Flacco can’t recapture Ravens’ playoff magic

Quarterback Joe Flacco had one of the most memorable playoff runs with the Ravens in the 2012-13 season.

He threw 11 touchdown passes and had no interceptions en route to a victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII, where he was named MVP.

Flacco hoped to recapture that magic with the Cleveland Browns after signing with the team on November 20th. He was 4-1 as the starting quarterback, throwing for 1,616 yards with 13 touchdowns and eight interceptions, and led Cleveland to its first playoff appearance since 2020.

However, the remarkable run ended in a 45-14 loss to the Houston Texans in the wild-card round Saturday. Flacco was 34-for-46 for 307 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions that were returned for touchdowns.

“I was so fortunate to become a part of this team,” Flacco told reporters after the game. “It’s a special group, and I’m super grateful for it. This is why we love football. This is why we love NFL playoffs. It’s 14 really good football teams, and it’s one game. Unfortunately for us, we were the loser, but that’s what we love about this game.

“You have to learn how to deal with it when you’re not the guy. It was a close group, so you can imagine how they’re taking it, but they’re going to hold their heads high because I know who they are.”

The Browns were dominated by the Texans on defense and offense and were trailing, 24-14, when Flacco threw the pick-sixes on consecutive possessions to put the game out of reach. There will be no homecoming for Flacco next week in Baltimore. He entered the game tied with Tom Brady for the most road playoff victories by a quarterback with seven

Flacco, who turns 39 on Tuesday, already has a legacy with the Ravens and could be added to the team’s Ring of Honor one day. However, Flacco has shown that he can still play at an effective level in the NFL and could be back next season, perhaps with Cleveland.

The Ravens won’t have to worry about answering questions all week about Flacco’s return to M&T Bank Stadium. Instead, the players will shift their attention to their next potential opponent, the Texans or Steelers, who play the Bills on Monday. Should the Bills win, Houston will be coming to Baltimore. The Steelers will come to Baltimore if they defeat the Bills.


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