The Chiefs-Ravens game delivered as one of the best matches of not only Week 14 but for all of 2018. Kansas City pulled out a gutsy win against a Ravens team that gave them their most challenging test at Arrowhead this season. There were so many wow moments in this game, and it made for a playoff-like contest. Let’s start breaking this one down.
Win of the Year?
As good as the comeback win was on Monday Night Football in Denver, this was the Chiefs best victory of the season. The Ravens entered this game having a real chance to try and stifle the Chiefs. The Ravens formula is perfect to counteract the Chiefs. You have Lamar Jackson‘s ability to freeze defenders with the read option. Because of that, Baltimore was the best rushing team in football over the last three weeks. And finally, the Ravens defense was the best defense in football. With all that, the Chiefs still found a way to win the game.
But how did they do it? The Chiefs and their in-game adjustments, allowed them to make enough plays to sink the Ravens in overtime.
Kansas City held the Ravens to their fewest rushing yards since Jackson became the starter. Also, the Chiefs run defense made some stops that may get forgotten. For example, coming out of the two-minute warning before halftime, they held Gus Edwards to no gain on a 2nd and 8 attempt. That allowed for the Chiefs to use a timeout, and forced the Ravens to attempt a pass on 3rd and 8. An incomplete pass by Jackson stopped the clock, and the Chiefs took over and tacked on a field goal as the half expired. Then you have a couple of back-to-back stops when the Ravens had just passed midfield. After giving up 6 yards on 1st and 10, the Chiefs made two straight stops on Ravens running plays that resulted in a turnover on downs.
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Kansas City made enough stops, and had long enough drives themselves, which held Baltimore’s time of possession to the lowest it had been with Jackson running the offense. This forced Baltimore to have to throw it more, which allowed the pass to pressure Jackson and prevent him from being too perfect.
Finally, the Chiefs went up against the best defense, yet Patrick Mahomes still threw for 377 yards and he completed plenty of unorthodox throws. You have the no-look pass that went viral, which happened during a two-minute drill, by the way. Then you have a 21-yard completion to Tyreek Hill in a 3rd and 19 situation, which kept the drive alive. Subsequently, the Chiefs ended up scoring a TD to close that drive.
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Another crazy attempt that worked, was a throw across the field from Mahomes left to right where he hit Travis Kelce in traffic. Finally, the one that mattered the most in the outcome, was a 4th and 9 play. Mahomes rolled right and threw across his body, into the middle of the field and found Tyreek for an unbelievable completion. Mahomes led the Chiefs with that performance without Sammy Watkins and the newly signed Kelvin Benjamin as well.
Cutting Down On Mistakes
The Chiefs still have to tighten up in some aspects. However, heading into the home stretch of the season, there have been some improvements. The penalties are still a factor, but Kansas City did not commit as many penalties in this game as the Ravens. The Chiefs accounted for only 53 penalty yards, a total which was more than doubled by the Ravens.
Kansas City also improved on third down defense from the week before. The Raiders were 75% on third down the week before, whereas the Ravens only converted on 41% of third downs. Baltimore also only converted on one of three fourth-down attempts, including the Chiefs holding them on a 4th and inches run attempt.
Home Sweet Home
The Chiefs defense may not be the best, but it’s so much more different when they are at home. We mentioned the adjustments they made to stop Jackson and the running game in big situations. The defense was able to hang around in the fourth quarter to force Jackson to fumble. Even though Harrison Butker missed the game-winning field goal at the end of regulation, the defense made the last stop to hold off the Ravens.
This win was also significant for the Chiefs in the AFC Playoff Picture. Kansas City clinched a playoff berth with the win. Plus, with the Patriots, Texans and Steelers all losing, with a couple of wacky endings, Kansas City now holds a two-game lead for the race for home-field advantage. Now it’s on to a Thursday night contest where they host the Chargers, with a chance to clinch the AFC West.
Thank you for reading. Enjoy this short week before the next Chiefs game. Stay tuned to Full Press Coverage for content on that and another week 15 matchups.