Sunday, January 9, 2011
QB success, WR failure key Ravens romp
How did the Baltimore Ravens dominate the Kansas City Chiefs in their 30-7 road win on Sunday afternoon?
Here are a pair of keys to their victory:
• Joe Flacco’s offense controlled the middle of the field against the Chiefs. Flacco was 18-for-21 with two touchdowns when making a pass inside the field numbers. That followed the manner by which Flacco was most effective during the regular season. He finished with 18 touchdown passes between the painted numbers, one shy of Peyton Manning for the NFL lead.
Flacco also handled things well when the the Chiefs blitzed with a member of their secondary. He completed four of five passes for 58 yards against a secondary blitz that held opponents to the lowest completion rate in the NFL during the regular season.
The 30 points scored by the Ravens are the third-most they've scored in the 14 playoff games since the team moved from Cleveland to Baltimore.
The only games in which they scored more were Super Bowl XXXV, when they beat the Giants, 34-7, and the 2009 AFC Wild Card round, when they beat the Patriots, 33-14.
• For the second straight day, one of the NFL’s best receivers was shut down by a tough secondary. On Sunday, Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe (NFL-best 15 touchdowns) was held without a catch by the Ravens defense. In fact, Bowe was not even the target of a throw from a Chiefs quarterback. This bettered the effort from the Jets on Saturday against Reggie Wayne (112 regular-season catches). He finished with one catch and one yard.
The seven points scored by the Chiefs matched their worst effort in a postseason home game.
Some other notes from this contest, with the help of resources provided by Pro-FootballReference.com and the Elias Sports Bureau:
• The Ravens are 7-3 all-time in road playoff games, which according to Elias is the best road record by any team in NFL history.
• The Ravens have won a road playoff game in three straight seasons. Elias notes that they're the second team in NFL history to do that, joining the Cowboys (1970-72).
• It is Flacco's fourth playoff road win as a starter, tying an NFL record shared by Jake Delhomme, Roger Staubach and Len Dawson.
• Todd Heap set franchise postseason records with 10 receptions and 108 receiving yards. He's the sixth tight end in the Super Bowl era with 10 catches and 100 receiving yards in a playoff game.
• In the midst of their NFL record seven-game postseason losing streak, the Chiefs have also lost four straight home playoff games, which is the longest streak of any NFL team since the merger. Kansas City has not won a home playoff game since defeating the Steelers at home in the 1993 Wild Card round.
• Matt Cassel finished 9-for-18 for 70 yards, with three interceptions and a passer rating of 20.4. How awful of a performance was that? A check of Pro Football Reference shows it is the third playoff game since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970 that a quarterback finished a postseason game with fewer than 75 passing yards and at least three interceptions. The others: Craig Morton (1977 Denver Broncos) and Dave Krieg (1983 Seattle Seahawks).