Ravens D shows up huge to shut down Colts
At the very least, the Ravens know the return of Ray Lewis provides a psychological boost to a defense that is desperate to become whole again.
It worked against rookie quarterback Andrew Luck in a wild-card win vs. the Indianapolis Colts last weekend, but will it be enough to dethrone Peyton Manning and the No. 1 seed Denver Broncos?
And even more importantly, how did Lewis play in his first game since Oct. 14 when he tore his triceps tendon beyond his statistics?
The Ravens allowed Luck to amass 419 total yards, but he went 0-for-3 in the red zone as the Colts settled for three field goals in that 24-9 loss.
Lewis had 13 total tackles, 9 of them solo. He even had a chance at an interception when a deflected pass landed squarely in his arms but he couldn't quite hold on to the ball.
“He was physical at the point of attack. He did a good job in the pass game,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said after reviewing the film. “The crazy thing about the game was we were on the field for so many plays. Everybody on defense got a little tired toward the end there. They held up pretty well, but 87 plays is a lot of plays to only give up nine points.
“Ray probably felt that at the end a little bit just like the rest of the guys. Really nothing negative. He played a solid game.”
Lewis said after the game that he didn't feel any pain or weakness in his right arm, which was protected by a brace.
When he took the field at M&T Bank Stadium for the last time vs. the Colts, players became understandably emotional. Lewis, in his 17th season, is retiring at the end of the season.
But his return marks a turn for the better with a defense that has been battling injuries all season.
"Getting Haloti (Ngata) back healthy, Ray Lewis back healthy that's just fuel to our fire. It's just the beginning," Ravens defensive end Arthur Jones said.