Baltimore Ravens vs. Kansas City Chiefs: Final Grades, Analysis for Baltimore
Both teams were flat today, but the Ravens did just enough to win the game. The Chiefs killed themselves with turnovers and penalties, while the Ravens made fewer mistakes.
You can see all the game grades right here.
Joe Flacco, QB
Joe Flacco can't be blamed for today's mediocre stat-line. With no time to throw and poor performances from his receivers, Flacco did all he could.
Unfortunately, Flacco continues to prove he's not good under duress. Few are, but to be considered elite, Flacco needs to carry this offense, and he failed to do so today.
Specifically, Flacco often held on to the ball too long, and he also threw several balls off his back foot.
Flacco didn’t get much of a chance to do much. His long run on third and fifteen was brilliant, but with such poor blocking, Flacco didn’t get a chance to show off his arm.
Joe Flacco killed a promising drive with a bad throw on an even worse decision. He was otherwise sharp, but he needs to find a way to punch the ball into the endzone.
Flacco is not to be blamed for today's offensive disaster. He's putting the ball where it needs to be, but there are a few complaints I have.
He still checks down way too quickly on some plays, but then he holds the ball too long on others.
Flacco also loses some mechanics under pressure. He has a tendency to throw off his back foot.
Flacco started the first drive sharp, but he didn’t take any shots downfield. The drive stalled due to the conservative playcalling.
Later, Flacco held the ball too long on a sack and missed Tandon Doss in the endzone. He’s not being helped by his receivers, though.
Ray Rice did not play as well as his stat's indicate. He has a tendency to run right into the biggest pile instead of trying to find a hole, and that was problematic today with so few holes to run through.
On the flip side, Rice hit the few holes that were there with authority, and his run to seal the game was pure effort on his part.
Bernard Pierce doesn't get enough carries. He offers an alternative running style to Ray Rice, and he could offer a spark that the offense lacked today.
On his few carries, Pierce ran with authority, and he certainly did just as well as Rice.
Vonta Leach might have been the only blocker doing his job today. Leach had several key blocks, and he pushed around every Chief he got his mitts on.
Receivers and Tight Ends
Even though Anquan Boldin was the Ravens' leading receiver, he struggled badly today. He only got open on blown coverage and he had several drops. Boldin's long run after the catch was magnificent, though.
Smith barely got open today, but he at least caught everything that he got his hands on today.
Jones did absolutely nothing against the Chiefs. He was never open.
Pitta was Flacco's most reliable receiver today, even with a drop. Flacco could have gotten Pitta more involved, but unfortunately, Pitta only seems to run a few different routes. Accordingly, he was well covered throughout the game.
Kelechi Osemele —F
I don’t like to give any player an F, but Osemele earned it today. He gave up pressure on nearly every pass play, and his run blocking was abysmal. There is nothing good to say about Osemele’s performance today.
Marshal Yanda —C-
The middle of the offensive line wasn’t nearly as bad as the tackles, but Yanda didn’t exactly dominate. He didn’t push anyone around, but he didn’t get pushed around either.
Matt Birk —B
Matt Birk was probably the most effective lineman today. He made some nice blocks downfield, and the middle of the line was largely solid.
Ramon Harewood —C-
Like Yanda, Harewood held his own but didn’t do anything spectacular. There were few holes, but Harewood didn’t get beat very often either.
Michael Oher —D
Michael Oher regularly got beaten badly. He got beat in every way possible: bull rush, speed rush and stunts. The only reason Oher’s grade is not an F is because he was more effective in run blocking.
McPhee was surprisingly effective at setting the edge today. He handled his blocker well and blew up a few plays.
The Chiefs didn’t do much damage up the middle today, but Kemoeatu made no splash plays either. He held his own, but was pretty average.
Ngata was not the Ravens’ best defensive lineman today. He was pretty well neutralized, save for a few plays. A lot of big runs were given up on Ngata’s side.
Courtney Upshaw was simply not athletic enough to handle Jamaal Charles and the Chiefs offense. The Chiefs regularly got outside of him in the running game.
McClellan held up even worse than Upshaw. McClellan usually sets the edge well, but he was handled easily today. He wasn’t athletic enough to keep Charles’ runs inside.
There is only one player on the entire team who deserves an A, and it’s Paul Kruger. He dominated today, as the Chiefs simply couldn’t handle him one-on-one. Kruger single-handedly stopped one Kansas City drive, and he constantly made plays.
Ray Lewis looked old and slow today. He was not fast enough to handle the Chiefs’ speed, but he did make one huge hit that was reminiscent of last year’s Ray Lewis.
Ellerbe was nowhere to be found today. He struggled to get off blocks, and he didn’t make any splash plays.
Webb was largely decent in coverage, but he struggled today more than usual. Webb didn’t turn his hear on a few defendable balls, resulting in some key Chiefs first downs.
Williams gave up several completions because of his stiff hips and his inability to play the ball, but he wasn’t a major liability today. He also racked up a pick. The Ravens played Williams closer to the line of scrimmage today, which helped him a lot. The way Williams wrapped up Dwayne Bowe on one pass interference penalty was inexcusable, though.
Jimmy Smith was thoroughly mediocre today. He gave up a few easy completions.
Reed made a nice play picking up a Matt Cassell fumble, but then ran it out in what was a poor decision. Reed also missed another easy fumble recovery.
Pollard was absolutely necessary today, as he was often the last line of defense against Jamaal Charles. In that regard, he played pretty well.
Tucker was perfect on his field goals today, while his kickoffs were booming.
Koch uncorked a few booming punts, and he played a big role in the Ravens' win thanks to his ability to swing field-position.
Thompson looked slow today, and he gave up a fumble. He needs to be more decisive.
Jones had a nice return, but he was mostly quiet.
Harbaugh did not have his team focused, motivated or disciplined today. I blame Harbaugh for most of today's struggles. He desperately needs to figure out how to get the Ravens excited against lesser opponents.
The play-calling today was awful. The Ravens ran a successful screen to Torrey Smith that was called back on a penalty, and then didn't try another screen the entire game.
Cameron doesn't seem to know how to establish a short, rhythm passing game. Flacco had to stay in the pocket for ages waiting for routes to develop, resulting in pressure and sacks.
Meanwhile, Cameron's short-yardage play-calling remains suspect. He often runs long-developing running plays, and the Ravens' offensive line is just not good enough to ensure their success.
Pees' defense started out terribly, giving up yardage in bunches. Pees figured something out in the second half, though, and they improved immensely.
Give Pees credit for turning the defense around and calling a good game.
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