Chiefs too much for Ravens in AFC Championship game
On Sunday, January 28, the Baltimore Ravens (AFC North) and Kansas City Chiefs (AFC West) went head-to-head at M&T Bank Stadium to determine which team would represent the NFL’s AFC as champions of the conference in the upcoming Super Bowl. The Chiefs won the game, 17-10, with stingy, disruptive defense and a more balanced offense while taking advantage of miscues by the Ravens.
We look at four big takeaways from the AFC Championship game.
Chiefs defense was highly disruptive
Kansas City has fielded a strong defense throughout the 2023 NFL regular season, but there were concerns that Baltimore would have an edge, offensively, should they turn their top rushing offense loose. The Chiefs hid a lot of their blitz packages well as were able to create pressure on Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson. Jackson was sacked four times in the game.
Not since the 2010 Pittsburgh Steelers had an NFL team won a conference championship game while being held without a score in the second half of the game until the Chiefs did so on Sunday.
Kansas City earned four takeaways, including two at the goal line; a forced fumble and an interception were the goal line turnovers that went in the Chiefs’ favor.
Jackson caught a pass… from himself
The rarity of a quarterback coming down with a reception on a pass he threw is like winning a billion dollar lottery, yet Jackson did just that.
On 2nd & 5 at the Baltimore 18-yard line, Jackson took the snap from shotgun and threw the ball. The Chiefs batted the ball at the line, causing the football to go high enough that Jackson was able to beat two defenders to it and make the catch and carry for a 13-yard gain.
Lamar Jackson ➡️ Lamar Jackson.
(via NFL, CBS)pic.twitter.com/YQIBG6Ai6K
— Sunday Night Football on NBC (@SNFonNBC) January 28, 2024
Kelce beat Rice’s record
Tight end Travis Kelce may be getting a lot of flak for his date, Taylor Swift, taking up a ton of video cameos, but he got his own moment of fame when he surpassed famed receiver Jerry Rice for most receptions in the NFL playoffs.
In the game, Kelce made 11 receptions for 116 yards and a touchdown. He was a perfect 11-of-11 on catches made when targeted. His longest catch went for 21 yards as Patrick Mahomes‘ favorite target.
Ravens got away from the run, and it hurt them offensively
In the first quarter of the playoff game, Baltimore used Gus Edwards and Justice Hill to balance their offensive attack. Unfortunately for them, the Ravens abandoned the ground game outside of Jackson using his legs to get free from pressure.
Part of that was due to the effective up-front play by the Chiefs defensive line. Most of it appeared to be dictated by a need to find rhythm and momentum to keep up with Kansas City. That made Baltimore’s offense very one-dimensional.
As a team, the Ravens gained just 81 yards on the ground, and scored no rushing touchdowns.