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."