In a season where Ravens fans have often needed to have the Alka-Seltzer on standby this one was fun to watch as they cruised to a 30-7 thumping of a young Kansas City team.
There isn’t going to be much negative to say about this one, though I will be interested as I comb the message boards and listen to the talk shows Monday morning. There’s always someone out there who isn’t satisfied.
Did the Ravens finally finish off an opponent in convincing fashion?
Yes! The young Chiefs looked very quick in the first half and I’ll admit that I had some concerns. Joe Flacco was effective through the air but until the final drive of the first half the Ravens only had three points to show for it.
I thought they did a fantastic job of making adjustments in the locker room, which has been a sore spot with me most of the year. The Defense was aggressive and relentless for Four Quarters and sacked, intercepted and hit the Chiefs into multiple turnovers until they said – “No Mas!” The Offense generated 390 total yards of offense and used a good mix to get many players involved
If the Ravens can build off of this performance you have to like their chances next week.
Have the Ravens finally flipped the Offensive switch?
That will be the biggest question when they play a top defense like Pittsburgh next Saturday. You’d never expect 30, of course but can they put up enough to keep Ben Roethlisberger out of the equation.
Cam Cameron has taken a beating this season and to a degree rightfully so. But, I loved the game plan today. This is what the offense was supposed to be. A balanced group that can shift focus depending on what the defense wants to try and take away from you.
The Chiefs tried to limit the Wide Receivers and were treated to a hefty helping of Todd Heap who had a Ravens playoff record 10 catches today and was huge on third down. Speaking of receivers I’d like formally welcome Anquan Boldin back to the offensive game plan. He made tough catches to the inside and I smiled as Phil Simms made that point about Boldin’s skills. I’ve heard that somewhere before. The Ravens used some Crossing routes which I can’t remember seeing at any point this season with excellent results.
As you look across the board at all the offensive statistics there’s a lot to like. The Ravens dominated Time of Possession (41:44 – 18:16), were solid on Third Down (9-17) and moved the ball effectively with 24 First Downs.
This was one game against a team that I felt was untested this season and had little to no playoff experience. That won’t be the case next week so we will see.
How would you rate Joe Flacco’s performance?
Flacco took a big step forward today. For the first time in six post-season games he wasn’t just a bit player but rather a featured performer. He was 25 of 34 for 265 and 2 touchdowns.
He struggled early. He had trouble recognizing the blitz in the first half and was visibly bothered by pressure even before it was truly an issue and fumbled the ball twice. To his credit he ran for first downs when there was space and should have been awarded a penalty on the head shot he received after he was already in full slide. He also took what the defense gave him. Baltimore has been known as a Bomb type passing offense this season and while I like them to take their shots once in a while they often use it too much. Today he used checkdown screens, crosses, and other intermediate throws to keep the chains moving.
That’s the most important piece to me, you must have no conscience when it comes to dealing with mistakes and you want your offense to keep piling up First downs and get into a rhythm and attack and keep the defense on their heels.
Who was the Offensive Player of the Game?
Flacco’s performance was very good overall. Todd Heap was the forgotten man in the Chiefs defensive game plan and he made them pay big time. Ray Rice was used as both a runner and as a receiver and made several first downs on his skills alone. I loved seeing Willis McGahee involved in the running game as well. The offensive line adjusted after a rough first half in pass protection. Michael Oher who to be fair has been battling injuries will need to put in a stronger performance against the Steelers blitz next week.
Who was the Defensive Player of the Game?
The Defense were well rested in this one and as a result when they were on the field they were in full attack mode. Terrell Suggs was a force with two sacks, Terrence Cody and Ray Lewis forced fumbles. By the way I think Cody will be a fine player in this league, he showed great athleticism running down Charles from behind. Anyone who isn’t sure just check Haloti Ngata’s stats from his rookie season.
Speaking of Charles he is crazy fast. He reminds me of Chris Johnson in some respects but his burst is impressive to watch. The Ravens adjusted and took him out of the game in the Second Half. Top receiver Dwyane Bowe was shut down with zero catches too.