Videos: Ray Lewis's real last dance will be in Ravens' loss to Broncos on Saturday
Now we know who the Broncos will face in their 2013 playoffs debut: the Baltimore Ravens, by dint of the squad's 24-9 win over the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. So...will the emotion from Ray Lewis's final home game (depicted in videos included in a big collection of clips below) help the Ravens defeat a squad that destroyed them in a December road game? Short answer: No.
The Ravens' margin of victory over the Colts suggests a blowout, but that's not how the game played out. Indianapolis rookie Andrew Luck looked like one for much of the contest, repeatedly getting away with passes that should have been intercepted -- including one heaved directly to Lewis, who should have been able to haul it in even with an enormous brace on his arm necessitated by the triceps injury that's kept him out on the shelf for the past several weeks. Yet Indy stayed close through the first half and well into the third quarter thanks to Baltimore's inability to cash in on loads of opportunities.
Granted, a Baltimore turnover that put the kibosh on a drive into the red-zone was based on a blown call that couldn't be reviewed under the NFL's increasingly arcane rules. But Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco hardly looked like the elite hurler he claims to be, and running back Ray Rice matched an ordinary performance with an unexpected case of fumble-itis.
Fortunately for Baltimore, the Colts' secondary is the very definition of mediocrity, and the mighty Anquan Boldin took advantage, turning several unimpressive Flacco heaves into big gainers and applying the dagger in the fourth quarter with a touchdown catch in which he snared both the ball and defender Darius Butler's entire arm.
Unsurprisingly, these achievements were overshadowed by Lewis, a surefire Hall of Famer whose announced retirement at season's end transformed the contest into his final home performance. He took advantage via an extended version of his trademark out-of-the-tunnel dance that he reprised in the waning seconds -- and the fact that he took part in more than a dozen tackles in between these displays more than justified them.
Don't expect to see a similar performance on Saturday in Denver, though.
Continue for more about the Broncos-Ravens match-up, including eight videos.