Numbers – Playoffs Edition

The operative numbers obviously, are 30-7.

It’s easy to say the better team won the game, and perhaps that’s true. But the Chiefs were holding their own and trailing just 10-7 early in the third quarter when failure to convert a third-and-2 and a fourth-and-1 just across midfield was the last effective drive they mounted.

Thus the importance of being able to run the ball effective – and stop it effectively as Baltimore did on those two plays that turned the game around. The easy thing would be to give the rushing attack a good grade because of the number of successful runs. That would be misleading. At the most important juncture of the game, Thomas Jones gained just 1 yard on the third-and-2 play early in the third quarter. Jamaal Charles lost 4 yards on fourth-and-1.

The Chiefs did not run the ball again the rest of the game – though it’s not as severe an evaluation as it seems since they only had 11 plays in the last quarter-and-a-half of the game. In the first half the Chiefs ran effectively, perhaps disguised by the fact they had just nine real attempts. Charles had five runs of 8 or more yards in his seven carries – including the 41-yard touchdown dash. Jones, despite being held to less than 4 yards on each of his carries, gained a first down on his 2-yard run in the second quarter.

But not converting third or fourth down on the first drive of the second half showed how ineffective the Chiefs rushing attack is against a top-notch run defense.

The other operative number is turnovers. Matt Cassel was intercepted three times – the most of any game this season. That’s five interceptions in his final two games. The Chiefs fumbled twice and lost both of them. Meantime they only created two turnovers by the Ravens, leaving them at minus-3 for the game – another sure prescription for defeat.

Chiefs run-by-run 





Charles 9-82 4, 41t 11, 8, 9, 3fum, 11, -1, -4  
Jones 5-15    2f, 1, 10, 1, 1   
Cassel 3-6 2sc, 5sc -1kn,    
McCluster 2-5     2, 3   

                                                                   *t-touchdown; sc =scramble, f=first down, kn=kneel down, fum=fumble

The numbers of the first half are a bit misleading on the defensive side as well – though they did trail by just three points The Chiefs defense against the run did make the Ravens one dimensional. Ray Rice gained just 11 yards in seven carries in the first half. Willis McGahee gained just 11 yards in four carries. The Chiefs defense was successful in holding them to 3 or fewer yards on all but two of the runs 11 first-half runs. For the game, the Chiefs defense held the Ravens to 3 or fewer yards on 23 of the Ravens 30 real running plays (not counting scrambles or kneel-down plays by quarterback Joe Flacco).

That made the Ravens one dimensional, but what a dimension. The pass defense was abysmal, despite sacking Flacco four times, hurrying him countless others and forcing him to scramble four times. So all Flacco did, under that duress, was complete 25 of 34 passes for 265 yards. Many of the completions were short crossing routes across the middle against safeties that seemed committed (or instructed) to not give up the big play over the top.

Ravens run-by-run






Rice 17-57

2, -2, -1, 3

5, 1, 2

4, 4, 3

14, 8, 2F, 3, 5, 3, 1

McGahee 10-44



3, 2

-2, 3, 2, 25

Flacco 7-26

0, 8sc

13sc, 5sc


-1kn, -1kn

McClain 1-1    


Parmale 4-13      

3, 6, 3, 1

Stallworth 1-1       


The real downfall of the Chiefs defense came in third-down situations. It’s why the Ravens were able to hold the ball for 41:44 in the game. The Ravens converted nine of 17 third-down situations. That is exacerbated by six plays of third-and-5 or more in which the Ravens got first down six times.

The inability to get the defense off the field contributed to a fourth-quarter drive in which the Ravens jammed it down the Chiefs throat on a 10-minute, 24-second drive that salted the game away. That was the longest time-of-possession drive of the season for the Ravens and the third-longest possession of any team in the NFL since 2000.

