By Samuel Njoku
Many expected the Ravens to cruise to another victory on Sunday when they faced the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead stadium. Instead, what fans got was a blast from the past as neither team reached double digits on the score board. The Ravens escaped with a 9-6 win against the Chiefs and moved to 4-1 on the season.
The Ravens (4-1) coaching staff couldn’t get much going in the first half of this contest. Both Cam Cameron and Dean Pees came up with sub-par game plans that the Chiefs quickly took advantage of. Once again, the no-huddle offense was a non factor on the road. Cam Cameron tried to get Ray Rice going with moderate amounts of run plays, but the defense did a good job of keeping the quick running back contained. Due to miscues on offense, Cameron had a hard time getting anything going for the offensive unit. But in the second half, his play calls became more elaborate as he took advantage of some mismatches to get the team going.
Defensively, Dean Pees was force to alter his scheme dramatically in the second half. When the game began, it was evident that Pees main focus was containing Dwayne Bowe. But the Chiefs coaching staff surprised Baltimore with an extensive amount of run plays. The Chiefs came into this game wanting to keep the ball away from Joe Flacco. The plan worked for much of the game until Pees made his adjustments. The Chiefs decided to continue with the run after the adjustments were made and it was a huge reason why they lost this tight game.
The Ravens’ offense struggled in this game. Joe Flacco played a mediocre game. He’s now thrown an interception in four of his last five games. This was another ill-advised throw to Anquan Boldin that was picked off. But the main reason for the offense sputtering on Sunday fell on the receivers. The prolific receiving corps of the Baltimore Ravens couldn’t catch anything on Sunday. Drops would occur at inopportune times that severely hampered the rhythm of the offense. Other than a couple of big plays here and there, the passing attack was not very good on Sunday.
Ray Rice made the most of his opportunities on Sunday. Cameron called his number quite often due to the passing attacks inefficiency. He would run for 102 yards on 17 carries in the ball game. And while he would fail to score, his production helped keep drives alive and give both sides of the ball some much needed confidence.
The struggle on defense continued as the game began on Sunday. The Ravens were embarrassed by Jamaal Charles as the Chiefs seemed to run the ball at will on the proud unit. The defense over-pursued a great deal in this game. The Chiefs ran a lot of counters and draw plays to catch the defense off guard. But for the most part, the Ravens were beat on simple stretch plays. The adjustments made in the second half helped the team get penetration in the backfield and slowed down the running attack considerably. But had this been a quality opponent, the Chiefs would have taken advantage and thrown the ball down the field to counter-attack.
The secondary of the defense pretty much won the game for the Ravens. Though a case can be made Matt Cassel simply gave the game away, the secondary took advantage of the opportunities. Interceptions and goal line fumble recoveries told the story in this slugfest. After a slew of games in which the secondary was torched, the secondary needed a game like this. The defense held Cassel to under 100 yards passing on the day. That’s impressive.
Tucker has played lights out this season and this game was no different. He connected for all three of the Ravens field goals. The fact that those field goals were the only points scored on Sunday makes it even more impressive. Sam Koch and the punting unit helped with preserving field position. The only hiccup came when Deonte Thompson fumbled a kick return when he may have been better off kneeling it in the endzone.
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Samuel Njoku was born and raised in Baltimore, MD and is a graduate of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Samuel has covered the Ravens for Examiner.com since 2010. Prior to 2010, Samuel was an avid blogger and radio personality in Salisbury, MD. He can be reached for comments at SamuelN870@gmail.com. His work can be found on Examiner.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @Ravens_Examiner.