The Ravens held on down the stretch though, with two short field goals by rookie Justin Tucker padding the lead, and the Lewis-led defense stopping the 49ers on a fourth-and-goal at the 5.
“I was sitting there thinking, ‘There’s no way. There’s no way we stop them here,’” Flacco said. “But we did.”
Neither Flacco nor his team appeared to be ready to take on all comers as the regular season concluded.
After all, the Ravens lost four of their final games to stumble into the playoffs.
And Flacco, a fifth-year pro, finished only 12th in the 32-team NFL in passer rating at a merely passable 87.7 — way behind league leader Aaron Rodgers’ 108.0 — while compiling 22 touchdown passes and 10 interceptions.
Middle-of-the-pack, to say the least.
But he and his team definitely did shine when the results mattered most.
“I tell you what: We don’t make it easy,” Flacco said. “But that’s the way the city of Baltimore is. That’s the way we are.”
He simply becomes a different player in the playoffs. He set an NFL record for quarterbacks by leading his team to playoff wins in each of his first five seasons. He is 9-4 overall in the postseason.
His contract is up now. And he could wind up with one of the biggest deals in NFL history, perhaps commanding somewhere in the neighborhood of $20 million a year.
The rest of the world wasn’t really certain, either.
Flacco delivered quite an answer Sunday.
“He’s taken a lot of criticism over his career, for whatever reason,” Pitta said. “But we’ve always believed in him. We’ve known the kind of player that he is. He’s showed up on the biggest stage and performed.”