The defensive analysis of this game is fairly simple given the Chiefs’ straight-forward game plan. In the first half, the Ravens surrendered 179 yards rushing and despite a 3-3 tie, the Chiefs would continue with a similar plan in the second half.
I think it would be a mistake to call the Chiefs’ running attack conservative. Given the wide disparity of results (lots of big negative plays with 17 plays of 6+ yards) it is more similar to a passing game, but without much of the big-play upside available through the air. Would you be happy if your team threw the ball 50 times for 214 yards with 2 interceptions and no TDs?
Change interceptions to fumbles and passes to runs and that’s effectively what the Chiefs did.
The Ravens allowed 17 runs of 6 or more yards, something that I find incredibly frustrating to watch, but amazingly, they also dropped the Chiefs 10 times for a loss on run plays. The story of this game is what happened on those plays, so this week I’m going to focus on those alone.
The Chiefs had 67 competitive snaps, which exclude Cassel’s spike:
Versus the Run: 50 plays, 214 yards, 4.3 YPC
Versus the Pass: 17 plays, 124 yards, 7.3 YPP
Overall: 67 plays, 357 yards, 5.2 YPPA
By number of defensive backs:
3 DBs: None
4 DBs: 48/180, 3.8 YPPA, 4 TO
5 DBs: 18/141, 7.8 YPPA
6 DBs+: 1/10, 10.0 YPPA
By number of pass rushers:
4: 10/81, 8.1 YPP, 1 TO
5: 7/43, 6.1 YPP, 1 TO
The Plays that Worked for the Chiefs…
- (Q1, 9:34): Ngata penetrated and was pushed outside by Albert (76) and out of the play. Asamoah (73) blocked Kemo, Allen sealed Lewis, Lilja blocked McClain in level 2, Maneri (87) held off Williams, and Moeaki (81) blocked Upshaw. It was an exceptionally well-blocked play, which opened a big hole for Charles who ran left for 25 yards.
- (Q1, 5:33): Asamoah sealed Kemo, Winston blocked Upshaw on the right edge and Lilja pulled to cut down 53. Charles ran right and had the ball dislodged by Jones who came in to assist Pollard. Reed could not control the loose ball before fumbling it out of bounds for a gain of 12.
- (Q1, 5:01): Kemo was pancaked by Lilja, (who also went down) and Allen. Albert drove Jones backwards for 6 yards, and Asamoah held off Ngata long enough. Moeaki blocked Kruger inside and into Lewis who was lost in the wash. Charles ran left for 8 yards that included driving Pollard back 3 yards.
- (Q1, 1:15): Winston blocked McPhee, Asamoah held off 92, Lilja blocked McClain in level 2, and Allen kicked out Cody as Charles ran up the middle for 8 yards. Lewis pursued to make the tackle.
- (Q1, 0:42): Zone Block Left (ZBL). Allen stood up Ngata, Maneri blocked Kruger, Albert tapped McClain in level 2, and Lilja cut Lewis which forced him back several yards in L2. Winston shouldered McPhee who went down hard when Moeaki undercut him. Asamoah blocked Cody as Charles ran in the gap between Ngata and Cody.
- (Q1, 0:12): Asamoah blocked McPhee, Allen solo pancaked Cody, Albert blocked Ngata, and Lilja again got a big push on Lewis in level 2. Winston blocked McClain in L2 and Maneri held off McClellan to secure the right edge as Charles ran up the middle for 11 yards.
- (Q2, 9:01): ZBL. Allen sealed Kemo as he penetrated, Asamoah pinned Ngata, then moved to L2 and blocked Lewis. Maneri blocked Jones straight up. Albert kicked out Upshaw as Charles ran left for 8 yards between LG and LT.
- (Q2, 8:37): ZBR. Albert blocked Jones, Allen kicked out Kemo, Lilja again made a level 2 block on Lewis, Asamoah blocked Ngata, Winston blocked Upshaw, McClain was caught in the wash as Charles ran between Jones and Kemo for a gain of 10.
- (Q2, 8:11): ZBL. Lilja pinned Kemo who was then pancaked by Asamoah. Lilja then moved to level 2 and got a piece of Lewis. Allen and Winston doubled Ngata, Winston initially blocked Jones and Moeaki undercut him, but Jones still managed to recover to make the tackle of Draughn who ran up the middle for 6 yards.
- (Q2, 7:39): Cassel dropped back to pass. Lilja blocked Kemo; Albert and Moeaki doubled Ngata, and Upshaw tried to move to the ORS to rush. Cassel left the pocked and ran left for 12 yards.
- (Q2, 7:20): The Ravens line was not set at the snap as the Chiefs zone blocked right. In particular, Ngata was not in a 3-point stance and Albert cut him in level 2. Moeaki kicked out Kruger and Charles ran through a gaping hole on the left side for a gain of 9. Both Lewis and McClain were caught in the wash in the teeth of the lines push right.
- (Q2, 3:19): Allen blocked Ngata with a pin from Albert, Lilja blocked Ellerbe, and Maneri blocked Kruger. Lewis was pancaked by Asamoah as the run went outside to the left of both Kruger and Lewis for 10 yards.
- (Q2, 0:50): Allen pulled and hammered 52, Kemo was blocked straight up by Lilja, Asamoah pancaked Ngata, Albert pushed Upshaw around the left edge, and Kruger was blocked by Maneri. Draughn ran right for 7 yards and spun for a first down before being brought down from behind by Kemo.
