You are using an old web browser. Such browsers do not support modern web technologies and do not offer proper security. Please update your browser or download one of the others suggested for free.
Mozilla Firefox |
Google Chrome |
Internet Explorer |
He had 57 tackles, one sack, one forced fumble and a fumble recovery with one pass deflection.
While Lewis' instincts were strong as ever, he was having trouble escaping from blocks, was suffering a bit due to nose guards Terrence Cody and Ma'ake Kemoeatu's struggles and his range and tackling had clearly declined.
So now the two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year is making his return after surgery and missing the past 10 games.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh says Lewis will be full-speed, but is that realistic considering the rust accumulated during over two months of no football?
We're going to find out.
This was nearly a season-ending injury, and Lewis has made a valiant recovery, which is a credit to his dedication to the game and his teammates.
He insists he'll be ready even though there are obvious signs of atrophy with the right arm not being as big as his left arm.
"I just think where I have it now, 100 percent," Lewis said. "I can't tell you there is no weakness in it. I can't tell you if I go out there, I might do this, I might do that. I don't think I would put myself, as well as my teammates, in that position. Have I played hurt before? Absolutely. With this injury, because of what I do so much, I don't think I would take that chance. ... I feel good. I feel healthy. I feel great, actually."
Lewis said he didn't experience any setbacks in his rigorous rehabilitation, never experiencing concerns that he wouldn't progress to this point.
"Actually, it was the opposite," Lewis said. "Most of the doctors I was dealing with were trying to get me to calm down, because I wanted to push it a little more. And I just went fast. I went real fast. Pain was really the last thing that was on my mind. I never really thought about pain a lot. I just thought about really just getting through it, the next day, the next day, the next day, and kept stacking days on top of each other.
"So, I started feeling good real quick, and that's when I started getting really excited. Because after [surgery], I think, I was riding my bike in 10 days. I had banded it up, but it didn't hurt me. I didn't feel any tweaks or nothing like that. I had a very speedy recovery."
While Washington has performed well on offense, it has struggled defensively. The Redskins rank 28th in the league in total defense with 377.7 yards allowed per game and 22nd in scoring defense with 24.2 points allowed per contest. With this in mind, consider that the Seahawks are 6-0 against the spread in the second half of the season over the last three seasons versus poor defensive teams that give up 24.0 points or more per game. Seattle has won these games by an average score of 33.2 to 12.7.
Two powerful, zone-runners are the key to this game. Bruisers Marshawn Lynch and Alfred Morris are essential to how their respective offenses operates.
Wilson and Griffin certainly benefit from these two productive workhorses. Despite Lynch's greater experience, rookie Morris should have the advantage.
The Seahawks are no longer the stout force they were against the run. They were the 10th-ranked rush defense this season, surrendering 103.1 yards per game.
That's not an ideal matchup against the prolific Morris and the league's top-ranked rushing offense. Aside from the Houston Texans, the Redskins are the most accomplished zone-blocking team in the NFL.
The left side of their offensive line could dominate against the Seahawks. Pro Bowl tackle Trent Williams can clear plenty of room for Morris on Washington's trademark stretch runs.
What makes Morris such an effective runner for the scheme is that he makes quick decisions. He possesses excellent vision and makes sudden cuts in the backfield.
Morris is also excellent after first contact. That quality will be invaluable against a physically punishing Seahawks defense.
Lynch might not find things as straightforward. The Redskins defense has enjoyed great success stopping the run. The unit ranked fifth combating the rush during the regular season.
Lynch is a brute force runner, but he may struggle to escape inside linebackers London Fletcher and Perry Riley in the open field.
Seattle has not been the same team on the road. It is just 2-5 in true road games this season. Washington, meanwhile, has been solid at home. It is 5-3 at home on the season, including 4-0 straight up and against the spread in its last four home contests.
It hasn’t been wise to lay points on the road with NFL teams headed up by Pete Carroll. That’s because his teams are just 3-13 against the spread all-time in the role of road favorite. They have lost by an average score of 19.5 to 18.7 in these games.
As a precocious rookie, Colts quarterback Andrew Luck has been instrumental in engineering Indianapolis' dramatic turnaround from a 2-14 season (that allowed them to draft the former Stanford star) to an 11-5 record.
Running an offense that demands a lot from him-- in terms of reading defenses and lacking a top-flight running game to complement him -- Luck has completed 54.1 percent of his throws for 4,374 yards, 23 touchdowns and 18 interceptions.
Although he ranks 31st in completion percentage in the NFL and 26th in passer rating (76.5), Luck is on a roll recently with five touchdowns and no interceptions in the Colts' last three games.
"Really not so much the numbers as the way he has played," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "I think he's been very steady all the way through the season. He obviously has cleaned up the interceptions a little bit. A lot of those ones earlier were just flukey things that happened. He's very smart. When you watch him, this is something even when talking with Jim [Caldwell], he's better than you even think. "He's got a better arm than you want to think. He's stronger. He's faster. He's got more rotation on the ball. He's more accurate than you really want to think watching the tape. He's just a really talented guy. Plus, he's a first-class human being. They have their quarterback for a long time to come."
More than rushing for five touchdowns and being tough mentally and physically, the Ravens see a lot of intangibles and intelligence from Luck.