In the battle of the quarterbacks in the AFC Championship Game , Baltimore Ravens, Coach John Harbaugh, and quarterback Joe Flacco have the last laugh. Narrowly defeated in the AFC Championship game last year on a missed Ravens field goal attempt, this year’s victory was no fluke but rather a 28-13 pasting of the Patriots and their quarterback Tom Brady.
The game came down to a better running offence by Baltimore and the Baltimore defence throttling Patriots All-Pro quarterback Tom Brady. Not only did the Ravens defence intercept Tom Brady twice but also forced him to go with drop-off passes while denying any real long passing gains. And yet again, the Patriots have no real running attack to a)relieve the pressure and b)gain real yardage consistently.
In contrast, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco produced a third top notch performance in a row – passing for three touchdowns and unlike Tom Brady, able to toss some real long gainers at crucial times in the game. Now to graduate to the elite status of quarterbacks Joe has the the not-so-simple task of tossing winning throws against the very tough San Francisco 49er defence in the upcoming Super Bowl game. I suspect that John Harbaugh’s brother, 49er head coach Jim Harbaugh, is already cooking up some blitzing and coverage surprises for Joe.
Meanwhile Patriot head coach Bill Belicheck has more than CBS Shannon Sharpe’s harsh words to contend with after no-showing for an interview after the AFC Championship game. Simply put the Patriots have been hanging together at near excellence with chicken wire. Year after year, the Patriots field a good but not a great running attack. The receiving corps is good but bone shattered with the loss of Rob Gronkowski twice to arm breaks in the playoffs. The defensive line has yet to field a sack specialist and does not have the kamikaze attack zeal of yore. Bill Belicheck say he will be back – but running the club at high efficiency but on low octane fuel does not appear to be a winning formula in the ever changing and ever sharpening level of play in the NFL.