Reporting Jerry Coleman
Ray Lewis last home game at M&T Bank Stadium was certainly something special. The crowd was electric. He made his final entrance coming out of the tunnel with his legendary dance that made the fans erupt. It was a table setter for what was a wonderful game and a special day for Baltimore, the Ravens and Lewis.
More importantly, with a 24-9 victory over the Colts, their first ever in the post-season, the “Purple and Black “ will look to take down Peyton Manning next week. Wide Receiver Anquin Boldin set a franchise record with 145 yards receiving, including the clinching touchdown. The win delays the star linebacker s’ retirement for at least another week as Baltimore (11-6) heads to top-seeded Denver (13-3) next Saturday. Lewis, who made 13 tackles Sunday, ended his last home game in Baltimore at fullback, of all things, for the final kneel-down. He then went into a short version of his trademark dance before being mobbed by teammates.
The Ravens overcame two lost fumbles by Ray Rice, which were the first of the season by any Baltimore running back. Meantime, John Harbaugh became the only head coach in the Super Bowl era with wins in his first five playoff seasons with the team. Now comes the Broncos again, Lewis said after the game, “That’s easy. I’ve already turned my iPad in to get Denver film now. It’s onto the next one. That’s one thing about being in this business so long. I told them, ‘We don’t have the 24-hour rule now. We have a less-than-12-hour rule,’ because we are back to work. We knew who we have next week. Denver is going to be well-rested. We saw them earlier in the year, but now we get them again with all of our guys back. We are really looking forward to it.” Expect nothing less from a 17-year veteran.
It was a great day in the city of Baltimore, something that players and fans will never forget and the victory only enhanced the situation . Afterwards, Lewis commented on his “Ripken like” victory lap after the game, “In the moment. I had nothing planned today at all. My total focus today was to come in and play my heart out and get my team a win. Everything else just came with it. Everything just came with it. There was probably no greater moment than seeing my kids, my mom, my dad, my family right there in the end of the end zone. That was probably when I lost it emotionally, because I knew that everything I have always done has always been for them.” It was a team effort in the win and Joe Flacco now has won at least one postseason game in all five of his pro seasons, the only quarterback to do it in the Super Bowl era. His main target Sunday was Boldin, who had receptions of 50 and 46 yards, plus his 18-yard TD.
And with this being Ray Lewis last home game as a Raven he said, “It probably won’t. It probably won’t sink in. You know what, the reason why it probably won’t is because it’s probably the last thing on my mind right now. Seriously, because the next thing on my mind is, as a team, we are poised to go do something. Whenever the road stops – ultimately God’s will is God’s will. As men, we made a commitment to each other, and that is to next week head to Denver to get a win.” So the journey resumes.