The Baltimore Ravens maintained their drive to claim the 2011 Super Bowl title Jan. 9 as they ripped the Kansas City Chiefs, 30-7, in a NFL wild card match at Arrowhead Stadium in Missouri.

Kansas City made it a tight contest early in the game, scoring the first touchdown of the day on a 41-yard run by the Chiefs’ speedy back Jamaal Charles. A field goal and a touchdown pass from Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco to tailback Ray Rice late in the second quarter gave Baltimore only a 10-7 lead at halftime. But the Ravens offensive and defensive units exploded in the second half, outscoring the Chiefs, 20-0, in the final two quarters.

The Ravens sealed the win on a 15-play, 80-yard scoring drive capped off with a 25-yard touchdown run by Willis McGahee. The long fourth-quarter drive burned up more than 10 minutes off the game clock and pushed Baltimore ahead, 30-7, with only few minutes remaining in the game.

Most Outstanding Player(s) of the Game:
The Ravens know they need strong performances from Flacco to win the Super Bowl. It’s safe to say the third-year quarterback rose to the challenge, as he completed 25 of 34 passes for a franchise postseason-best 262 yards, two touchdowns and a passer rating of 115.4 against the Chiefs. Flacco mostly targeted veteran tight end Todd Heap, who also set a team postseason record with 10 catches for 108 yards.

Unsung Players of the Game:
The Chiefs led the NFL in rushing this regular season with 164 yards per game. But thanks to the Ravens’ defensive front (Haloti Ngata, Kelly Gregg, Corey Redding, Terrance Cody, Brandon McKinney, Jarret Johnson and Terrell Suggs), Kansas City was held to only 108 yards rushing. Besides a 41-yard touchdown, Charles was limited to 82 yards, while his running mate Thomas Jones was held to only 15 yards.

More Game Notes:
The Ravens (13-4) now carry a 4-2 postseason record under third-year head coach John Harbaugh, who has led Baltimore to the AFC divisional championship (second round of the playoffs) in each of his three seasons with the team. The Ravens will now travel to Pittsburgh next weekend to face their arch rival, the Steelers, at Heinz Field. This will be the first time the Ravens have played the Steelers three times in one season since 2008 when the two AFC North foes faced off in the conference championship.

Ravens star Ed Reed, who played against the Chiefs despite the news of his brother missing after a police pursuit, told his teammates his brother would want them to beat Pittsburgh.

“Like I said before the game, my brother loves football,” Reed said, “And he would want us to beat Pittsburgh…”

 

Perry Green

AFRO Sports Editor