Ever since Ray Lewis was drafted there have been countless plays and memorable moments that are part his career and Ravens history.
Here are some personal favorite plays, great moments and big hits. I’ve probably left a few out, so if you have any, please add yours to the comment section.
Top 5 best plays by Ray Lewis
1. RAY LEWIS WIN IN TENNESSEE
The playoff game in Tennessee along the way to the Ravens first Super Bowl, has to be close to the top of Ray Lewis biggest moments. Lewis intercepted a pass (deflection of RB Eddie George trying to make a reception) and Lewis ran it back for a TD. Tennessee was a physical team and ‘the rival’ at the time; Lewis willed himself and his defense to stand toe-to-toe with the strong Titans team. That interception was the play that propelled the Ravens to their first Super Bowl title.
2. SUPER BOWL SWAGGER- MVP
When the defense was introduced in Super Bowl XXXV and then Lewis introduced, he did his famous dance, watched by the biggest audience on the national stage. His swagger demonstrated that he was unfazed by all the outside distractions and was ready for business. He led to the defense to a dominating performance as MVP and that first Super Bowl trophy for the Ravens was ‘off the charts’ in terms of what it meant to the City.
In my humble opinion, the 2000 team has to be the best defense in the modern era. The defense still holds the record for fewest points allowed in a 16 game season, 165 points. The Ravens ‘D,’ never allowed an offensive touchdown in Super Bowl IIIV; in that game the New York Giants ended offensive drives with punts or interceptions.
3. THREE BIG SUPER HITS
Lewis Stop – Baltimore at San Diego, 2009
I was at this game and the crowd went to dead silence after Ray Lewis ended the game stopping running back Darren Sproles in the backfield. The Chargers were driving late in the fourth quarter and on a fourth down and short, San Diego called a draw play which Lewis diagnosed and shot the gap, dropping running back Sproles behind the line of scrimmage to end the game.
2011 Sunday Night Primetime Game: Hit on Hines Ward
There’s no secret Pittsburgh’s Hines Ward pushed the envelope as far as his physical nature as a receiver. Still, Ward was one of the toughest players to play the game. While you don’t want to see any player get hurt, it was a long time coming for Ward whose antics were considered ‘unsportsmanlike.’ Speaking of the Steelers, how about the hit on Rashard Mendenhall in 2008!
Perfect Football Hit: Baltimore Vs. Jets, 2010
I don’t know what was better, the hit on Chad Johnson going over the middle, the hit on TE Winslow in Cleveland, or this hit on TE Dustin Keller? I’d say this hit on tight end Dustin Keller was memorable, just for the fact Ravens fans were tired of hearing about Coach Rex Ryan and his comments about Baltimore not giving him the head coaching job, as well as LB Bart Scott’s jabs about the Ravens team. Adding to the fact that it was on national TV Monday Night Football, that hit was the exclamation point on the victory.
4. RAVENS SHAKE UP DYNASTY
The playoffs 2010, the Wild-Card Ravens went on the road to play New England. The Ravens came out strong and never looked back. The defense was dominating and Ray Lewis set the tone. The Patriots post season win streak was snapped at 11 with that loss. Ray Rice said, “Their era is not over, they know how to win, but for the Ravens, to beat the New England Patriots set a precedent. We’ll always remember this win.” That win greatly influenced and shaped this team’s future–a signature win for John Harbaugh as well.
5. FINAL RIDE: Inspiring Teammates
Final home game, playoff ride and Super Bowl win!
Ray Lewis’ final entrance to play his final home game was special for fans. Think about how many fans grew up watching Ray Lewis. He’s been a part of every Sunday during the NFL season these past 17 years for fans. The retirement announcement was a catalyst and gave the team a sense of urgency and it paid off. With Joe Flacco’s superb play and Lewis having the defense playing lights out, it was a tough combination to beat. If you think about all of the players Lewis has inspired to reach their potential and rise to the occasion, this ‘final ride’ embodies the way Ray Lewis inspired players, teammates, and even coaches.