Based on his ten tackles, one sack and one forced fumble performance in the Baltimore Ravens 37-7 beatdown of the St. Louis Rams this past Sunday, Ray Lewis was honored as the AFC Defensive Player of the Week. The ageless wonder, in his 16th NFL season, continues to play at an incredibly high level despite constant murmurings that he has lost a step and is not the guy he once was. The absurdity of that statement is blown so out of proportion as the years of wear and tear on his body might have slowed him down, but he compensates by preparing for each game better than anyone in the entire league.
Players that join the Ravens for the first time through free agency regularly remark that they never broke down so much tape in the way that Ray does, either at the team's Practice Facility or at Ray's own home. While the obvious notion that he is slower today than he was in the so-called prime of his career is lost on the opinions of many, including the NFL Network, who ranked Lewis as the 4th most important player of 2011 and the top defensive player on the list.
The Ravens defense might be giving up gobs of yardage through the air, but the remain the NFL's best defense in terms of points allowed (13.3), the most important defensive statistic in this writer's opinion. After three weeks of the 2011 regular season, the Ravens have had two of the three AFC Defensive Player of the Week awards (Terrell Suggs-Week 1).
See more on Lewis' honor at BaltimoreRavens.com.