AFC Wild Card Game – Baltimore Ravens vs Kansas City Chiefs

Baltimore Ravens (12-4) at Kansas City Chiefs (10-6)

The Chiefs handled their first adversity of the game by stopping the Ravens in their first possession on a goal line stand after they drove the ball 69 yards.  The Ravens had 1st and goal on the one yard line, but the Chiefs defense held the Ravens to a 19 yard field goal.  On the Kansas City Chiefsvery next drive for the Ravens, Joe Flacco was hit by Tamba Hali and fumbled the ball.  The Ravens had a franchise low of 20 giveaways during the season.  The Chiefs took advantage of the turnover, and Jamaal Charles scored on a 41 yard run off left tackle.  Charles’ average of 6.38 yards per carry was the first time a player averaged over 6 yards per carry since Barry Sanders in 1997.  This was Charles’ fourth TD in five games, and the Ravens first TD of 30+ yards that they had allowed since 10/9/2005.  The turnover and proceeding TD gave the Chiefs a 7-3 lead at the end of the first quarter, and things were looking good for the home team.  They had their running game going, had scored early, and had the lead going into the second quarter.

Baltimore Ravens quarterbackOn the Chiefs first possession of the second quarter, Jamaal Charles fumbled the ball on their sixth play of their drive.  Kansas City only had 14 turnovers all season, and had a +9 turnover ratio during the regular season.  The fumble gave the Ravens first down on their 45 yard line, but they were unable to capitalize as Flacco was hit again and sacked by Tamba Hali on 3rd and 4.  After the Ravens punt, the Chiefs punted, which gave the Ravens the ball on their 20 yard line with 5:48 to go in the first half.  The Ravens took advantage of their last possession of the half, and drove the ball 80 yards in 11 plays, taking up 5:30.  Joe Flacco was 6-6 on the drive and also ran for 24 yards.  Three of his completions were to TE Todd Heap for a total of 46 yards.  The Ravens had re-taken the lead 10-7 with 15 seconds left on the clock.  The Chiefs let the clock run out to end the first half.  The Chiefs were in the game.

Kansas City got the ball to start the second half, and after moving the ball 47 yards, could not execute on 4th and 1 on the Ravens 33 yard line.  The Chiefs tried some sort of deception play instead of just playing smash-mouth football (running the ball straight up the middle), and it backfired on them.  After the stop on downs, the Ravens moved 51 yards downfield and kicked a 29 yard field goal to Kansas City Chiefs quarterbackextend the lead to 13-7.  Matt Cassel could not get the Chiefs passing game going, and was only 8-12 for 67 yards and 1 INT with only 6:04 left in the third.  Chiefs leading receiver Dwayne Bowe (1,162 rec yds) had not seen the ball up to this point, and did not see the ball the entire game.  Ray Lewis caused a fumble on the Chiefs next possession, and the Ravens got the ball on the Kansas City 17.  The Chiefs defense kept their hopes alive up to this point, as they held the Ravens to another field goal.  Then Cassel threw another interception, which was the Chiefs fourth turnover of the game.  This time Flacco and the Ravens capitalized with a four yard TD pass to Anquan Boldin making the score 23-7, and the Ravens lead was mounting.  The Chiefs had the ball as the third quarter ended, and the Ravens continued their streak of not giving up a third quarter touchdown to 25 games.

The Chiefs punted early in the fourth quarter, and the Ravens took control with a drive of 15 plays that took 10:20 off the clock.  The Baltimore RavensChiefs kept the drive alive for the Ravens on an offsides call prior to their punt on fourth and three.  With the drive extended, Willis McGahee ended the drive with a 25 yard TD run on fourth and one.  This was the longest time-consuming drive for the Ravens all season, and they had now scored 27 unanswered points.  On the last possession for the Chiefs, Cassel threw another interception, giving the Chiefs a franchise record for the most turnovers in playoff history.  At this point, the Ravens ran out the final 3:32 and won the game 30-7.  

Joe Flacco is only one of three quarterbacks to make the playoffs in their first three years in the NFL.  The other two were Dan Marino and Bernie Kosar.  Flacco set the franchise record for playoff passing yardage, ending up 25-34 for 265 yards, 2 Baltimore RavensTD’s and a 115.4 rating.  TE Todd Heap had a career high 10 catches for 108 yards.  He made four third down catches that gave the Ravens a first down.  Anquan Boldin had 2 of his 5 completions (64 yds, TD) converted on third down, and Ray Rice also had 2 of his 5 completions (42 yds, TD) converted on third down.  Rice also ran the ball 17 times for 57 yards, and Willis McGahee ran 10 times for 44 yards and a TD.  The Ravens defense remained their strength, as they shutout the Chiefs in the second half, and only allowed 161 yards and 8 first downs. 

Kansas City ChiefsKansas City lost an early lead and went away from their running game.  With the Ravens keying on the pass, Cassel went 5-12 for 30 yards, 3 INT’s and 3 sacks in the second half.  They were only able to run 19 total plays in their 5 possessions of the second half.  Jamaal Charles ended the game with 9 rushing attempts for 82 yards and a TD.  His last run was on the 4th and 1 play just over five minutes into the third quarter.  Mistakes hurt the Chiefs as their playoff inexperience showed.  This was the 7th straight postseason loss for Kansas City, and is the longest streak in NFL history.

~ by Troy Erickson Realtor on January 10, 2011.

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