Well, that basically amounted to “the men against the boys”.
The Ravens flicked a completely outclassed Kansas City team off their purple shoulder Sunday afternoon in KC, producing a workmanlike 30-7 win that sends John Harbaugh’s team to Pittsburgh for a Saturday showdown at Heinz Field.
Baltimore vs. Pittsburgh, Round 3.
Honestly…that’s the way it should be.
Other than a first quarter slash-and-dash from Jamaal Charles that gave the Chiefs a 7-3 lead, Baltimore was never really threatened on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium. The Ravens mixed a ferocious second half defensive effort with some gritty quarterbacking from Joe Flacco, who was harrassed all afternoon but survived long enough to move his career post-season record to 4-2 (all on the road).
Someone’s season comes to an end next Saturday in Pittsburgh.
For the Ravens – and their fans – there’s no other scenario nearly as indigestible as losing to Ben Roethlisberger and Company. It happened in 2009, of course, when Baltimore’s bid for the Super Bowl was squashed by the Steelers and it occurred in Baltimore early last month when Pittsburgh snatched home-field from the Ravens with a late TD after a costly turnover by Joe Flacco.
The fact that will concern Baltimore this week is simple: Can the team beat Ben Roethlisberger for the first time EVER when the game has really, really mattered? They’ve never done it, having lost four straight times to the Steelers in December and January with Roethlisberger at the helm and the game having “significant” importance.
And that’s not a low blow…it’s just a fact.
Can they send Roethlisberger packing next Saturday?
That’s the issue at hand and the question that will need to be answered.
One thing for certain: The Ravens sent the Chiefs packing today. With ease.
It was the men against the boys.
It won’t be that easy next Saturday, for sure.
But for one day, anyway, a playoff game that was supposed to bring together the veteran, savvy team against the young, energetic, home-standing upstarts turned into a snoozer by mid-way through the 3rd quarter.
The Ravens were more physical.
The Ravens executed with more precision.
The Ravens offensive game-plan, using Todd Heap on quick routes across the middle, was more effective than any resistance Kansas City offered — and it was never diffused by the Chiefs.
This was a beatdown.
It was, frankly, the way the Ravens SHOULD win a post-season game against an inferior opponent.
It’s the same way they smacked Miami in the mouth, 27-9, in 2009 to start that playoff run.
A 12-4 team of the Ravens’ caliber should win by double digits against a 10-6 Chiefs team that went 1-1 against playoff teams during their 16-game regular season schedule.
After weeks of narrowly pulling out wins and holding on for dear life down the stretch, Baltimore produced one of its best efforts of the season on the day when it mattered most.
That’s the way it should be.
And heading to Pittsburgh is “the way it should be” too.