JOE FLACCO BELIEVES "I'M RIGHT AT THE TOP"
The Baltimore Ravens didn't blow out 0-4 Cleveland on Thursday night, but they did strengthen their case as a genuine Super Bowl contender by continuing to show more offensive firepower than they traditionally have had.
Joe Flacco's arm is the key in that shift, and it was on display throughout the 23-16 victory that improved the Baltimore record to 3-1. Throwing in a steady rain, Flacco was 28-for-46 for 356 yards, with one touchdown on the ground and another in the air. Going into the game, he already led the NFL for most completions of 20 yards or more this season.
He also demonstrated growing versatility on a second-quarter touchdown drive. He found Tandon Doss on a 36-yard touch pass, then connected with Torrey Smith on a perfectly aimed sideline throw for 34 more yards and then finished with an 18-yard laser strike to Smith for the touchdown.
Flacco obviously is throwing with confidence, and he's speaking that way too. Here are some of the quarterback's comments from an interview with NFL Network's Deion Sanders, including one about being at the top of the game:
On where he ranks among QBs:
“I believe I’m right at the top. I don’t think that you’d be worth anything in this business if you didn’t feel that way about yourself. I really believe it. I put our team in a position to win each week and I do believe that I’m a very talented guy. I don’t think too many people have the ability that I have.”
On how he works with teammates:
"I don’t get in peoples’ faces and yell at them and try to embarrass them. If I ever really felt that bad about them, I’d probably pull them aside one-on-one and [say], ‘Hey, we have to get this right.’”
On what the support of Ray Lewis means:
“You know how important he is around this city, around this organization, so obviously when a player like that believes in you, it validates you and gives you a lot of confidence to go out there and play.”
On the Ravens becoming more offense-minded:
“We have a lot of athletes on the offensive side of the ball now. In order to win in this league, in order to win it all and do what we want to do, you have to have the kind of offense that can go put points on the board for you. We’re not there yet, but we’re working on being there. We can be really good; we just have to do it on a consistent basis . . . With the defense we have, why not have a great offense along with it?”