Ravens blow off payback talk vs. Manning

Ravens blow off payback talk vs. Manning
January 7, 2013, 12:15 pm
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Ed Reed: Not about payback in Denver

The Ravens were struggling to stay in the game and avoid a blowout loss, but then Peyton Manning struck.

He hit Eric Decker, who fooled cornerback Cary Williams on a stop-and-go, and went 51 yards for a touchdown that gave the Denver Broncos a 24-3 lead midway through the third quarter in Week 15.

Ravens safety Ed Reed could be seen exasperated after Decker reached the end zone. Any chances the Ravens had of making a comeback were virtually gone as they eventually lost for the third time in a row 34-17.

Saturday, the teams meet again, though in Denver this time, for a second-round playoff game to determine who advances to the AFC championship. Including that win by Manning, he has beaten the Ravens nine consecutive times, with eight of them coming as the quarterback of the Indianapolis Colts.

The theme of payback doesn’t seem to be in the Ravens’ vocabulary.

“History means nothing,” Williams said. “I couldn’t care less about history. Right it’s about being the hottest team in the league right now. Whoever’s playing their best football at this time is usually the guys that win the Super Bowl. As far as I’m concerned, numbers don’t mean a damn thing to me.”

They have linebacker Ray Lewis back, who played his first game since Oct. 14 when he tore his triceps tendon. Lewis made 9 solo tackles for the Ravens in a 24-9 win Sunday vs. the Colts and rookie quarterback Andrew Luck in a wild-card playoff game.

They also should have a better Terrell Suggs, who re-injured his torn biceps against the Broncos and played a season-low 42 snaps. That was Suggs' first game back after sitting out the previous game with the injury. 

The NFL’s second-best red zone defense when it comes to keeping teams from scoring the touchdowns, the Colts went 0-for-3 and had to settle for three field goals.

The Ravens are indeed a different team than the one that was in disarray late in the regular season, losing four of their last five games. Without Lewis or Dannell Ellerbe, Josh Bynes, who is in his second season and began the year on the practice squad, filled in at middle linebacker against Manning.

Ellerbe, the Ravens' best defensive player all season, had a bad ankle that caused him to miss three consecutive games -- all losses. 

"It's no payback. We just got to go play ball," Ravens safety Bernard Pollard said. "That was the regular season."