Before he could bask in a shower of confetti, before he could put his fingerprints on the Lombardi Trophy and before he could head into retirement as a champion, Ray Lewis had one final task: stop the 49ers on 3 plays 5 yards from the end zone.
After 2 passes went wrong, Lewis charged up the middle on a blitz. The Ravens stellar linebacker never made it to Colin Kaepernick, but after the quarterback’s pass flew out of bounds, Lewis and Baltimore could begin to celebrate.
”How could it end any other way than that?” Lewis said. ”And now I get to ride into the sunset with my 2nd ring.”
The 13-time Pro Bowl star began his last night on the football field with a motivational speech to his squad. He finished it looking upward into a waterfall of silver streamers and purple confetti after the Baltimore Ravens beat San Francisco 49ers 34-31 Sunday night to win the Super Bowl.
Standing tall in the middle of a defense that survived a wild comeback by Kaepernick and the 49ers, Lewis put a nice bow on his 17th NFL season by earning another Super Bowl ring to go with the one he received 12 years earlier.
When Lewis 1st led Baltimore to Super Bowl glory, he used to be a 25-year-old at the height of his game. A terror on the best defense in the league, Lewis was voted MVP after the Ravens beat the NY Giants 34-7 to earn their 1st championship.
On Sun. night, Lewis and his defense played a supporting role to Joe Flacco and the offense.
The 37-year-old Lewis finished with 7 tackles and occasionally struggled to cover receivers jumping into his area. Wide receiver Michael Crabtree caught a 19-yarder on San Francisco’s 2nd series, and tight end Vernon Davis eluded Lewis twice before to making 2nd-quarter catches.
Lewis did, however, make 2 tackles in the 49ers’ last drive.
”The last series of Ray Lewis’ career was a goal-line stand to win the Lombardi Trophy,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh claimed. ”It was not perfect. It was not pretty. But it was us. That’s who we are.”
After amassing a team-high 44 tackles in Baltimore’s first 3 playoff wins, Lewis was anything apart from phenomenal against the 49ers. But the Ravens played like champs around him, and now Lewis can saunter into the sunset after again holding the Lombardi Trophy high. Baseball betting lines
While working his way back from a ripped right triceps that had kept him sidelined since October 14, Lewis told high-ranking team officials that he was going to step down after this season. He shared the reports with his colleagues and the media on January 2, saying Baltimore’s postseason run would be his ”last ride.”
Lewis was the 2nd draft pick in Ravens’ history, following Jonathan Ogden in 1996. Ogden, who was elected into the NFL Hall-Of-Fame on Saturday, waved to his former teammate in the pregame coin flip Sunday.
Maybe one day, Ogden will extend the same greeting to Lewis in Canton, Ohio.