Let’s talk Ravens-Chiefs. Five things that stood out from my perspective in Baltimore’s 30-7 win over Kansas City in the AFC Wild Card.
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1. Flacco’s production: The Ravens’ QB played like a veteran should in the post season. Flacco faced solid pressure vs. the K.C. front, used his legs to buy time and worked the middle of the field for the majority of the afternoon. Simple things, such as hitting the check down, finding TE Todd Heap and WR Anquan Boldin, plus having total control over the game plan that ate up the clock. That’s good post season football from your QB. Flacco’s final numbers: 25-34-265 yards and 2 TDs.
ICONHeap had 108-yards today on 10 receptions.
2. Todd Heap: The Baltimore TE is productive because of how he is used in the game plan. What did we see today? Heap as the backside “X” receiver, aligned in the core of the formation as the “Y” tight end, part of a slot look, etc. Multiple alignments that put Heap in a position to work against a safety or a CB—because he is going to win. Tough for any SS or CB to play with outside leverage vs. Heap and make a play on inside breaking routes. The Ravens’ TE will use his size to shield the defender from the ball and work the middle of the field. Heap finished the day with 108-yards on 10 receptions.
3. Speed vs. Power: I will admit that I was impressed with the speed of the Chiefs’ play makers on offense in the first half of the game. Jamaal Charles, Dexter McCluster, TE Tony Moeaki, etc. With the way Charlie Weis calls plays, the Ravens were having issues holding the edge of the defense vs. the outside zone and the sprint draw. However, as we saw in the 3rd quarter, there comes a time when you have to line up and play downhill football. Go back to the 4th and 1 call for K.C. They try a mis-direction flip play to Charles that gets shut down. Too cute? I think so—and that was the beginning of this downward spiral for the K.C. offense. Speed sells, but in playoff football, you have to line up and play a physical style eventually.
4. The Ravens’ D: Isn’t this kind of what we expected? Just like we talked about above, the Baltimore defense had some issues early in the game with the speed of the Chiefs’ offense, but go back to the 3rd quarter—because they took over the game. Forced turnovers, tackled well and started getting to QB Matt Cassel—and that leads to big plays. Type of game that reminds us that the Ravens have a championship level defense. Forced five turnovers and suffocated this Chiefs’ offense.
5. Eric Berry: Let’s talk something positive from K.C. today. The Chiefs’ rookie safety is a player. I was impressed with his ability to attack the line of scrimmage vs. the run game. Isn’t afraid to lower his pads and get physical, plus we know he can make plays when he drops into coverage. Good body control and a payer that can develop into a top tier safety. Without question this was a bad loss for Kansas City, but they have some real solid young talent—and Berry is on that list.
Check back to the NFP following Packers-Eagles for my quick game notes.
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