Myles Garrett keeps the all-time great Joe Flacco joke alive

After all these years, Joe Flacco is still..."elite"

Cleveland Browns, Joe Flacco
Cleveland Browns, Joe Flacco / Jason Miller/GettyImages
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The Cleveland Browns were big winners yet again in Week 14, getting a massive home victory against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Even though Trevor Lawrence was playing on a bad ankle, the Jags aren't getting any sympathy from the Cleveland Browns, who have dealt with one quarterback injury after another in the 2023 season. That path has led them to where we are today, which is with Joe Flacco putting on a vintage performance and leading the Browns to a win with major playoff implications.

Throughout the course of his NFL career, Flacco has proven himself to have a little bit of the clutch gene, hasn't he?

Of course, Browns fans remember Flacco most for his time spent with the Baltimore Ravens, where he won a Super Bowl in 2012. And that run he went on in the 2012 playoffs was bordering on legendary, and resulted in one of the most hilarious debates in modern NFL history: Whether or not Joe Flacco is elite...

Of course, I don't know that many people ever truly believed Joe Flacco to be elite, but he did have some stretches of brilliance in his career. And certainly no one expected Flacco to play as well as he has for the Cleveland Browns. He threw for over 300 yards and three touchdowns against the Jaguars and earned himself the starting gig for the remainder of the season.

As far as Browns superstar pass rusher Myles Garrett is concerned, there's only one way to describe the grizzled veteran Flacco:

"He's elite."
– Myles Garrett on Joe Flacco

No Browns quarterback -- Deshaun Watson, PJ Walker, or Dorian Thompson-Robinson -- has thrown for more yards in a game this season than Flacco's 311 against the Jaguars. Flacco's play has really rejuvenated Cleveland's passing game and even though he sort of came "off the couch", he's thrown five touchdowns in his first two games under Kevin Stefanski.

The marriage between Flacco and Stefanski has some intriguing roots. Although Flacco never really consistently played at an "elite" level, he had the best year of his NFL career back in 2014 under Gary Kubiak, who was the offensive coordinator in Baltimore for a season. That 2014 campaign is really a standout for Flacco and although it was almost 10 years ago, it's a connection that might be helping Flacco have such quick success in Cleveland.

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Kevin Stefanski was passed over for the Browns' head coaching gig in 2019 for Freddie Kitchens and ended up spending a year in Minnesota with Gary Kubiak before getting hired by the Browns in 2020. Even if there's just a little carryover, it's obviously a system that works great for Flacco's strengths and weaknesses. Who knows, perhaps Stefanski even reached out to Kubiak before making the move to add Flacco.

Whatever led to this point, it's working for the Browns, who continue to be one of the most resilient teams in the league. Is Joe Flacco elite? He was on Sunday, and that's all that matters.

Next. 10 biggest what-ifs in Cleveland Browns history. 10 biggest what-ifs in Cleveland Browns history. dark