravens up 5 and set up their game-winning, 4-down defensive stand.