User ID
  Forgot User ID
or Register Today!
Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Google+ VI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds
Betting Tools

Flacco heads to Super Bowl after beating 2 of best

New customers: Make your 1st bet, get your 2nd bet free, 100%, winnings paid in cash.
Join Now

Already have an account? Click here to view new Exclusive Rewards!

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) - No doubt about it.

When you beat the best - and Joe Flacco did that in consecutive games - the skeptics should be silenced.

``I'm so glad we're going to the Super Bowl right now,'' Baltimore wide receiver Torrey Smith said, ``so people can get off Joe's back.''

Flacco threw three touchdown passes in the second half, helping the Ravens reach the Super Bowl for the first time in 12 years with a 28-13 win over the New England Patriots in the AFC championship game Sunday.

He beat two-time NFL MVP Tom Brady one week after outplaying Peyton Manning, who has won the award four times, in a 38-35 double-overtime win over the Denver Broncos. And that followed a 24-9 victory over budding star quarterback Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts in the wild-card round.

``We've always believed in Joe,'' coach John Harbaugh said, ``and for Joe to come out and to have this kind of a game and this kind of a stage three weeks in a row - Luck's a pretty good quarterback, Manning's a pretty good quarterback and Brady's a great quarterback.

``All those guys are great players, but Joe's a great quarterback. And Joe has proven that. He's not just proven it this year, he's proven it for five years.''

No NFL quarterback - not Brady, not Manning - has more than Flacco's 62 victories, including the postseason, since the start of the 2008 season. No NFL quarterback has more than his six postseason wins on the road. And no other quarterback has a postseason victory in each of his first five seasons during the Super Bowl era.

``He's a great quarterback,'' said wide receiver Anquan Boldin, who caught two touchdown passes. ``I don't know why people keep doubting him because the bigger the situation is, the bigger he plays, and he's proven that time and time again. So maybe they'll get off his back now.''

Finally, he will be the most accomplished quarterback in one of his playoff games when he faces the 49ers, who are favored by 4 1/2 points, in New Orleans on Feb. 3.

San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick may have made a splash with his running and passing skills, but he's started just nine games in his two pro seasons.

Flacco has started every Ravens game - 80 in the regular season, 12 in the postseason - since they took him with the 18th pick of the 2008 draft out of Delaware.

As a rookie, he played poorly in a 23-14 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC championship game. He got back to that game last season, but the Ravens lost 23-20 to the Patriots.

But on the same field Sunday, Flacco completed 21 of 36 passes for 240 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. Brady went 29 for 54 for 320 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.

``These games are tough to win and we've put ourselves in the position to win these games and, eventually, you're going to push through and play the way you need to,'' he said.

A week earlier in a 38-35 double-overtime win over the Broncos, he went 18 for 34 for 331 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. That beat Manning's 28 for 43 for 290 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions.

Flacco's passer ratings in this year's postseason games highlight his superiority - 125.6 to Luck's 59.8, 116.2 to Manning's 88.3 and 106.3 to Brady's 62.3.

``I've always been a Joe Flacco fan,'' Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis said.

The Patriots led 13-7 at halftime but in a span of 10 minutes and one second Flacco threw touchdown passes of 5 yards to Dennis Pitta, and 3 and 11 yards to Boldin.

``They do a good job stopping the run and we knew we had to come out here in the second half and make some plays in the passing game,'' Flacco said.

He sure did.

After completing just 6 of 12 passes for 81 yards with no touchdowns before the break, he went 15 for 24 for 159 yards in the second half. He was 14 for 18 on the three touchdown drives and even scrambled once for 14 yards and a first down.

In three playoff games this season he's thrown eight touchdown passes and not a single interception.

``He's been great all year, especially in these playoffs,'' Pitta said. ``He deserves this more than anyone.''

Safety Ed Reed saw great potential in Flacco from the quarterback's rookie season.

``From the first snap (when) he went against our defense, I knew he was a smart guy,'' Reed said. ``We blitzed him and he threw it straight to the sideline out of bounds because he knew we were coming. He's always been a leader (with) more than potential to lead us to where we're going right now.''

That should have been clear when Flacco guided the Baltimore offense to three AFC championship games in his five seasons.

His opponents see it now that he's helped take the Ravens to the Super Bowl for the first time in his career.

``He is one of the elite quarterbacks,'' Patriots safety Steve Gregory said. ``I know he gets a lot of flak for possibly not being that type of guy, but he is.''

And now Flacco can look to pad his resume with his first Super Bowl championship.

``It's about who can get ready and who can become their best at the right time and hit the ground running,'' he said. ``And that's what we're doing.''


Online: and

The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2015
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

Rogers: MNF - Ravens at Browns
News: Win Total Betting Update
Chiefs hold off Bills for 5th straight win
Peterson's 2 TDs lead Vikes past Falcons
Bengals drill Rams 31-7 behind Dalton
Hasselbeck, Vinatieri lead Colts past Bucs
Fitzpatrick, Marshall lead Jets past Miami
Carr throws late TD as Raiders edge Titans
Rivers' 4 TD passes help Chargers top Jags
Why Buy Picks From
NFL Pro Football Handicapper Sports Picks Records
NFL Hot Streaks
5-2 Sun., 15-6 Run, 10-1 Mondays
41-21 Last 62 Picks, +1,555 TY
9-2 L11 G-Plays, 11-4 L15 Picks
19-9 Last 28 NFL Streak
4-1 L5 Picks, 10-3 L13 G-Plays
5-1 Last 6, 23-10 Last 33 Picks
5-1 L6 Picks, 17-9 L5 Sundays
10-3 L13, 12-4 L16 Selections
5-1 Last 6 Guaranteed Plays
16-6 L4 Sundays, 28-14 +1,316 L42
5-2 Last 7 NFL Picks
3-1 Record Sunday
2-0 Thursday, 5-2 L7 Picks
5-1 Last 6 NFL Guarantees
NFL Pro NFL Football Expert Sports Picks- Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Marc Lawrence + 1555
Andy Iskoe + 1065
Joe Nelson + 1028
Last Week's Leaders
Handicapper Money
ASA + 300
Michael Black + 300
Andy Iskoe + 295
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
Marc Lawrence 63 %
Joe Nelson 62 %
Zack Cimini 62 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Joe Nelson + 448
Scott Pritchard + 415
Vince Akins + 310
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Michael Black + 406
Jimmy Boyd + 363
Scott Pritchard + 300
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Paul Bovi + 909
Antony Dinero + 706
Marc Lawrence + 660
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Gold Membership