Lewis, Boldin lead Ravens past Colts
BALTIMORE — The Ravens want one long final ride for Ray Lewis. Having disposed of Andrew Luck and the Colts, they now face a more imposing challenge.
Next up, Peyton Manning and the Broncos.
Anquan Boldin set a franchise record with 145 yards receiving, including the clinching touchdown in Baltimore's 24-9 victory Sunday over Indianapolis in an AFC wild-card game. The win delays star linebacker Lewis' retirement for at least another week as Baltimore (11-6) heads to top-seeded Denver (13-3) next Saturday.
The Broncos beat the Ravens, 34-17, three weeks ago.
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.
He followed with a victory lap, his right arm, covered by a brace, held high in salute to the fans after playing for the first time since tearing his right triceps on Oct. 14 against Dallas.
“My only focus was to come in and get my team a win. Nothing else was planned,” the 37-year-old Lewis said. “It's one of those things, when you recap it all and try to say what is one of your greatest moments.”
He would like nothing more than to change past results against Manning, who was 2-0 in the postseason against Baltimore while with the Colts.
“It's on to the next one,” the 17-year veteran said. “We saw them earlier in the year and now we get them back again, but with all of our guns back.”
The loss ended the Colts' turnaround season in which they went from 2-14 to the playoffs in coach Chuck Pagano's first year in Indianapolis (11-6).
Sunday's victory enhanced the Ravens' success rate in opening playoff games. 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 on a floater from Flacco in the corner of the end zone with 9:14 to go.