- (Q2, 0:40): Allen stayed engaged with Ngata, Asamoah pancaked Jones, Albert kicked out Upshaw, Maneri blocker Lewis, and Lilja blocked Ellerbe in L2. Charles ran up the middle then broke left for 17 yards.
- (Q3, 6:36): Kruger was blocked by Albert, but pursued to make the tackle. Lewis dropped to coverage and was then picked up by Moeaki in level 2. Lilja made another L2 block on Ellerbe. Allen blocked McPhee, and Asamoah held off Ngata as Charles ran left for 7 yards.
- (Q4, 7:55): Asamoah sealed off Kemo. Allen initially blocked Jones who moved off quickly, but whiffed the tackle on Gray. Winston held off Kruger and Moeaki blocked Upshaw. Lilja pulled and blocked Ray Lewis in L2. Gray ran up the middle for 6 yards.
- (Q4, 7:17): Kemo was blocked initially by Allen, but pursued to come up just short of the tackle. Moeaki again kicked out Kruger with ease. Winston pushed McPhee, and Lilja got a nice seal on Jones. Asamoah blocked Lewis in L2. McClain was caught in the wash behind Lilja’s block but pursued to make the tackle.
…And the Plays that Didn’t
- (Q1, 13:57): Kruger had a free run outside of LT Albert and ran across the formation to take down Charles for a loss of 1. McPhee was incorrectly credited with the tackle. Ngata also had beaten Lilja inside for penetration.
- (Q1, 8:51): ZBR. Upshaw crashed the left edge, McPhee penetrated right versus Winston, and Cody pushed back Allen. Cody and Upshaw combined to make the stop for a loss of 1 on a play where all the exits were blocked.
- (Q1, 7:38): Kruger exploded into Moeaki, then slipped off inside to close down the OLS. McPhee’s immediate penetration off Albert’s left shoulder was key to blowing up the play as Upshaw beat Winston outside to combine with Kruger for the tackle. Ngata made a hidden contribution by holding his ground against an initial double from Asamoah and Lilja.
- (Q2, 4:37): ZBL. McPhee penetrated 5 yards into the backfield versus Allen, pushing the guard into Charles. Kruger again pushed back Moeaki then released to clean up Charles for a loss of 8 near the left sideline.
- (Q2, 4:01): ZBL. Kruger again pushed back Moeaki 3 yards and wrapped up Charles for a loss of 2. Great individual effort, But Kemo had also maintained good position versus Lilja.
- (Q3, 13:14): The Ravens run blitzed versus the Chiefs’ ZBR. Both Ngata (versus Albert) and McPhee (who drove back Asamoah) got good penetration to blow up the play and McClain cleaned up by the right sideline.
- (Q3, 7:15): Ngata drove back Lilja and wrapped up Charles for a loss of 5 on what was as dominating a play by a DT that you will ever see. Kruger held the edge well against the double team from Maneri and Moeaki. Ngata continued to drag his prey back to his den for consumption until the whistle blew several times to remind him this was a football game.
- (Q3, 4:28): Kruger again held the left edge versus TEs Maneri and Moeaki and got a piece of the tackle (not credited). McPhee pushed by Albert inside then twisted through traffic for the tackle.
- (Q4, 9:13): Kruger had a great get off and blew by Maneri outside to grab Charles for initial contact 4 yards in the backfield. Charles would wriggle free, but McClain cleaned up for a loss of 1. Kruger’s penetration proved more valuable when both McPhee and Cody were pancaked.
- (Q4, 6:44): The Chiefs zone blocked left and Lewis shot Gray’s cutback lane to take him down for a loss of 1.
- I can’t recall Lewis having a more frustrating game against the run. Whether blocking straight ahead or using zone techniques, the Chiefs were able to get a helmet on him all day. His 9 run tackles were 8, 6, 11, 5, 3, 3, 5, 4, and -1 yards from the line of scrimmage.
- Kruger was consistently handled by Maneri and Moeaki on the Chiefs’ positive plays although he also made a significant contribution to 7 of the 10 negative run plays for the Chiefs. Does this mean Kruger will be the starter and edge setter going forward? I’d still say no. Kansas City is an NFL oddity that doesn’t trust any of their QBs to throw and has run with extreme success despite an unbalanced attack. Their single dimension gave the Ravens more options to get in the backfield and Kruger was exceptional in his ability to exploit the situation. Kruger also had a fine day as a pass rusher in what was easily his finest game as a Raven.
- Lilja was easily the Chiefs’ MVP on the line with numerous level 2 blocks spread among the Ravens’ linebackers. A career guard, he will turn 31 on 10/15 and was playing just his 2nd game at center.
- The Ravens’ 2nd-half success was in part due to more effective run blitzing where they took chances getting a player out of position in the backfield, but had more success blowing up plays than not and were not burned by many quick-hitting pass plays.
- McClellan got surprisingly little play despite his solid edge setting to date. He did not play at all on the last 4 drives.
- The Chiefs ran 32 times for 4.3 YPC with Kemo in the game. On 19 snaps with Cody inserted, the Ravens allowed just 2.1 YPC.
- The Ravens did not have a single deceptive pass rush.