Rice: Flacco better than Brady in AFC title game


Rice: Flacco better than Brady in AFC title game

You remember Joe Flacco proclaiming himself as the best quarterback in the NFL?

Teammate Ray Rice isn't ready to go quite that far. He is, however, willing to proclaim Flacco as the best quarterback in the 2011 AFC Championship Game.

"Quite frankly, he outplayed Tom Brady the last game," Rice said in an interview on WQXI-AM Atlanta, referring to Flacco's perfomance in the Patriots' 23-20 victory over the Ravens at Gillette Stadium last January for the AFC title.

The numbers don't reveal a clear winner; Flacco was 22-of-36 for 306 yards with 2 touchdowns and 1 interception, Brady 22-of-36 for 239 yards with 0 TDs and 2 interceptions. But Brady's offense failed to capitalize on two opportunities to put the game away in the fourth quarter, after earlier settling for field goals on drives that started on the Ravens' 11-, 17- and 6-yard lines. Those miscues gave the Ravens a chance to win the game and the championship, a chance they flubbed when a) Lee Evans allowed Sterling Moore to slap the game-winning touchdown reception out of his hands with 22 seconds left, and b) Billy Cundiff shanked a game-tying 32-yard field-goal attempt with 15 seconds to play.

"I sucked pretty bad today," Brady told the crowd in the postgame ceremony.

Rice chose to credit Flacco rather than trash Brady.

"He outplayed Tom Brady and Tom Brady . . . he's the trademark for a quarterback," Rice said. "So Joe Flacco feeling the way he feels is only right because he did it on a high level. He did on the peak of his performance."

Report: Patriots RB Lewis expected to return to practice this week


Report: Patriots RB Lewis expected to return to practice this week

FOXBORO -- The Patriots will have a familiar face back on the practice field, it appears. 

According to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport, running back Dion Lewis is expected to begin practicing this week. Lewis has been on the physically unable to perform list since the start of the regular season. 

Lewis tore his ACL in a Week 9 win over the Redskins last season, landing him on season-ending injured reserve. He was able to participate on a limited basis during OTAs but then experienced a setback that required surgery before the start of the season. 

Once Lewis hits the practice field, the Patriots have a three-week window to place him on the active roster. The team currently has an open roster spot and could, in theory, activate him as early as this week. 

When healthy last season, Lewis as a dynamic all-purpose back whose quickness allowed him to make defenders miss both in tight spaces between the tackles and in the open field as a receiver. The Patriots have used James White as their primary sub back in Lewis' absence, and he's on pace for a career year, with 27 receptions for 244 yards and three touchdowns.