- Joe Flacco
- Baltimore Ravens
- Ravens 31, Patriots 30
- 28-for-39, 382 YD, 3 TD, 1 INT
- Watch Highlights
- Matt Schaub
- Houston Texans
- Texans 31, Broncos 25
- 17-for-30, 290 YD, 4 TD, 1 INT
- Watch Highlights
The Pregame Pressure
Flacco had a subpar performance in the Baltimore Ravens' Week 2 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. He barely completed 50 percent of his passes while coughing up an interception and a fumble. He would need to play much better for the Ravens to defeat a New England Patriots team led by Tom Brady in a rematch of last year's AFC Championship Game. Like the Patriots, the Ravens were facing heavy pressure to avoid a 1-2 start to the 2012 campaign. Baltimore's defense had struggled to play up to its usual high standard, placing an even heavier burden on Flacco.
Schaub and the Houston Texans cruised to easy victories over the Miami Dolphins and Jacksonville Jaguars to start the 2012 season. The competition would get much tougher in Week 3 with a visit to the Denver Broncos. Denver boasts a very talented roster led by a familiar Texans adversary, Peyton Manning. Coming into Sunday's game, the Texans had defeated Manning just twice in 18 tries. Schaub would need to play at his best to ensure the Texans left the Mile High City with a win.
The In-Game Performance
Flacco didn't get off to a great start Sunday night. His first three drives resulted in two punts and an interception. However, he then found his rhythm, leading the Ravens to touchdowns on each of their next three drives. He made several beautiful touch throws from inside the pocket and also showed off his arm by squeezing a few balls into very tight windows. After his early hiccups, he did an excellent job protecting the football and making good decisions. He led two fourth-quarter scoring drives, including the final drive, which culminated in Justin Tucker's 27-yard field goal as time expired.
Schaub also got off to a rough start on Sunday afternoon. His very first snap of the game resulted in a safety for the Broncos defense. However, just like Flacco, he caught fire following that early mishap. Schaub threw touchdown passes on each of his next three possessions, including two scoring strikes of over 50 yards. Both long touchdown throws resulted from beautiful play-action fakes, as well as Schaub's incredible anticipation and pinpoint accuracy. Schaub also showed his toughness by sitting out for just one play after having part of his ear ripped off during a devastating third-quarter hit. A clutch third-down connection with Andre Johnson late in the fourth quarter helped seal the win for the Texans.
The Post-Game Pick
It's tough to go wrong with either of these talented quarterbacks, but I'm going to give Schaub the nod for having the better Week 3 performance. Flacco had more passing yards (382 to Schaub's 290), but Schaub tossed one more touchdown pass (four) and made more spectacular plays to help his team win. If Johnson hadn't dropped two beautifully thrown deep balls, Schaub's day would've been even more spectacular. I also have to give Schaub credit for winning on the road and showing the toughness to withstand the physical beating he took from Denver's defense. -- Daniel Jeremiah