Following several underwhelming performances to close out the standard season and limp to the playoffs, the Baltimore Ravens took care of business inside their wild-card matchup, defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers 30-17 behind a stingy defense and clutch second-half play from quarterback Joe Flacco.
When Flacco plays well, the Ravens are a harmful team. Despite a less-than-stellar aerial attack in the initial half, Flacco was effective and on target when it counted most, as he threw for 18-of-29 for 259 yards and two touchdowns on Saturday Night. His 11-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Torrey Smith in the third quarter gave the Ravens a 20-9 advantage, put the Pittsburgh crowed in silence at Heinz Field faithful. Joe Cool iced the overall game with a 21-yard touchdown strike to tight end Crockett Gillmore with only over eight minutes remaining in the contest.
With the win within the Steelers, Flacco, who came into the league in 2008, got his 10th playoff victory, five a lot more than some other quarterback during that time span. The win also marked Flacco’s initial postseason win at Heinz Field after losing in his two previous tries.
The Ravens, in the postseason for the sixth amount of time in seven years under coach John Harbaugh, appear to possess overcome their season-ending offensive slump and possess the talent and experience on both sides of the ball to check the New England Patriots on the way in the 2nd round of eight next week.
If the up-and-down Ravens will go deep in the postseason, Flacco, who has been brilliant occasionally this season, should continue steadily to play at a top level. Judging by his performance in the 2nd half against the Steelers, Flacco might be able to give you the Ravens all of the push they should rekindle the magic of these 2013 Super Bowl-winning season.