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In terms of Hollywood-style, feel-good football victories, it'd be hard to top the Ravens' 24-9 win over the Colts on Sunday.

An emotional final home finale for the team's heart and soul, retiring linebacker Ray Lewis. Numerous exciting, big plays on offense. No touchdowns allowed on defense.

In terms of actual accomplishment? Well ... let's not get carried away.

It's a win and that's all that matters in the playoffs. But, in many ways, it wasn't a particularly convincing win against a team that can't even be compared to Baltimore's next opponent, the 13-3, top seed in the AFC, on an 11-game winning streak Denver Broncos.

"We had some miscues out there," safety Ed Reed said. "There is some stuff we need to correct."

True enough.

The Ravens got off to a painfully slow start on offense - for awhile, it looked as if they would give Lewis a most appropriate sendoff given that he spent so much of his career saddled with an unproductive offense. They did virtually nothing until a 47-yard catch-and-run by Ray Rice set up a touchdown 50 seconds before halftime and gave the unit momentum it built on with quick-strike drives in the second half.

Baltimore also had to overcome a pair of fumbles by the normally surehanded Rice.

"It wasn't as clean as we wanted it to be," conceded center Matt Birk.

Defensively, even with Lewis and pass rusher Terrell Suggs on the field together for the first time all year, the Ravens gave up 419 yards and 25 first downs, and were on the field for more than 37 minutes, although they did force two turnovers and kept nearly constant pressure on rookie quarterback Andrew Luck.

"It was OK," defensive tackle Haloti Ngata said.

The Ravens led only 10-6 at halftime and the Colts were within one score in the Red Zone early in the fourth quarter before a defensive stand and a missed field goal decided the game. That it was so difficult against this team is troubling, particularly given that the Ravens lost four of five to close the regular season.

Yes, the Colts went 11-5. But it was a record fashioned largely against bottom-feeders, with nine of those games against teams that finished 6-10 or worse. And they were somehow outscored by 30 points on the season.

For those who like advanced metrics, footballoutsiders.com rated the Colts as only the 25th-best team in the 32-team NFL - and the worst 11-win team in history - based on Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (which breaks down every single play and compares the team's performance to the league average for the situation).

That Baltimore won at all Sunday can be attributed to explosive plays.

Every Ravens touchdown was set up by a big play - the first on Rice's 47-yard reception, the second on a 50-yard bomb to Anquan Boldin on a broken play, the third on a 43-yard run by Bernard Pierce. The Ravens finished with 441 yards, but 186 of them came on four long gains they might not be able to replicate against the Broncos, who have one of the best defenses in the NFL.

Clearly, they're excited about the opportunity, however.

One of the lowest points of the season came on Dec. 16, when Denver came to Baltimore and smoked the Ravens 34-17, handing them their third consecutive loss in a game that was over at halftime. Now for the rematch.

"I was hoping we would get them," Boldin said. "So, they'll see us next week."

Just getting to this point is quite an achievement. The Ravens won five playoff games during their first 12 season. They now own six in their last five seasons.

They're the only team in the league to make the postseason every year since 2008, John Harbaugh is the first coach to get to the playoffs in each of his first five seasons, and Joe Flacco's the first QB to win a playoff game in each of his first five.

But all Sunday's win did was to get the team to where it had already been the past four years, to the point every player and fan expected the Ravens to reach this season, to a round that seemed a virtual guarantee when they were 9-2 entering December.

The players want more - much more - and that was the case long before Lewis announced his retirement.

"The bottom line is, we haven't won it all, and that's been our goal," Flacco said. "We'll have to move on from this one quickly and get another step closer to our goal."

To do so against Peyton Manning, Von Miller and the rest of the Broncos, they'll need to play much better than they did on Dec. 16. And much better than they did on Sunday.

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