Ray Lewis vs. Peyton Manning One Last Time


Ray Lewis was still cutting the tape off his cleats in the locker room following last Sunday's game when he handed his iPad to a team staff member.

He asked for tape of Peyton Manning and the Broncos – ASAP.

Saturday's game will mark the final installment of the battle of brains between two of the game's most intense students.

"It's just two people who understand the game very well," Lewis said. "Offensively, he understands what things he wants to see. And defensively, we understand what things we don't want him to see. That's where the chess match comes in.

"We're back to one of those classic games again."

Lewis has been in the NFL since 1996. Manning arrived two years later.

Since then, they have built two of the most legendary resumes in league history. While Lewis' story is coming to a close, Manning added a new chapter this year when he returned from multiple neck surgeries and a year off to sign with Denver.

The two have clashed 11 times over their careers, including three times in the playoffs.

Manning has won the last seven games (including two in the playoffs) in which both players have been on the field. Lewis has sacked Manning only twice and has never intercepted him.

Manning has a passer rating of 96.8 in the two players' last seven meetings, but the quarterback fell short of 300 yards passing in each game during that stretch.

Part of the reason why the Ravens have been able to keep a lid on Manning is because of the mental challenge Lewis poses.

Manning will come to the line of scrimmage, point out the Ravens' potential blitzers and identify their alignment. On the other side, Lewis will listen for what Manning is saying and direct his troops accordingly, sometimes changing the defense's approach.

It's a game of cat and mouse that has been going on for years. But it's one Manning wasn't too interested in talking about this time around.

When asked if he could describe the chess matches between the two players, Manning simply said, "No, probably not."

Lewis explained it a little bit more, but neither competitor wanted to tip their hand.

"You give him what he wants, he beats you," Lewis said. "You give him what he doesn't want, then you beat him. I think that's the way the game always plays out against us every time we play each other."

Overall, Lewis and Manning downplayed their final meeting.

"It's not about facing Peyton; it's about facing the Denver Broncos," Lewis said.

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