Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Ravens pound Chiefs, advance in playoffs

Oh no he didn't: Willis McGahee mocks the Chiefs chop after scoring a touchdown to put the Ravens ahead 30-7.

First it was the Dolphins, 27-9 in 2008. Then it was the Patriots, 33-14 in 2009.

And last Sunday, the Ravens continued their trend of making short work of their first-round opponent in the playoffs, beating the Kansas City Chiefs, 30-7.

It was also the first dominating win for the Ravens in 2010.

The Chiefs racked up only 160 yards of total offense, including just 70 yards passing for Matt Cassel, who also had 3 interceptions on the day. It was one of the worst statistical performances from a QB in playoff history. A stunning accomplishment, considering that Cassel had been one of the most efficient QB's in 2010, throwing just 7 interceptions all season.

Remember those second halves when the Ravens would go on autopilot and let their opponent creep back into the game? Not this time. The Chiefs managed drives of 43, -7, 1, 3, and -12 yards in the second half. Meanwhile, the Ravens totaled 184 second half yards and scored 20 points.

Joe Flacco, having performed poorly in five career playoff games, turned in his best postseason performance by far, throwing for 265 yards and two scores.

Todd Heap was a dominant force in the offense, catching 10 passes for 108 yards. Anquan Boldin, who had all but disappeared in the passing attack for the last month or so, caught 5 balls for 64 yards and a touchdown.

The rushing attack didn't boast gaudy numbers, but it got the job done on a day when the passing game was working well. Ray Rice lead the way with 17 carries and 57 yards while Willis McGahee fared better with 44 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries.

The defense took a while to reach the level they played at during the second half of the game, and for a little while, it looked like they were going to have trouble containing Chiefs stud RB, Jamaal Charles, who scampered for 82 yards and the Chiefs lone score. But the defense chomped down in the second half and kept Charles, as well as the entire Chiefs offense, in check. The Chiefs star WR Dwayne Bowe didn't even record a catch on the day.

So where do the Ravens go from here? I'll give you one guess.


Would you want it any other way?

Thankfully, the Ravens are pretty healthy and peaking at the right time. The Steelers have had the Ravens number with Ben Roethlisberger as QB, but the Ravens are still smarting after their tragic loss to the Steelers in Baltimore and are thirsty for revenge. And with Joe Flacco playing well, having gotten the "poor performance in a playoff game" monkey off his back, the sky's the limit for the Ravens, even with a daunting task ahead of them this weekend.

So, it's going to be an epic battle.

Ravens vs. Steelers III


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