Flacco capitalizes on decision to open up offense in AFC championship

For a stretch of 13 minutes, 36 seconds in the second half of Sunday’s AFC championship, Joe Flacco couldn’t be stopped.

After attempting just 12 passes in the first half, the Ravens decided to open up the air attack and Flacco made sure that looked like the right call.

Beginning with 9:51 to go in the third quarter until 11:13 remained in the game, Flacco efficiently completed 14 of 17 attempts for 133 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. That flipped a 13-7 deficit into a 28-13 lead, producing the final score.

Flacco said the decision to pass more came from coach John Harbaugh.

“We came in at halftime and realized that we probably had to do that a little bit,” Flacco said Monday. “John came over and said, ‘Listen, we didn’t come all this way to play it safe and hope to win the football game.’ We had nothing to lose. We went up there to win the game and that’s what we did in the second half. Guys made plays and it worked out very well.”

Flacco acknowledged that he was glad Harbaugh made that move in the second half.

“We talked about it all week. We talked about it before the playoffs began, before the regular season was over ,that this is how we were going to get here, this is how we were going to win. We don’t have anything to lose. We have to go out there and lay it all on the line,” Flacco said. “That’s the only way we’re going to win. We may not win it like that, but that’s the only chance we’re giving ourselves. I think we’ve done that and we’ve put ourselves in a good position now.”

The passing game is one of the top reasons the Ravens are the AFC champs, as they’re averaging 276.0 yards through the air through three playoff games.

However, it hasn’t fully sunk in to Flacco that he’s headed to his first Super Bowl, the second in team history.

“I think we’re still on a little bit of a high from the game,” he said. “I don’t know if anybody quite believed it yet, but it’s pretty real.

“You have to enjoy it and you have to kind of get all the mayhem that is going to be involved with the game and getting people down to the game, all that stuff. You have to kind of get that stuff out of the way and take care of that first so that when you do focus on the 49ers, they have your full attention. I think that will be our main goal over the next day, get all that stuff out of the way, enjoy this one a little bit so when we start preparing for those guys, we can really go after it.”