“Sometimes you have to get hit three or four times in the face by a skunk before you can smell it.”
That’s an old line from our Hall of Fame man Bill Parcells, when he was in one of his moods, and it kept rattling around in my head as I watched Joe Flacco launch the ball downfield, over and over, to people who were covered, and seeing those people coming up with the catch and securing big gains for Baltimore.
Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones, those are the names, and they’ve been doing it since the second half of the Indy playoff. 38 catches and eight TDs among them during the postseason. They refuse to drop the ball. And the point of the story is I’ve picked against the Ravens in their last two games and ignored an offense full of hot hands, and now I’m wearing a face full of skunk.
The book on Flacco used to be 1) get him flushed out and throwing on the move because his accuracy drops way down, and 2) club him high and hard on the sack and he’ll spit up the ball. That book now appears to be discontinued and out of print.
The Niner rush couldn’t catch him. I saw Flacco dodge Aldon Smith and sprint away from LBs NaVorro Bowman and Ahmad Brooks, and 6-foot-6 passers aren’t supposed to be able to escape the wolves like that.
But Flacco’s done it all throughout the playoffs. OK, teams have decked him a handful of times, but it’s no longer the rule. He's fumbled just once since mid-December. He’s learned to operate outside the pocket. And the 30-yarder he delivered to Boldin, as Bowman and Brooks hounded him all the way to the sideline, may have been his lushest throw of the season.
I remember the New York Times story from back in December, the day he flipped that 98-yard interception against the Broncos, Flacco’s hiding his face in the turf during a 34-17 blowout of a day. The Ravens had lost their third straight. Included in the write-up was a quote from another Super Bowl winner, Joe Theismann.
“You wonder,” asked Theismann, “is it the plays or is it the player? It begs the question: How good is Joe Flacco? Here you are in a contract year and you’re not playing at a very high level."
The headline that day read: "Flacco Under Fire Though Ravens Again Reach Playoffs."
Under fire no more. Simply on fire.
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Decisions, decisions. How about the one Frank Gore made on the Niners’ two-point attempt at 31-29? He was Kaepernick’s lone bodyguard, and he decided to ignore a blitzing Ed Reed to focus on linebacker Terrell Suggs, who was lolling around on the play. Reed hurried Kaepernick’s throw, high and wide to Moss, and thus the Niners’ late game strategy was reshaped.
Gore short-circuited on that one. If he picks off Reed the play has a chance. And thus at 34-29, Frisco inside the Baltimore 10, a field goal was not an option.
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Definition, Super Bowl commercial: When corporate America and Madison Avenue flush their toilets at the same time.
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It goes to the books as the longest kickoff return in NFL history, but I’m baffled that the officials — and the braying hoard of TV analysts — didn’t see the biggest mugging in kickoff history that accompanied it — Brendon Ayanbadejo and another Raven locking down 49er Bruce Miller.
They held Miller firm until the runway was clear. The double bear hug maneuver, and its Jacoby Jones for 109 yards. In case you missed it, folks, that’s why the middle broke so wide open at the start of the second half.
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What’s with Hall of Famer Larry Allen flashing the gang sign to the camera during the pregame introductions? How classy. Big Lars, representin’ hard for the east side or west side or whatever side.
Please, all you Cowboy apologists, don’t tell me he was just showing off that fancy Super Bowl ring.
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More officiating, on the no-call, Kaepernick to Crabtree in the endzone, Jimmy Smith defending. Yes, it upset a lot of people wearing red, but it didn’t surprise me. Jerome Boger’s crew had been calling ‘em loose all day. In the regular season, it instantly draws a flag — Lord, how many times have we seen it? But on Sunday they were letting them play.
In historical terms, I say the late interference flag in the ’03 collegiate title match, Miami vs. Ohio State, was far more despicable. Terry Porter, the bighearted referee, may as well have tossed begonia petals on that one.
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Super Bowl XLVII — how will she be remembered? Oh, how easy.
As the strangest of them all.
- Sports & Recreation
- American Football
- Joe Flacco
- Jacoby Jones
- Anquan Boldin
- Torrey Smith
- Joe Theismann