Considering it will be the first and only time the starting offense is completely together for a game before Week 1 (minus wide receiver Steve Smith Sr.), it’s the only chance the unit has to pick up momentum.
The Ravens are 2-0 in the preseason and want to make it 3-0 in the contest that will most closely resemble a regular-season game.
“I think a big part of going into the first game of the season is confidence in what we have and how we have done in live games,” Flacco said. “Obviously, it is not as important as a regular-season game, but I think for our confidence as a team – and especially some of the young guys we have out here – to just get them used to winning football, it is pretty important.”
The Ravens’ running back rotation is still being sorted out, but quarterback Joe Flacco has clearly been impressed by the rookie Kenneth Dixon.
On Thursday, Flacco was asked for his take on rookie offensive linemen Ronnie Stanley, Alex Lewis and Dixon. After saying that Stanley and Lewis are “progressing big time,” Flacco gave a glowing review of Dixon.
“Kenneth Dixon has had a run each week where you thought he was down for five seconds and he gets 6, 7, 8, 9 more yards out of it,” Flacco said.
You can see in practice how shifty he is and how well he sees things and some of the cuts he makes. I think he has been pretty impressive transferring that over to the games.”
On January 6, 2013, in the Wild Card Playoffs round against the Indianapolis Colts, Flacco finished the game 12 of 23 for 282 yards, two touchdowns, and a career postseason high 125.6 passer rating. The 24-9 win at home set up a Divisional round rematch with the Broncos, who entered the game as nine-point favorites after their regular season win over the Ravens, which included a 98-yard interception touchdown return by Broncos’ cornerback Chris Harris that marked the lowest point of Flacco’s season. Continuing his postseason success, Flacco played one of the best games in his career, throwing for 331 yards and 3 touchdowns. In the 4th quarter, the Ravens were down 35-28 and had one last chance to tie the game. After an incomplete pass and a 7-yard scramble, on 3rd down and 3, Flacco heaved a 70-yard touchdown pass to Jacoby Jones, sending the game into overtime. The pass has been called the “Mile High Miracle”, and “one of the greatest plays in NFL history” and drew comparisons to Roger Staubach’s “Hail Mary”, Terry Bradshaw’s “Immaculate Reception”, and Joe Montana’s “The Catch”. The Ravens would go on to win the game in double overtime 38-35 after an interception by Corey Graham from Peyton Manning and a 47-yard field goal from Justin Tucker, sending the Ravens to face the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship for a second straight year.
On January 20, 2013, Flacco and the Ravens avenged the previous year’s AFC Championship Game loss to the Patriots with a 28-13 win, securing their spot in the 2013 Super Bowl. Flacco threw for 240 yards and three touchdowns, notching his third straight game with a passer rating over 100. With this win, Flacco became the second NFL quarterback to defeat both Peyton Manning (with the Broncos) and Tom Brady in the same postseason since both became starting quarterbacks in 2001 (the first to do so was Mark Sanchez in 2010).