Ravens Roll in Playoff Rout of Chiefs

Ravens: 30    Chiefs: 7

You want toughness?  You want aggressive play calling on both offense and defense?  You want to see the training wheels taken off Joe Flacco?  You want to see a team finish a game rather than let someone get up off the mat and pressure you?  You want to win the turnover game?  You want to see the players appreciate their offensive and defensive coordinators?  You want to control the time of possession and dominate the game?  You want to exert your will to the point the opposition cries out “No Mas”?  You want to put a smile on the face of your fans so that they finally are satisfied with your performance?  You want to set yourself up for a confident mindset going into Pittsburgh next week? Then PLAY LIKE A RAVEN!!!

What a game!  We hated to settle for field goals in the early going . . . but our total domination kept the pressure on KC all day.  Here are just a few random observations:

- Flacco looked hesitant in cutting the ball loose in the first half when his outside receivers were well covered.  But he did a good job settling for the slants and the balls over the middle to Heap.

- One of the keys to the game was Flacco being willing to tuck the ball and run several times.  That slowed down the rush and opened up some check downs underneath.  He needs to use his legs in critical situations a couple of times a game.

- Todd Heap was unbelievable — never drops a pass.  Also unbelievable was the stupid strategy of KC to play their two safeties so deep that they weren’t a factor in the game.  Have our wideouts really scared people with their downfield receptions?  That formation was hard to explain.  Maybe KC should have adjusted earlier and tried to cover Heap.

- Boldin is an animal — he might not get the most separation but he is tough enough to snatch any pass with his hands.  He is also such a pro that after the play he just turns around and heads back to the huddle without any of that unnecessary yapping.  Some of our other players could take a lessons from his example.  Keep throwing him the ball.  Give Houshman some more opportunities as well.

- Be careful about putting Stallworth in just to run that reverse — teams are expecting that now when they see him inserted in the lineup.

- Someone needs to put their arm around Oher and settle him down before his hot-head tendencies get him kicked out of a game.  He needs to work on some self control.  He really gets under the skin of the opposition.

- The refs did a horrible job of controlling the extracurricular cheap shots after the whistle.  They needed to make a couple of calls earlier in the game to keep things under control.  They let way to much go — even for a playoff game when you don’t like to see too much yellow on the field.  At least they finally realized their mistake and went and warned both teams they were going to crack down.  But an awful lot of water had gone under the bridge by then.

- Hopefully the Ravens have finally gotten that stupid lateral obsession (after an interception) out of their system.  It looked to me like Ed Reed was to blame for clapping his hands and asking for the ball — by the time Nakamaru responded he was in a vulnerable position and coughed the ball up.  That would have been a bitter way for the season to go down.  After that bonehead mistake the Ravens were careful to just fall on the ball and take the gift of the turnover.

- Give Ed Reed credit for playing tough under such adverse conditions with the loss of his brother.  He threw his body around and made a great hit that really pumped up the defense.  He was part of the reason Castle was reluctant to go downfield with the ball to his wideouts.  He took the wrong angle on the long TD run early in the game — it looked like we were surprised by the speed of KC’s backs — but after that we adjusted and shut KC’s defense down completely.

- Ray Lewis continues to provide the veteran leadership and passion that defines the Ravens.  He might get picked on in some pass coverages, but he brings so much to the table.  He is the best at attacking the ball and popping it out while still wrapping up the runner.  He is just a magnet for big plays that change the complexion of the game.

- Billy Cundiff has proved reliable in both field goals and kickoffs.  When he hits it short and they get a long kickoff return we remember not to take for granted his remarkable contributions this season.  We didn’t even need Sam Koch’s skills in this game because KC just couldn’t stop us.

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