Boldin: "We wanted to send Ray off right"
Ravens 24, Colts 9
The somewhat unthinkable happened in Ray Lewis’ final home game of his 17-year career.
Joe Flacco only completed 12 passes and Ray Rice lost two fumbles, but the defense -- bruised, battered and vulnerable all season -- held off the Colts for three quarters, allowing the offense to deliver the knockout punch in the fourth.
It was far from pretty, but in Lewis’ first game back since tearing his right triceps Oct. 14 he quarterbacked a defense that kept the Colts out of the end zone despite the miscues and harassed rookie quarterback Andrew Luck with three sacks and several batted passes.
He wore a brace on his arm and played almost every snap in recording 13 tackles, including 9 solo.
The Ravens advance to play at the Denver Broncos (13-3) on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. ET. The Broncos routed the Ravens 34-17 in Week 15 in Baltimore.
Flacco went 12-for-23 for 282 yards and 2 TDs.
Boldin set a franchise record for receiving yards in the postseason, finishing with 5 catches for 145 yards and 1 TD.
His scoring catch from 18 yards in the fourth quarter, set up by a 43-yard run from Bernard Pierce, ended any hopes of a late comeback from Luck.
Pierce had 103 yards on 13 carries. Rice, who lost two fumbles in Colts territory after not losing the ball all season, had 15 carries for 70 yards.
After chants of "We Want Ray," Lewis trotted out on the field for the last play of the game on offense as Flacco took a knee. He did his "squirrel" dance one last time and then did a victory lap.
Player of the game: LB Paul Kruger set the tone while the offense had to get on track. He had 2.5 sacks, had 5 hits on Luck and forced him to fumble twice as he was unblockable off the edge. Kruger also defensed a pass and helped keep the Colts playing from behind.
Turning point: With 2:18 left in the first half, Flacco stood his ground against the blitz, hit Rice on a middle screen and he took it 47 yards to the Colts’ 2. FB Vonta Leach punched it in on the next play for a 10-3 lead they'd never lose.
Opportunity dropped: In the second quarter, Lewis had a pass from Luck fall into his hands after it was tipped by DT Haloti Ngata at the line of scrimmage. It floated in the air and Lewis had no one around him and could’ve made a run for the end zone.
Major shift: LT Bryant McKinnie said he expected to get his old starting job back. After 16 regular-season games he did. With LG Jah Reid (toe) inactive, McKinnie got his job back after losing it going into Week 1. McKinnie was put back in his old spot, Michael Oher moved back to right tackle and rookie Kelechi Osemele, who had been the right tackle all season, moved into Reid’s spot at left guard.
Makeup play: Luck was able to fight off a sack attempt by Kruger and DeAngelo Tyson who had him in their grasp, and S Ed Reed failed to come up with the interception as he tossed an errant pass to TE Coby Fleener. But Kruger made up for it quickly. The Ravens’ sack leader got another one, forcing Luck to fumble as DE Pernell McPhee recovered.
Empty-handed: Tandon Doss has been featured more in the offense under Jim Caldwell, but he didn’t come up with crucial catches on a second-quarter drive. Pierce ran 4 times for 31 yards to get the Ravens to the 5, but Doss had two passes hit his hands and fall for incompletions. They weren’t easy catches, but the second one clanked off his mitts as they settled for a 23-yard FG from Justin Tucker. The Ravens began the third quarter with a drive into Colts territory, but Doss had a 3rd-and-18 pass deflect off his hands and go incomplete that would’ve been a first down. Doss finished without a catch.
Unsung: Smith didn’t impact the game much by making big plays, but he helped his teammates do so. Smith sealed Colts CB Cassius Vaughn that helped Rice get to the 2 for Leach's eventual touchdown. Then on Pitta’s catch and run, Smith pinned down Vaughn again to clear the path to the end zone. Smith finished with 2 catches for 31 yards.