Third-down conversion    
First quarter     
3-8-C41  Flacco to Heap +12 FD
3-2-C21 Flacco to Heap +7 FD
3-1-C1  Flacco incomplete pass.  
3-11-R14  Flacco to Rice 11 FD
3-6-R40  Flacco to Boldin 14  FD
Second quarter     
3-5-C40  Flacco incomplete pass  
3-4-C49  Flacco sacked Hali for 0  
3-13-C Flacco to Heap +13 FD
3-2-C9  Flacco to Rice +9 TD  FD
Third quarter  
3-2-C11 Flacco incomplete pass  
3-9-C11  Flacco incomplete pass  
Fourth quarter     
3-5-R25 Flacco to Heap +8 FD
3-9-R44 Flacco to Heap +6 *
3-5-C40 Flacco to Boldin +6 FD
3-2-C26  Rice +1  ** 
3-1-R44  Parmalee +3  FD
3-10-R46  Flacco kneel down -1  

* Baltimore gains first down on Chiefs fourth-down penalty. ** Willis McGahee scores 25-yard touchdown on fourth down

9 Responses to “Numbers – Playoffs Edition”

  • January 10, 2011  - aPauled says:

    Would be nice if Haley wold talk about the strategy with the Safeties and what was going on with Bowe. We may never know the answers.

  • January 10, 2011  - Dave says:

    We looked very good in the first half. I think when I watch the game again tonight I’ll stop at halftime.

  • January 10, 2011  - Rick says:

    I had no problem with the Chiefs going for it on 4th down there in the 3rd quarter. At the time I was hoping they would, but, I did and do have a problem with the play that was called. At that point the Ravens were loading the line of scrimmage expecting a running play, plus Richardson whiffed on his block and the play was easily stopped.

    Bad play call and even worse execution.

  • January 10, 2011  - el cid says:

    I’m with you on the call, no problem. Was it the “best play” the team could execute and have a chance of success. Not to sure. Got to last two games, offense seemed “lost” not a, b, followed by c. More like here is a play, hope it works. Is it Haley taking over play calling, never know. Remember the first series of the game, the defense was running around like a chicken without its head. That is all Crennel. How to fix or if it gets fixed, we will not be told. So we talk/post.

    Many coaches with great superbowl rings do not seem about to re-create the magic on the next team they go to. Weis flopped as HC, Crennel also. So many think the ring means everything they do will be successful, but not always. It is really up to Pioli, who should know what is going on, to fix/continue this team into 2011.

  • January 10, 2011  - Blake says:

    I heard that Haley took over play calling duties in the second half.

  • January 10, 2011  - johnfromfairfax says:

    Heard, woulda, shoulda, coulda. I heard we got our asses whipped in the second half. No, that’s right, I saw that happened. All good questions but we can speculate until the cows come home and nothing will change. We have to load back up and start again next year and have continued improvement if we are to get where we want to be. It’s the same for every team but we did make the improvement this year and there’s no reason except for the doubt creeping back in that we can’t continue the trend into the future. We’re headed in the right direction and I don’t see a reason at this point to doubt that we will progress next season. I’m looking forward to it already.

  • January 10, 2011  - zbschiefs says:

    Question for Next Ask/Answer Bob:

    Hi Bob,

    Thanks for your great coverage of Chiefs football. You may have already addressed this in a post somewhere, but my question has to do with Tamba Hali and the QB. I normally try not to become to frustrated with calls by the officials because I know good teams should usually win even if calls don’t go their way. Numerous times this season though I noticed that Hali was illegally blocked (blatant and non-blatant holds, facemasks, tackles by the facemask in the Ravens game) and it was rarely called by the officials.
    Are the lack of penalties in Hali/Chiefs favor because of a league effort to protect the QB? I noticed when KC played the Colts, Hali was held and it rarely got called. Are the officials and the league trying to protect the health of big-time players like Manning and others and that is why pass rushers can be hindered?



  • January 11, 2011  - Butler Go CHIEFS Go says:

    Simple should have at least let Succop try the 50 yarder get the three point keep elation going !!!!
    In my humble opinion poor call not trying field GOAL !!!

  • January 11, 2011  - Craig says:

    GO Chiefs!! Great season. Disappointing ending. Lots to build on but need more depth and starting talent. One source is reporting Haley took over play calling at half. If that is true, he performed poorly. Interesting offseason. GO Chiefs!!

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