The Ravens went into Kansas City and made Matt Cassel look like the 2nd string quarterback who hasn’t been in the playoffs since high school that he really is. Here are my thoughts on Baltimore’s 30-7 win versus the Chiefs.
A statement – For a team that has been criticized for underperforming, the Ravens made a statement with a dominant veteran like performance against the young Chiefs. The cherry on top was Willis McGahee doing the tomahawk chop after the Ravens went up by 23. This is a clear statement. Here we come Pittsburgh.
Second half adjustments – The Ravens appeared to make the proper adjustments on the Chiefs in the second half. Jamaal Charles was still a threat, but Kansas City plays appeared to develop slower. Kelly Gregg also provided pressure in the backfield on Matt Cassel.
Momentum shift – After the Ravens defense forced a fumble and an interception on the the Chiefs offense the Ravens took the momentum with them into the win column. Baltimore’s adjustments made Cassel look like a different quarterback in the second half. The offense turned those turnovers into 10 points and took the crowd out of the game at Arrowhead.
Offense proves itself – While the first half was shaky, Baltimore proved that their star studded offense can click on all cylinders. The offense utilized everyone from Willis McGahee to Anquan Boldin and Ray Rice to keep the the Chiefs on their feet. Most importantly the Ravens kept the clock ticking when they needed to which kept their defense fresh.
Flacco’s pocket presence – Flacco had two fumbles in the first quarter. One on the goal line that was recovered, the second was lost on the Ravens’ 48. It set up Jamaal Charles’ 41 yard TD run. Joe Cool is great and while being calm is a good attribute, he needs to know when to get rid of the ball. As the game progressed, Flacco did learn to take off down field a few times, which helped to set up their go ahead TD before the end of the first half.
Charles had their number in the first half – Terrence Cody came up with a big strip on Jamaal Charles. The ball was recovered by Brandon McKinney, but the Ravens went three and out after Flacco was sacked. The Ravens defense struggled to tackle Charles all day. Ed Reed and Ray Lewis both had missed tackles on an 11 yard gain in the 2nd quarter and Dawan Landry continued his trend of failing to tackle opponents. Reed made up for it later with a huge hit on Dexter McCluster on third down. As a side note, Reed’s hit was violent and perfectly clean. ProFootballTalk tweeted that the NFL should send DVDs of the hit to players to show them how it’s done.
Started slow – On their first five carries the Ravens had -2 yards rushing. Baltimore was stopped on their first goal line stand. The Ravens don’t fool anyone on the goal line. Whenever McGahee comes out, you know he’s going to get the ball and you know he won’t cross the goal line. Baltimore had 27 plays and the ball 12:37 compared to Kansas City’s five plays and 2:23 in the first quarter. But the Chiefs had a 7-3 lead after 15 minutes. I can’t complain though. The Ravens adjusted beautifully.
The Ravens put together a good game plan, took advantage of Kansas City’s weaknesses with their strengths and look ready for next week.
Next stop Pittsburgh.