Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco notched his first playoff win against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Saturday night, and he did so with play usually seen from Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
With four minutes left in the third quarter, Flacco kept the play alive by breaking out of the pocket and finding wide receiver Torrey Smith in the back of the end zone for an 11-yard touchdown to put the Ravens up 20-9.
The Ravens, who have spent many years watching Roethlisberger elude their grasp, enjoyed that the situation was reserved this time around.
"The thing that’s tough to defend against the [Steelers] offense we’re playing against is extended plays," coach John Harbaugh said. "Joe has really developed over the last couple of years."
Both of Flacco's touchdowns on Saturday were thrown when he was outside the pocket. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Flacco had one passing touchdown outside the pocket during the regular season.
He was also just 1-for-7 when under duress, but that one completion was the touchdown to Smith. Flacco was initially looking for tight end Owen Daniels on the right side, and the Steelers had him double-covered. That's when Flacco had to improvise.
"I felt a guy [the Steelers' James Harrison] brush his hands over my back and then I escaped left," Flacco said. "I just happened to see Torrey Smith kind of put his hand out in the back of the end zone. I kind of gave him the ball."
This was similar to a play in the first half, when Flacco rolled to his left and had a pass tipped before it got to wide receiver Marlon Brown in the end zone. In the third quarter, Flacco moved to his left again but had more time to get the ball to Smith."It just happened to be one of those things that worked out," Flacco said.