BALTIMORE, Md.–Ray Lewis took the field with the offense’s victory formation lineup and did his famous dance for the last time at home as the game clock expired as the Baltimore Ravens beat the Indianapolis Colts, 24-9, in the AFC wildcard game on Jan. 6 at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Md.
It was the last time Lewis will play in front of Ravens fans in Baltimore as he announced last week that he plans to retire following the Ravens’ run in the postseason.
Lewis said after the game that he couldn’t have thought of a better finish to his 17-year career in Baltimore as he helped hold the Colts’ offense to only nine points scored on all field goals, no touchdowns allowed.
With the defense controlling the game, the Ravens’ offense was then able to build a comfortable lead and maintain it, becoming the only team in the National Football League (NFL) to win a playoff game in each of the past five seasons.
Most Outstanding Player(s) of the Game:
No one can steal today’s spotlight from Ray Lewis, arguably the greatest linebacker in the history of the game. He led the game with 13 tackles, nine made solo and almost intercepted a pass early in the game. It was the first action for Ray since tearing his triceps earlier in the season so he wore a brace on his arm. The brace didn’t slow him down, however, as he pushed the Colts’ offense around in the Ravens’ dominance in this wildcard victory.
On offense, it was veteran receiver Anquan Boldin who stood out, hauling in five passes for 145 yards and a 18-yard touchdown that delivered the dagger into the Colts’ defense. Boldin caught everything that Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco threw to him. Flacco finished the game 12-for-23 for 282 yards, two touchdowns and a 125.6 passer rating.
Unsung Hero of the Game:
The Ravens ran the ball very well on offense, but it wasn’t because of star running back Ray Rice, who usually gets all of the offensive credit. Rice fumbled the ball twice, ending potential scoring drives for the Ravens. But while Rice wasn’t at his best, rookie running back Bernard Pierce was more than enough in compensation, rushing for 103 yards on 13 carries, averaging a whopping 7.9 yards per carry. Rice added another 70 yards rushing on 15 carries.
More Game Notes:
The Ravens defense really got after Colts rookie quarterback Andrew Luck, who completed 28-of-54 passes for 288 yards, zero touchdowns, one interception and a poor 59.8 passer rating. Luck mainly targeted veteran receiver Reggie Wayne, who caught nine passes for 114 yards. Colts running back Vick Ballard had a productive day, however, with 91 yards on 22 carries.
Following Ray Lewis in tackles was Ravens cornerback Cary Williams with 10. Williams also intercepted a pass and ran it back 20 yards to help seal the victory.
It was an emotional win for die-hard Ravens fans, especially the ones that have watched this team play since its first year of existence in 1996. Ray Lewis delivered Baltimore its only Super Bowl back in 2000, so to see him win his last home game is the perfect way to see him leave. It will be hard to watch the Ravens next season without him but at least fans can look back on his last hurrah and smile at how it all turned out.
The Ravens will travel to Denver, Colo. next weekend to face Peyton Manning and the Broncos in the divisional round of the AFC playoffs.
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