Road to championship reminds Ray Lewis of playoff battle against Titans

Tuesday, January 29, 2013 at 10:05pm

It might be the one game above all others that the Tennessee Titans and their fans would prefer to forget.

For Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, though, it is a happy memory and one that came to mind during his team’s run to Super Bowl XLVII, in which the Ravens face the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday at New Orleans (5:30 p.m., CBS).

The second of Baltimore’s three playoff victories this season was in Denver, a 38-35 overtime triumph that featured a game-tying 70-yard touchdown pass in the final minute of regulation. In other words, it was not the type of game that happens often but can occur more than once for those whose careers are long enough.

“It was just one of those games that once you find yourself in,” Lewis, a 17-year veteran, said recently. “One game that kind of brings back the memory is probably when we went to Adelphia Coliseum [in 2000]. [It] reminds me a lot — the Tennessee Titans that year — it was just a very, very physical game up and down the field.”

The Titans were at home and with the benefit of a bye after a league-best 13-3 record during the regular season. They dominated the game statistically against the Ravens with a 317-134 edge in total yards, a 23-6 advantage in first downs and more than 40 minutes of possession time.

The Ravens won 24-10. They scored the final two touchdowns on a blocked field goal that was returned 90 yards and Lewis’ 50-yard interception return.

“Crazy things happened in that game,” Lewis said. “So, for the Denver game, to kind of play out [as it did] … if I was remembering one game [that was similar], it would probably be that game [at Tennessee].”

From there, of course, they won the AFC Championship on the road and then rolled to victory in Super Bowl XXXV. No doubt, they’d be happy with a similar experience this time.