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Ravens 24, Colts 9

Baltimore’s Ray Lewis, who is set to retire after 17 seasons, takes a victory lap after his last game at M&T Stadium.

Associated Press

Baltimore’s Ray Lewis, who is set to retire after 17 seasons, takes a victory lap after his last game at M&T Stadium.

BALTIMORE — The Ravens want one long final ride for Ray Lewis. Having disposed of Andrew Luck and the Colts, they now face a bigger challenge.

Next up, Peyton Manning and the Broncos.

Anquan Boldin set a franchise record with 145 yards receiving, including the clinching touchdown, in Baltimore's 24-9 win Sunday over Indianapolis in an AFC wild-card game. The win delays star linebacker Lewis' retirement for at least another week as Baltimore (11-6) heads to top-seeded Denver (13-3) on Saturday.

The Broncos beat the Ravens 34-17 three weeks ago.

"I wanted Denver," Boldin said, "because they beat us.

"We'll make it different."

The win prolongs the Ravens' pursuit of their first NFL title since the 2000 season, when Lewis won the first of two Defensive Player of the Year awards.

Lewis, who had 13 tackles Sunday, ended his last home game in Baltimore at fullback, of all things, for the final kneel-down. He then went into a short version of his trademark dance before being mobbed by teammates.

His right arm was covered by a brace as he played for the first time since tearing his right triceps on Oct. 14 against Dallas.

"My only focus was to come in and get my team a win. Nothing else was planned," said Lewis, a 17-year veteran out of Miami. "…I knew how it started but I never knew how it would end here in Baltimore. To go the way it did today, I wouldn't change nothing."

The loss ended a turnaround season in which the Colts went from 2-14 to the playoffs in coach Chuck Pagano's first year. He missed 12 weeks while getting chemotherapy for leukemia and returned last week.

Pagano made his playoff debut in the city where he was a Ravens assistant for four years.

"The foundation is set, and we said we were going to build one on rock and not on sand," he said.

Baltimore's suddenly revitalized defense — inspired by Lewis, no doubt — never let standout rookie quarterback Luck get comfortable. He sacked three times, 2½ by linebacker Paul Kruger.

Joe Flacco now has at least one postseason win in all five of his pro seasons, the only quarterback to do it in the Super Bowl era. And John Harbaugh is the only coach in the Super Bowl era with wins in his first five playoff campaigns.

Ravens 24, Colts 9 01/06/13 [Last modified: Sunday, January 6, 2013 10:36pm]
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