John Eisenberg: The Ravens relied on big offensive plays and a “bend but don’t break” defense to make Ray Lewis’ final home game a happy occasion. They let Indianapolis dominate time of possession and made enough mistakes, specifically two Ray Rice fumbles, to lose the game, but they offset all that with a big-strike offense. Rice ran 43 yards with a screen pass to set up one touchdown. Anquan Boldin caught a 50-yarder to set up another. A 43-yard run by Bernard Pierce set up the knockout-blow touchdown in the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, the defense kept Andrew Luck and the Colts’ offense out of the end zone. Paul Kruger had a monster game and the whole unit fed off the emotion of having Lewis, who was beaten some in coverage but ended with a team-high tackle total, a fitting stat. It’s the fifth year in a row the Ravens have won at least one playoff game, and they get a trip to Denver for a game with the top-seeded Broncos as their reward.
Ryan Mink: The Ravens defense is back now that Ray Lewis is in the middle. The unit played inspired football in its general’s final career game at M&T Bank Stadium, keeping the Colts out of the end zone the entire day. The defensive effort was enough to keep the Colts at bay while the offense made too many mistakes and missed too many opportunities. Running back Ray Rice’s two lost fumbles could have hurt badly, but they didn’t. Joe Flacco had a tough first half, but rebounded with a strong effort in the second in large part thanks to veteran Anquan Boldin, who, by the way, also badly wants a Lombardi Trophy as his career winds down. Boldin was a beast all day long. So was outside linebacker Paul Kruger, who had 2.5 sacks and nearly a couple more. People aren’t going to give the Ravens much of a chance in Denver. But if the defense keeps playing like this and the offense can continue to make plays, then why not?
Garrett Downing: In Ray Lewis’ final game at M&T Bank Stadium, the Ravens played inspired football. They outplayed the Colts on both sides of the ball and were able to take down Indianapolis 24-9. The game had the feel of an old-school Ravens contest, as the defense kept the Colts out of the end zone and had pressure on quarterback Andrew Luck all day. Offensively, the game ball goes to wide receiver Anquan Boldin, who had a team playoff record 145 receiving yards on the day. He simply took over in the second half and was in rhythm with quarterback Joe Flacco. With the win, the Ravens continued their streak of winning at least one playoff game a season under Head Coach John Harbaugh, making the Ravens the only team in the NFL to win a playoff game in each of the last five years. That’s an accomplishment. Next up for the Ravens is a trip to Denver, as they will look to take down one of the hottest teams in the NFL.
Sarah Ellison: Ray Lewis brought the emotion. Paul Kruger was the defensive player of the game. Anquan Boldin was the team’s MVP. Corey Graham and Cary Williams provided the final nail for the coffin. What a game! Regardless of what happens the rest of the way, this game was a special treat that Baltimore will remember for years to come. Just to see Ray, Reed, Suggs and Ngata play together for the first time this season was perfect for Ravens fans. Lewis’ captivating final dance and the standing ovation as he came off the field was capped off by a convincing win. There was magic in the air from start to finish, and the Ravens will look to take that magic into Denver next Saturday. Anything could happen.