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Who are these guys at QB in Super Bowl?


Who are these guys at QB in Super Bowl?

NEW ORLEANS (AP) No Tom Brady. No Aaron Rodgers. No Ben Roethlisberger. Not a Manning in sight.

Super Bowl has a pair of fresh faces at quarterback, bona fide nobodies as far as the NFL title game goes. One will leave New Orleans as football's newest star.

For Colin Kaepernick and Joe Flacco, this is new territory. And, of course, exactly where they want to be.

``To be AFC champs feels good,'' Flacco said Monday. ``We move on now to this challenge.''

Flacco, the only quarterback to win a playoff game in each of his first five NFL seasons, will lead the Baltimore Ravens into Sunday's matchup against the NFC-winning San Francisco 49ers and Kaepernick, a backup for most of his two seasons.

It's the first time in a decade that the big game doesn't feature one of the big five household names in the glamour position.

You can't get much fresher than quarterbacks who never have gotten this far before.

``At the start of the season, I was just hoping to get on the field some way, somehow,'' said Kaepernick, the backup for Alex Smith, who took the 49ers to the conference final last season.

He got that chance after Smith sustained a concussion on Nov. 11, and hasn't seen the bench since.

Win this one and he'll have a piece of history, joining a heady quarterback club that includes Hall of Famers Joe Montana and Steve Young, who guided the 49ers to five NFL titles - a victory every time they played. No. 6 would tie the team with Roethlisberger's Pittsburgh Steelers - a record for most Super Bowl wins.

A second-round draft pick in 2011 out of Nevada - not exactly Alabama - Kaepernick has the shortest pro resume of any Super Bowl quarterback. It's impressive, nonetheless. His legs (181 yards rushing against Green Bay, a record for the position) and his arm (105.9 passer rating in the postseason) are the main reasons San Francisco is in its first NFL title game in 18 years.

``Anybody that is out there on the football field, you want to see them produce and get results,'' left tackle Joe Staley said. ``With Colin, his first couple of starts, you did not know what to expect because we had not seen him out there as a starting quarterback. He did amazing and he has all season, as well as the playoffs. I think it was one of those things where we saw him in practice and we just wanted to see how he was going to handle the situation in the games. He has done that.''

Still, he's new to this environment and that hardly seems to faze Kaepernick.

``One thing I've always said about him from the start is he comes off as a guy that has a lot of confidence,'' said center Jonathan Goodwin, who won a Super Bowl snapping for Drew Brees and the Saints three years ago. ``I'm not just saying that. You can feel it by the way he acts and talks.''

Flacco has that air of certainty, too, but at least it's built on a more substantial foundation, including an 8-4 mark in the playoffs, with six road wins - the most for any quarterback, Montana and Young included. That goes for Baltimore's John Unitas, too.

Nobody is comparing Flacco to them just yet, except for the self-belief he brings to the job.

``You naturally become more of the guy when you spend a number of years in the league,'' he said at the Ravens' first Super Bowl news conference Monday. ``As a quarterback, it's my job to lead from Day 1.''

As a five-year starter, that's exactly what Flacco did after Baltimore drafted him out of Delaware - yep, not exactly Alabama.

As has become the custom in the NFL, Flacco represents the high draft pick who steps behind center early in his career and, usually, stays there. Both Mannings did it, as did Roethlisberger. Just this season, the top two picks in the draft, QBs Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, were anointed starters at the outset and played sensationally.

Now Flacco and Kaepernick try to join those big-name quarterbacks who own all those Super Bowl rings.

``We try to pass tests every day,'' Flacco said.

That's how you become a Super Bowl quarterback.


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Steve Smith Sr. and Jalen Ramsey talk trash both during and after game

Steve Smith Sr. and Jalen Ramsey talk trash both during and after game

Jaguars rookie cornerback Jalen Ramsey had plenty to say about Steve Smith Sr. following the Ravens' 19-17 win in Jacksonville

And of course, the Ravens’ fiery wide receiver fired back.

The Smith-Ramsey beef extended from the field, to the locker room, to social media following the Ravens’ 19-17 victory. Smith and Ramsey exchanged words on the field after the game before they were separated.


Then in the locker room, Ramsey had plenty to say, considering the Jaguars (0-3) lost, again, and that Smith had his best game of the season – eight catches for 87 yards.

