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SUNDAY NIGHT SPOTLIGHT

Baltimore's Flacco has confident air

Say this for Joe Flacco: You might knock him down, but you're not going to bring him down -- as in, snap his spirit.

November 28, 2009

Say this for Joe Flacco: You might knock him down, but you're not going to bring him down -- as in, snap his spirit.

Even after the longest dry spell of his NFL career, three consecutive games without a touchdown pass, the Baltimore quarterback is still supremely confident heading into tonight's game against Pittsburgh, a team that beat the Ravens three times last season.

"We feel good, and what better game to do it than against these guys?" Flacco said. "We feel confident that we're going to go out there and score touchdowns, and when you don't, it's disappointing. We've got to do whatever we can do to fix that, and I think we're on our way to getting the job done."

Flacco, in particular, has struggled against the Steelers. His passer rating dropped with each loss to them last season -- from 81.7 to 22.2 to 18.2 -- and he was sacked 10 times and his passes intercepted five times.

This year's Steelers are ranked first overall, first against the run and 12th against the pass. Pittsburgh is looking to stop a two-game slide but will have to do so without quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, sidelined because of a concussion.

Baltimore has lost five of seven after a 3-0 start, and needs to win tonight to maintain realistic hope of reaching the postseason as a wild-card team. Getting their offense on track is key. In their first three games, they scored 38, 31 and 34 points. In their last three, it was seven, 16 and 15.

The Ravens' five losses this season have been by an average of 4.6 points. Flacco is hoping his team can finally win one of those nail-biters.

"Eventually, we're going to have to learn from those situations," he said. "I think this game coming up and the six games we have left . . . all those tight games are going to help us fight through those situations if they present themselves again."

-- Sam Farmer

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