Ravens Smash Colts, Prepare for Denver

Ray Lewis’ final game in Baltimore didn’t disappoint.  Coming back from a torn triceps, Lewis played with a ton of energy and was all over the field on Sunday.  He finished the game with 13 tackles playing with a bulgy arm brace that was likely the cause for dropping an easy interception.  The star of the defense though was Paul Kruger who put relentless pressure on Andrew Luck all day.  He finished the game with 2.5 sacks and added 5 QB Hits.  It was pure dominance from Kruger who has really stepped up this year.  The defense as a whole played extremely well.  Andrew Luck racked up some yards but it took the most passes by a rookie in the playoffs ever to do it.  Overall, he was extremely inefficient and was held off the scoreboard.  Luck added one interception, and should have had another, but Lewis could not hold onto a tip ball.  Cary Williams had the one turnover, and very nearly took it to the house.

The offense for Baltimore was solid.  Ray Rice rushed pretty well, and added a 47 yard reception that set up a 2 yard TD run for Vonta Leach.  However, the big story for him was that he coughed up the ball twice.  Rice is not known a fumbler, but has nearly fumbled the ball as much in the playoffs as he has in the regular season in his whole career.  Rice has publicly stated that it will not happen again, but it has to be a point of concern.  Two players really outshined the rest of the offense though in my eyes.  One was Bernard Pierce.  Pierce handled the ball nearly as much as Rice.  That may have been because of the turnovers, or maybe they just wanted to give him the ball with a comfortable lead.  For whatever reason though, Pierce was a beast on Sunday.  He carried the ball 13 times, totaling 103 yards on the ground.  He consistently picked up chunks of yardage and broke off a big run of 47 yards showing his big play ability.

The next player that really impressed me was Anquan Boldin.  After being shut out in the first half, Boldin exploded in the second.  He showed some of the separation that he has lacked most of the time he has been im Baltimore. Despite solid coverage, Boldin snagged some incredible catches, refusing to allow the defender to knock it out of his hands.  This is likely Q’s best game in a Ravens uniform, and it could not have come at a better time.

Coming up is another meeting with the Broncos, but this one is at Mile High.  Peyton Manning and the Broncos are the hottest team in the entire NFL and trounced the Ravens in their last meeting a few weeks ago.  The Ravens have gained some reinforcements since then and have played two very impressive games against the Giants and Colts.  In the first meeting, Manning didn’t dominate, but he didn’t have to.  It will be interesting how he would react to a closer game, and if a healthier Ravens defense can match up with one of the greatest to play the game.  I am a bit more interested in the Ravens offense in this on, though.  Last meeting, Champ Bailey focused his coverage on Torrey Smith.  After Boldin’s huge game last week, it will be interesting to see who the shutdown corner shadows this game.  I’ll have more on the matchup later in the week.

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