Ramsey took jobs at Smith being 37 years old, among other things.  Asked why things got heated between him and Smith, Ramsey said, “I don’t know. Ask him. When you’ve been beating the opponent that’s in front of you both physically and psychologically all day, they tend to get mad like that. I don’t care how old he is. If that made him angry then he can go home and sleep on it. I don’t care. It is what it is.”

Asked if he was made that Smith talked to him after the game, Ramsey said, “Yeah, but I’m not worried about him. He was still mad that I was locking him up. Alright, well sleep on it. I’m not trying to hear that after the game.”

Did Ramsey think he got in Smith’s head?

“What do you think?” Ramsey said. “You tell me. Any time I lined up on him – y’all go watch that.  Y’all tell me who got in whose head. He came up to me after the game. He’s an old man acting like that.”

Smith’s retort on Twitter was classic Smith.

“I gave U every opportunity to speak face to face,” Smith wrote. “But you found your voice safely behind closed doors. Young man, I don’t need ur respect! In 5 to 10 u will be retiring and they will be taking my measurements for something you will NEVER BE #HOFer. I got cleats with stronger thread then you!!!”

Just think, Ramsey and Smith were almost teammates. The Ravens tried to trade up from No. 6 to No. 4 to draft Ramsey. But the Cowboys declined and took running back Ezekiel Elliott at No. 4. The Jaguars took Ramsey at No. 5 and the Ravens took left tackle Ronnie Stanley at No. 6.

Things worked out fine for the Ravens. They love Stanley. They love Smith.

They love being 3-0. And clearly, Smith still loves talking trash.



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Ravens vs. Jaguars Week 3 Report Card: Offense

Ravens vs. Jaguars Week 3 Report Card: Offense

It's time to hand out the report cards after the Ravens' 19-17 win at Jacksonville that gives the Ravens just the third 3-0 start in franchise history.

We begin with the offense, which managed just one touchdown and ranks 25th overall.



Joe Flacco carved up the Jaguars early, completing 21 straight passes at one point. A lot were high-percentage throws, but Flacco was smart enough to take what was there against a soft zone that gave a lot of room underneath.

In the second half, though, Flacco got badly out of rhythm, with several overthrows. He threw one interception where it was clear he and Dennis Pitta were not on the same page, and another when his arm was hit as he threw. Flacco did show some mobility on that surgically-repaired knee, running for a 7-yard score.

He finished 29-for-40 for 214 yards.


The running game continues to be one of the major issues of the young season.

Terrance West (10 carries, 45 yards) did manage a 15-yard run, the Ravens longest of the season, but Justin Forsett (7-20) showed no burst or elusiveness. Forsett caught six passes but totaled just 12 yards. First-down runs are leaving Ravens in second-and-long way too often. Buck Allen has been a healthy scratch in all three games. Is he worth a look at this point? Injured rookie Kenneth Dixon should be back soon and might provide a jolt, too.

Something needs to change.


The Ravens again couldn't establish a running game. Joe Flacco was sacked twice and hit four times, and pressure against Rick Wagner caused Flacco's arm to be hit on one throw that was intercepted.

Ronnie Stanley, who was called for two penalties, was beaten outside a few times. Marshal Yanda was flagged again.

That's officially three penalties this year on the Pro Bowl guard; he had four all of last season.


Dennis Pitta was again a key part of the offense, with six catches for 42 yards, but he and Flacco had some mixed signals on one interception; Pitta broke inside and Flacco's throw went outside. Crockett Gillmore played 30 snaps and was not targeted as a receiver.

For all the talk of Marc Trestman's offense embracing and highlighting the tight ends, Gillmore and No. 3 tight end Maxx Williams have been nonfactors so far.


Steve Smith found some room underneath and finished with eight catches for 87 yards, including a huge fourth-down conversion that kept the Ravens go-ahead drive alive in the fourth quarter.

Mike Wallace (3-34) couldn't haul in a potential touchdown catch, and Breshad Perriman dropped two passes in his hands. The Ravens tried both Wallace (5 yards) and Perriman (2 yards) as rushers on jet sweeps with middling results.

It was clear the Ravens were trying to get some spark for the running game, but that didn't really work, either.