Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Lewis will build on legend in Denver

Ravens' win gives LB at least 1 more game

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BALTIMORE -- Ray Lewis' last ride now will take him to Denver.

Anquan Boldin, Joe Flacco and a staunch Baltimore defence made sure of that Sunday.

Boldin set a franchise record with 145 yards receiving, including the clinching touchdown in the Ravens' 24-9 victory 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 Denver next Saturday.

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

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

Lewis, who made 13 tackles, even lined up at fullback for the final kneel-down in his last home game of a 17-year career. He then went into a short version of his trademark dance before being mobbed by teammates.

He followed with a victory lap, his right arm, covered by a brace, held high in salute to the fans after playing for the first time since tearing his right triceps on Oct. 14 against Dallas.

"There's no greater reward than for me to take this last victory lap, for me to see my team, because we have a vision," Lewis said. "We're not trying to end here. This is just my last game at Ravens stadium, and it's the most awesome thing you could ever ask for in any professional career."

Sunday's victory also enhanced the Ravens' success rate in opening playoff games. Flacco now has won at least one post-season game in all five of his pro seasons, the only quarterback to do it in the Super Bowl era.

His main target Sunday was Boldin, who had receptions of 50 and 46 yards, plus his 18-yard TD on a floater from Flacco in the corner of the end zone with 9:14 to go.

"I told (Lewis) before the game I was going to get 200 yards," Boldin said.

Baltimore overcame the first two lost fumbles of the season by Ray Rice, too, as John Harbaugh became the first head coach with wins in his first five playoff campaigns.

The loss ended the Colts' turnaround season in which they went from 2-14 to the playoffs in coach Chuck Pagano's first year in Indianapolis (11-6). Pagano missed 12 weeks while undergoing treatment for leukemia and returned last week.

Offensive co-ordinator Bruce Arians, who went 9-3 as interim coach, was absent Sunday after being hospitalized with an undisclosed illness. Quarterback coach Clyde Christensen called the plays, but Baltimore's suddenly revitalized defence -- inspired by Lewis' pending retirement, no doubt -- never let standout rookie QB Andrew Luck get comfortable.

Indy's only points came on three field goals by Adam Vinatieri, from 47, 52 and 26 yards.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 7, 2013 C6

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