Ravens inspired to win by Lewis
It's an old cliche but one that fits perfectly when describing how the Ravens' defense played on Sunday.
They bent but didn't break.
Indianapolis posted 25 first downs, finished with 419 yards of total offense and had possession for 15 minutes longer than the Ravens in the AFC Wild Card battle. But the Baltimore defense stiffened at the right times, a big reason the Ravens came away with a 24-9 victory over the Colts at M&T Bank Stadium.
Rookie quarterback Andrew Luck completed 28 of 54 passes for 288 yards, and the Colts ran for 152 yards. Plus, they had possession for 37:32, compared to the Ravens' 22:28. However, despite all those positives, the Colts couldn't score a touchdown in any of their three trips inside the red zone. The Ravens did a lot better, going 3-for-5 in the red zone.
"We had opportunities, we just didn't capitalize on them," Colts coach Chuck Pagano said in his post-game press conference. "In this environment, with that crowd, the noise and everything else, and as good as that defense is, it's hard to sustain drives. We moved the ball, we did some great things, but we weren't able to get the chunk plays and capitalize, like I said, in some situations."
The Ravens were very fired up since linebacker Ray Lewis announced earlier in the week that he'll retire after this season, and this wound up officially being his last home game. Lewis stepped up in a huge way, leading the Ravens with 13 tackles.
Lewis had been out since mid-October with a torn triceps injury, said he was thrilled just to be back. The Ravens were happy to have him.
"I give all the credit to a bunch of people that I've seen, a bunch of doctors and a bunch of treatments that I've done," Lewis said in his post-game press conference. "To be back here is probably just one of the most amazing things ever for me."
In the end, the Ravens' play in the red zone might have been the difference. They held the Colts to field goals in their three trips inside the Baltimore 20. That let the Ravens stay in front and eventually in control.
"In the red zone, we stepped it up quite a bit, which was huge," Ravens safety Ed Reed said. "We kept them out of the end zone. If we can do that for the entire playoffs, we will be in New Orleans."