Ray Lewis might not have the same physical impact on a football game as he once did, but there's little doubt his words do.
"In the tunnel, I told him, 'You're the General now. Lead us to a victory. You will lead us today. I'm just here to facilitate things,' " Lewis said, according to the Ravens' official website.
Flacco went out and threw for 331 yards and three touchdowns. He's already the only quarterback in NFL history to reach the playoffs in each of his first five seasons. This will be his third conference championship. And he outplayed Peyton Manning.
Lewis also had a message during the week.
"For us to come in here and win, underdogs, that's the beautiful thing about sports. That's the thing that I'll probably miss anything about my career, it will be to listen to what people say you can't do and then to go do it."
The Ravens have a little bit of juice right now. The Broncos had more than one chance to close the door but couldn't. Lewis was far from the most effective player on the field Saturday, but his words and the emotion surrounding his impending retirement seem to have given life to a team that lost four of five to close the regular season.