Two days later — In Flacco vs. Fans, Joe delivers knockout blow

November 08, 2011 | Drew Forrester


Talk about punching your critics in the mouth.

Joe Flacco left his with a fat lip, bloodied and in need of stitches, in the aftermath of Sunday night’s thriller in Pittsburgh.

I guess that’s one way of handling the criticism, huh? Drive the team 92 yards in one of the most hostile environments in the league, against one of the NFL’s best defenses, and throw the game-winning strike to a rookie with eight seconds left in the game.

Do you need a towel for all that blood?

Despite being the only quarterback in the NFL to have won a playoff game in each of the last three seasons, Flacco saw the critic’s bandwagon swell this year as the Ravens paced their way to a 4-1 start before a disastrous night in Jacksonville gave the “told ya this guy stinks” fraternity more ammunition.

I wonder how full that fraternity’s belly is this morning, what with all that crow they stuffed in their mouths on Monday as they were forced to discuss Joe’s heroics on Sunday night?

Flacco, for one, privately enjoyed sticking it up his critic’s hind quarters. When asked about it after the game, Joe just meekly let out that “you know the answer but I’m not saying it” grin and said, “Anytime you win a game here, it’s good, because you know there were people who didn’t think you could do it.”

That’s as close to an “f-you” as you’ll ever get from Flacco, but it was good enough.

He knows the drill. He knows it all too well, in fact.

When the team wins and he plays well, he’ll get some credit for it.

When the team doesn’t win, he gets most of the blame.

That’s the way it is in New England, Pittsburgh, New Orleans and Green Bay (except they don’t really lose anymore in Green Bay). And that’s the way it’s probably going to be in Baltimore too, because Flacco – in case you haven’t seen the stats since 2008 – has done a lot more winning than losing in his time in purple.

It’s fair to note, by the way, that the Ravens were privately concerned about Joe’s play in the Jacksonville and Tennessee losses, because he in no way resembled the same guy who performed so well against Pittsburgh in the season opener. But no one over in Owings Mills was EVER doubting Flacco’s long-term viability as the team’s franchise quarterback.

It’s always good to beat the Steelers, particularly in Pittsburgh.

And it’s always a joy to see someone face his critics head on and offer a quick jab to the mouth that reminds them once again who’s in charge.

It’s Joe Flacco’s football team.

Get your face cleaned up and enjoy the rest of the season.