Anquan Boldin seems like an almost forgotten weapon in the this offense, but even hes hopeful that Joe Flaccos place among the NFL's best quarterbacks is no longer up for debate.
Flacco engineered a fourth-quarter comeback against Captain Comeback, three-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady of the Patriots, Sunday night. Justin Tucker kicked the winning 27-yard field goal as time expired for the 31-30 victory at M&T Bank Stadium.
"A lot of people criticize Joe, and he's proven to people over and over again that he's an elite quarterback," said Boldin, who finished with four catches for 48 yards. "Me, personally, I'm tired of hearing people talk about it. Hopefully he'll put it behind him."
That's because after falling behind 13-0 in the first quarter -- New England's first touchdown was set up by Flacco's ill-advised throw to Dennis Pitta in traffic -- and seemingly every call in the fourth quarter going against the Ravens, Flacco still found a way.
He withstood Bernard Pierce being dropped for a one-yard loss on fourth-and-1 in Patriots territory with 10:56 left in the game. Flacco overcame a 10-yard penalty on guard Marshal Yanda that almost stalled a drive and threw a five-yard strike to Torrey Smith to bring the Ravens to 30-23 with 4:08 remaining. Smith finished with six catches for 127 yards and two touchdowns less than 24 hours after his younger brother was killed in a motorcycle crash.
"We scored here, had a couple lulls. I think we did a good job from the second quarter on," Flacco said. "Even in the second half, a couple of possessions we didn't score, we hurt ourselves."
On the final drive, Flacco completed a 24-yard pass to Jacoby Jones and then 17 yards to Pitta. After an incompletion to Boldin, Jones drew a pass interference call on Devin McCourty that put the ball on New England's 7.
From there, Flacco milked the clock until two seconds remained for Tucker to ice it.
"I don't think we're ever out of any game," said running back Ray Rice, who had 101 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries. " I think that our defense trusts us now. They did the job. They got Brady stopped and got us the ball."
It was the first time in seven regular season games that the Ravens beat the Patriots. What happened in the AFC title game last year mattered to linebacker Ray Lewis. Then-receiver Lee Evans couldn't hold on to a touchdown pass that could've won the game and then-kicker Billy Cundiff missed a 32-yarder that would've tied it.
"This was the same team that stopped us, dropped pass, field goal, whatever. To win the way we did I just take my hat off to my team," Lewis said.
The Ravens avoided talk of revenge all week, but Lardarius Webb admitted that some players had it on their minds.
"In a way you say it's not redemption, but in the back of your head it's like, 'Let's get these guys. We're tired of them coming out on top in our house.' It was a nice victory," Webb said. "But we'll see them again."