Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports
The Ravens' deep ball offense broke out in the second half thanks to Joe Flacco and Anquan Boldin
Ray Lewis' final game at M&T Bank Stadium was a memorable one as the Baltimore Ravens beat the Indianapolis Colts by a score of 24-9 in Sunday's Wild Card matchup. It was a game of staunch defense, middling quarterback play and too many fumbles in the first half, followed by a second half that saw the Ravens' big play offense prove to be too much.
The first half made Sunday's game have all the trappings of a game set to come down to the wire. The Ravens carried a four-point lead into the half, and their only touchdown came on the back of a Vonta Leach goalline score. Both team's defenses looked to have their opposition's number, as both Joe Flacco and Andrew Luck were under pressure for much of the first two quarters, struggling with their accuracy.
Returning to the field for the second half, Flacco came alive. In the first five minutes of the third quarter he threw for more yards than he did in the entire first half. A deep completion to Anquan Boldin helped set up a 20-yard strike to Dennis Pitta for the score. From that point, Baltimore was able to sit on its lead, continuing to rely on a strong pass rush and connecting on deep passes.
Lewis was the game's defensive standout, as he's been so many times before. The game's leading tackler, Lewis finished with 13, and was seen pumping up the crowd by dancing on the sideline when it looked like the game was out of reach late in the fourth quarter.
Luck was given plenty of opportunities to throw, attempting 54 passes, but the Colts' inability to throw deep hurt them as the game progressed. Indianapolis's longest completion of the day was a 25-yard pass to T.Y. Hilton on a short throw where the rookie receiver made members of the Ravens' defense miss. They moved the ball well, but the lack of big plays on offense forced the Colts to settle for too many field goal attempts.
A Luck pick-six by Corey Graham in the final five minutes of the game sealed the victory for Baltimore, leading to Lewis leaving his home field for the final time, but in a celebratory mood as the veteran and his Ravens are moving on in the 2012-13 playoffs.
Box Score Hero: Boldin was sensational with 145 receiving yards. It only took 5 receptions for him to damage the Colts, catching deep passes of 46 and 50 yards and capping off his day with an 18-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach.
Injury report: Leach was banged up early in the second half, but quickly returned to the field and neither team had any significant injuries.
Did they cover? Baltimore was favored by 7.5 points, according to OddsShark. Their 15-point victory meant they easily covered.
Next: Away from the safety of home, Lewis will need to motivate his team in hostile territory as the Baltimore Ravens travel to Denver to face Peyton Manning and the Broncos. The teams met in week 15, when Denver had the Ravens' number, beating them comfortably by a score of 34-17.