Game 3: Flacco guides Ravens to 24-17 win over Browns
If nothing else, the Ravens' jubilant homecoming proved Joe Flacco doesn't fold under pressure.

Not after a week of criticism. Not after losing his star running back. Not in the face of an all-out blitz in the fourth quarter.

Throwing three touchdowns to wide receiver Anquan Boldin, the strong-willed quarterback lifted the Ravens to a 24-17 comeback victory over the winless Cleveland Browns at M&T Bank Stadium and lived up to the sellout crowd's high expectations of him.

Last week, Flacco shouldered most of the blame after throwing a career-worst four interceptions in a loss at Cincinnati. At Sunday's home opener, he deserved most of the praise after bringing the Ravens back and bailing out a surprisingly poor run defense.

So what does this rebound performance say about Flacco?

"It says he's the kind of guy you want playing quarterback for you," coach John Harbaugh said. "I don't think there's a guy in the building that doubted that for one second."

For those wanting to bench Flacco, he delivered a decisive counter-argument against the Browns (0-3).

He made quick decisions. He stepped into his throws. The result: 22 of 31 passing (71percent) for 262 yards and a 128.7 quarterback rating (the second best of his career).

It allowed the Ravens (2-1) to keep pace with the Pittsburgh Steelers (3-0), who lead the AFC North by one game.

"Obviously, you're happier this week than you were last week," Flacco said in his usual understated fashion.

Last week, Flacco had two opportunities to deliver a fourth-quarter comeback. Both led to punch-in-the-gut interceptions.

This time, when the Ravens fell behind 17-14 in the fourth, Flacco responded immediately by completing six straight passes for 78 yards in a drive filled with its share of hurdles.

The Ravens took a serious blow when running back Ray Rice left the game with a sprained knee after a 4-yard catch. But one play later, Flacco stared down an all-out blitz on third-and-5 -- seven Browns crashing upon him -- and hit Boldin for a 27-yard touchdown.

Their third scoring connection of the game put the Ravens up for good at 21-17 with 9:13 left and spurred a rare display of emotion from Flacco, who ran down to the end zone to celebrate with Boldin.

"That was a big-time play," Harbaugh said. "When you talk about a guy making progress in his third year, I think it showed up right there."

Rice's status for Sunday's game at Pittsburgh is unknown. Rice doesn't have ligament damage, according Harbaugh.

"I'll take some tests on Monday," Rice said, "but everything looks positive right now."

The way Flacco responded to adversity drew loud cheers from the crowd -- an announced 71,119 -- but few shocked looks.

He had thrown more than three interceptions in a game twice previously in the regular season, and both times he produced a quarterback rating higher than 120 in the next game. In many ways, this was status quo for the 2008 first-round pick.