In what turned out to be a performance not for the record books, the Ravens outlasted the Kansas City Chiefs, 9-6 in front of 68,803 at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The Baltimore Ravens won for the first time without scoring a TD in a game since beating the San Francisco 49ers 9-7, exactly five years ago to the day. Capitalizing on four Chiefs turnovers, all by quarterback Matt Cassel, the Ravens improve to 4-1 on the young season.
Wasn’t a good day for Joe Flacco. The Chiefs played some tough press coverage and he didn’t have a lot of area to throw. The Ravens didn’t help themselves either by dropping a handful of passes; Boldin, Pitta and Rice dropping passes immediately comes to mind.
Flacco’s rating was 55.6, again not good by any means. He looked to get it going late in the 3rd quarter, completing passes to Ed Dickson and Ray Rice for gains before Brandon Flowers intercepted Flacco.
He held on to the ball too long at times. He threw behind his receivers when they weren’t catching the football. He just didn’t look comfortable in the pocket at all in this game.
In the end, an inept Chiefs team gave the Ravens the opportunity to win the game. Facing a better defense, its another story.
Running Backs: A-
The Ravens averaged 5.5 yards per carry. Pretty impressive stuff. Hard, effective running from Rice led to 102 yards on 17 carries, averaging six yards a carry. Bernard Pierce only carried for 14 yards, but having him in the game adds another dimension to the running game.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends: C
Anquan Boldin led the team with 82 yards on four catches. Torrey Smith and Dennis Pitta both had three catches apiece. They tried to stretch the field but the Chief secondary did a pretty solid job of limiting the big play from this group, jamming the receivers at the line. The Chiefs took a page out of the Eagles book; get physical and close on Ravens receivers.
Offensive Line: C-
The line was below average today. A bend but don’t break effort from them. They allowed four sacks on the day, they were slightly better in the run game, opening some holes for Rice to run. The tackles had problems with speed rush again. Its hurting the rest of the offense.
Defensive Line: D
They had a tough time stopping the run today, a weakness that is now an every week occurrence. Jamaal Charles rushed for 125 yards in the first half, Shaun Draughn rushed for 40 yards. The Ravens did a better job in the 2nd half, slowing the Chiefs run game way down. The Chiefs ran the football 50 times for 214 yards.
The linebackers had to flood the line to help out with the Chiefs running the football down their throats in the 1st half. They were better in passing situations this week, but that could be because Matt Cassel was completely inept at handling the football.
Because Matt Cassel is so bad, the Ravens could sit back on the routes and just wait for a mistake to happen. It happened twice in the game, Lardarius Webb and Cary Williams each getting a pick. Bernard Pollard recorded 10 total tackles.
Special Teams: C+
Justin Tucker was the offense in the game, converting all three of his field goal attempts. The Chiefs averaged 27 yards on three kick returns. Luckily, the Chiefs coughed up the ball when it mattered most.
I liked that the Ravens used Ray Rice down the stretch to chew up some clock late in this game. But outside of that, the gameplan was underwhelming. Defensively, the Ravens made adjustments in the 2nd half to slow down Jamaal Charles. That was big.
A win is a win in the end, but this one was ugly. The Ravens have to find a way to combat good speed rush and they’ll face that next week with the Dallas Cowboys and DeMarcus Ware on the end. Being 4-1 is no easy task, but as the weather gets colder and the competition gets tougher, the Ravens will need to find a way to get to the QB, stop defenders from getting to the QB, and get the football in the end zone.
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