That was quick. The Kansas City Chiefs' return to the playoffs lasted just one brutal game as the Baltimore Ravens dominated the Chiefs at Arrowhead on the way to a 30-7 victory.
Chiefs coach Todd Haley continued coaching like he's playing Madden on PlayStation 3, and it didn't pay off. Trailing the Ravens by a field goal going into the third quarter (10-7), the Chiefs drove the ball down to Baltimore's 31-yard line for fourth and inches. Haley decided to go for it. No guts, no glory, right? There was no glory -- the Ravens' defense smothered Jamaal Charles for a 4-yard loss. Haley gift-wrapped the Chiefs' momentum by not going for the tie, and the Chiefs were sunk from there.
The Ravens weren't averse to kicking field goals or winning the game. Ravens' kicker Billy Cundiff drilled three of 'em, including two in the third quarter to stretch the Ravens' lead to 16-7.
A 4-yard touchdown pass from Joe Flacco to Anquan Boldin locked up the victory in the third quarter (not to mention Willis McGahee's 25-yard dash in the fourth).
There were a lot of factors in the loss. Two fumbles. Three
interceptions. Three sacks. A paltry 25 yards in the second half. Converting just one-of-eight third downs. Possessing the ball for just 18 minutes and 16 seconds. Chiefs
quarterback Matt Cassel passing for just 70 yards. And do we need to
issue a missing-persons' report for Dwayne Bowe? D-Bowe, he of Super Bowl
victory predictions, didn't catch a single pass. Not one. Credit all of that to the Ravens' defense.
As for the Chiefs' defense, they looked like they were trying to
grab a wet bar of soap in their futile attempts to tackle Ravens
running back Ray Rice. And Flacco carved up the vaunted Chiefs secondary for 265 yards on 25-of-34 passing and two touchdowns.
But the collapse started with the Chiefs' stalled third-quarter drive, thanks to Haley's gamble to go for it on fourth down instead of kicking the tying field goal. It's what makes Haley fun and maddening. But he's a problem gambler. It's the reason that the Chiefs' season is over. The 17-year wait for a playoff victory continues.