Ravens' linebacker Ray Lewis is a sure-fire Hall of Fame player just waiting on his bust and gold jacket. He was a stat machine and a highlight reel for the NFL and the Ravens during his 17 year career. However, when you think of Ray Lewis and what he was as a player, you can only choose a single play from his highlight reel.
Fourth down and the game on the line. With it being 4th and 2, the Chargers could choose to run it to the inside, outside; or they could choose to throw it to Vincent Jackson, Darren Sproles, Antonio Gates, or Malcom Floyd. Down by only 5 points, a first down would all but mean that the Chargers would score and win the game with only 34 seconds left.
Yey, Ray Lewis knew what was going to happen. He knew the Chargers would try and force it up the gut to grind out the two yards needed. Timing the snap perfectly, Lewis comes from the 9 yard line to hit the line of scrimmage a half second after the ball was snapped. That timing would mean that he comes through unblocked and is one-on-one with Sproles... all he has to do is make the tackle on the slippery rusher. With perfect technique, Lewis wraps his arms around Sproles' waist and hits him so hard that he drops right where he was hit for a loss of 4 on the play.
Lewis would run off the field with Ed Reed behind him, knowing that the game was sealed. With the Ravens having a regular season record of 9-7, the loss of this game would have meant that they missed the playoffs.
Everything was perfect here. Ray knew what was coming, was correct on his snap timing and made a perfect tackle. Even though by 2009, Lewis had begun to slow down and get dinged up, his knowledge of the game combined with his technique proved that he still not only had enough in the tank, that he was still the greatest linebacker in the game. Had Ray missed the tackle, there was a wide open hole right off the center that would have easily gone for a first down.
I don't think there is a better play to showcase why Ray Lewis is and was Ray 'Fu@&ing' Lewis!