How are Joe Flacco and Peyton Manning alike? They’re the only two quarterbacks to defeat Tom Brady in the AFC Championship game in the Patriot quarterback’s career.
As pointed out by the Baltimore Ravens website, Flacco is the only quarterback not named Manning to square off against Tom Brady in the AFC Championship and come away victorious. And he’s the only quarterback other than Manning, Brady and the Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl in the past 13 seasons.
Peyton Manning, behind one of the best defenses in the NFL, was able to stave off a late game rally by Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, 20-18, to secure their second Super Bowl appearance in the past three seasons. This coming despite the fact that Manning has been less than 100 percent throughout the year and at one point was even benched in favor of protege Brock Osweiler.
The Broncos defense kept Tom Brady at bay for most of the contest, holding the Patriots to just 13 points with only two minutes to go during the game. But two hail mary fourth down passes to behemoth tight end Rob Gronkowski gave the Patriots the chance to tie the game with just 12 seconds to go.
It was an earlier miss by usually reliable kicker Stephen Gostkowski that forced Brady and company to go for two instead of simply tying the game with an extra point at the end of the game. As was the case for most of the contest, Brady was pressured into throwing an inaccurate pass that was tipped at the line by Aqib Talib and intercepted by his teammate, cornerback Bradley Roby. The Patriots then attempted an onside kick but came up short.
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Ironically, the last time Brady lost the AFC Championship was on the road in Denver against a much stronger Peyton Manning. But the season before, upstart Joe Flacco marched the Baltimore Ravens into New England and destroyed the Patriots 28-13 en route to their convincing Super Bowl victory against the San Francisco 49ers. It was Flacco’s play during that Super Bowl run that lead to him receiving a big pay raise, where he ended up earning $20 million per year guaranteed.
And while Joe certainly deserves every cent after his unflappable performance, in this salary cap NFL, his huge cap number could prevent the Ravens from competing. But during an appearance on WBAL TV, recently, Flacco seemed open to restructuring his contract to help the team succeed.
“I want to win and do everything we can to get something done,” Flacco said. “I don’t know exactly what that will be, because we haven’t talked about it yet. I know it’s a huge number and not realistic. I’m open to doing something. I want to be here for a while and play football here. That’s what it’s all about.”
He also gave the fans an update on his surgically repaired knee which he injured midway through the regular season.
“I honestly know the timetable for this type of injury. I know I’m doing well right now. I feel very good. I’m just taking it day by day. I don’t want to overdo anything and do anything too early and force myself into some sort of setback. I don’t think there’s any way I’m not going to be ready to be out there.”
Watching Peyton Manning take on Tom Brady in the AFC Championship is probably motivation enough for Joe Flacco, who will look to make sure his recent AFC Championship appearance and Super Bowl victory was no fluke.
[Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images]