There was a lot to be thankful for and impressed with in the Baltimore Ravens playoff victory over the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday afternoon. Ray Lewis' return to the playing field was more than just emotional, as he finished the game with 13 combined tackles, one tackle for loss and one pass defensed, although even Ray knows he should have held onto it for an easy interception.
Dannell Ellerbe is now regularly making us think he may very well become the next great undrafted Ravens linebacker, adding nine combined tackles, one tackle for loss and one quarterback hit.
The team, however, must learn to stop giving up yardage to their opponents off of the officials yellow hankies. Once again, the most penalized team in the NFL was flagged for nine penalties, giving the Colts 70 additional unearned yards.
The Ravens were dominated by the Colts in terms of time of possession, losing that battle 37:32 to 22.:28. This translated into the Indy offense running an incredible total of 87 plays, over 30 more than the Ravens' 57.Usually, if you control the clock, you win the game. Luckily for the Ravens, that did not define the outcome of this game.
Finally, Baltimore running back Ray Rice lost two fumbles on the day, two more than he lost in the entire 2012 regular season. Rice only fumbled once all season prior to this game and that was recovered by the Ravens. While his case of "fumble-itis" did not change the outcome of the game, it was obvious to all in attendance that had he not lost those two balls, the game might have been well out of hand in the Ravens favor a lot earlier, perhaps even by halftime.
Rice had a similar fumbling problem in the 2010 post season, losing a fumble in the playoffs after not fumbling all season, contributing in the Pittsburgh Steelers coming back from a 21-7 halftime deficit to win 31-24.
Hopefully, with the weather expected to be near zero when they take on the Denver Broncos on Saturday afternoon, this will be a distant memory and the Ravens do not give the Broncos any gifts that could help them in this game.