Manning and Flacco Come Through in the Clutch
Byron Lambert, Rosterwatch.com
Two of the most of the most scrutinized QBs in the league, Eli Manning and Joe Flacco came through BIG this NFL Sunday. Constantly criticized for their shortcomings; neither guy inspires a lot of confidence. Both QBs consistently captain very good teams, yet they continue to be undervalued and unappreciated by distrustful fans. It just seems neither has taken their game to that next level that their teams need to be dominant.
Two unlikely game winning drives yesterday may be the sign of progress fans have been looking for. Flacco and Manning both engineered surgical comebacks driving the distance of the field with time waning. For the second time in his career, Eli had to watch from the sidelines as Tom Brady did what he always does.
Brady had just moved his team down the field with little over one minute left, trailing by four. It was 4th and 9, and cold as ice, Brady did what he always does and delivered what looked to be a game winning TD strike to steal a game the Giants had dominated. Not so fast, Eli decided to do his best Brady imitation and marched his team 80 yards with 1:36 left on the clock and threw the game winning TD pass to Jake Ballard with 15 seconds left!
Just like Tom Brady, another elite multi superbowl winning QB, Big Ben Roethliseberger, looked to have stolen a tough game from arch division rival the Baltimore Ravens. After trailing all game, Big Ben came through and delivered an unlikely TD strike to Mike Wallace with under 5 minutes left. The Ravens got the ball back and went 3 and out. Then came back played solid defense and forced Pittsburgh to pass on a long FG attempt in favor of the safer punt to give Joe Flacco the longest field possible for one last chance with 2:17 left. Flacco was facing 92 yards to go and star sack master, LB Terrell Suggs, was standing on the sideline wondering “If this was still last year’s Raven’s team or if his young offense had made that leap?”
He got his answer, Flacco pulled out a miracle driving the whole field against a storied Steelers defense to deliver a beautiful TD in the corner of the endzone to speedster rookier WR, Torrey Smith. This was on the heels of a critical Anquan Boldin drop and a Torrey Smith TD drop. Flacco showed confidence in his young guy and went right back to him!
Manning and Flacco are veteran enough to know the NFL is a week to week proposition and neither seem to get too high or too low. For now their clutch play on Sunday should quite the critics……..at least week for a week or so!