Posted Jan 9, 2011

KANSAS CITY – The Chiefs were within striking distance at halftime, trailing by only a 10-7 margin, but four second-half turnovers doomed Kansas City as Baltimore pulled away for a 30-7 victory in an AFC Wild Card Game at Arrowhead. Kansas City finished the season with a 10-7 overall record after claiming the club’s first division title since 2003.


The third quarter got off to an inauspicious start for the Chiefs as S Haruki Nakamura picked off a Chiefs pass on the third snap of the second half. However, RB Jamaal Charles forced and recovered a fumble on the return, giving the Chiefs a temporary reprieve as QB Matt Cassel drove the Chiefs into Ravens territory. Faced with a fourth and one at the Baltimore 34-yard line and in cold conditions, the Chiefs eschewed a potential 51-yard FG attempt, but Charles was stopped for a four-yard loss.

Kansas City would get no closer to the end zone for the remainder of the game. Baltimore ran 78 offensive plays and held a 41:44 to 18:16 advantage in time of possession for the game. The Chiefs defense did register 4.0 sacks in the contest, including 2.0 from LB Tamba Hali, who became the first Kansas City defender to register a sack and fumble recovery in a postseason contest since DE Neil Smith at San Diego (1/2/93). Rookie S Eric Berry finished the game with four passes defensed.

The Chiefs won the toss, deferred to the second half and kicked off to open the game. Flacco completed a 29-yard pass to TE Todd Heap on third and eight to keep the Ravens opening drive moving into Chiefs territory. Heap finished the contest with 10 receptions for 108 yards. Baltimore converted another third-down play before Flacco found Heap for 13 yards to get to the Chiefs one-yard line. A fumbled snap resulted in no gain on first down. The Chiefs defense stuffed the Ravens on second down as LB Derrick Johnson and DE Shaun Smith brought RB Willis McGahee down at the line of scrimmage.

The staunch Kansas City defense completed the goal line stand as pressure forced Flacco out of the pocket and his pass to Heap was broken up by S Eric Berry in the end zone. K Billy Cundiff converted a 19-yard FG to take the 3-0 lead with 9:01 left in the first quarter.

Kansas City was forced to punt on its opening drive after going three and out. On Baltimore’s next drive, Hali recorded a sack and strip of Flacco and managed to jump on the ball, giving the Chiefs possession at the Baltimore 46-yard line. Two plays later, RB Jamaal Charles reeled off a 41-yard TD scamper through the left side of the line to put the Chiefs up 7-3 with 2:09 left in the first half.

WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh hauled in a Flacco pass and took it 28 yards to the Kansas City 45-yard line. On third and five, Berry broke up Flacco’s pass for WR Anquan Boldin. Kansas City took over on its own 14-yard line after the Baltimore punt.

Charles reeled off runs of 11, eight and nine yards to open the drive before fumbling the ball at the Baltimore 44-yard line. Ravens NT Brandon McKinney recovered at the Baltimore 45. On third and four, Hali registered his second sack of the day, dropping Flacco at the line of scrimmage.

After the Chiefs were forced to punt, LB Jovan Belcher dropped Flacco for a sack on first down. On third and 13, Flacco hit Heap for 13 yards and a first down. Heap hauled in another Flacco pass for 21 yards to get to the Chiefs 34-yard line. A nine-yard TD pass from Flacco to RB Ray Rice put the Chiefs up 10-7 with 0:19 left to play before halftime, capping an 11-play, 80-yard scoring drive.

Kansas City got the ball to open the second half. A bit of luck helped the Chiefs find their offensive rhythm as Cassel’s pass for Moeaki was off his hands and was intercepted by S Haruki Nakamura at the Chiefs 35-yard line. As he was returning the INT, Charles forced a fumble and recovered the ball at the KC 32-yard line, giving the Chiefs a fresh set of downs.

On third and nine, Charles caught a 15-yard pass to keep the drive alive. Kansas City moved the ball to the Baltimore 33-yard line where they were faced with fourth and one. Charles lost four yards on fourth down, giving the Ravens the ball at their own 38-yard line.

Flacco hit WR Derrick Mason for 11 yards on first down, and an unnecessary roughness penalty gave the Ravens an extra 15 yards. A 13-yard strike moved Baltimore inside the Red Zone. Flacco’s third-down pass for Heap was broken up by Berry and Cundiff connected on a 29-yard FG to extend the Ravens lead to 13-7 with 6:36 left in the third quarter.

After the FG, Cassel was called for an intentional grounding penalty, forcing second and 20. Cassel was sacked for a five-yard loss on second down and WR Dexter McCluster fumbled the ball at the KC 16-yard line. The ball was recovered by CB Chris Carr at the 17-yard line. The Ravens only managed to move the ball to the 11-yard line before Cundiff put a 29-yard FG through the uprights, putting the Ravens up 16-7 with 4:20 left in the third quarter.

On second and nine, Cassel’s pass for Moeaki was intercepted by S Dawan Landry at the Kansas City 30-yard line and returned to the 21-yard line. An illegal block penalty pushed Baltimore back 10 yards. A 13-yard Flacco to Heap pass moved the ball to the Kansas City five-yard line. After a one-yard FB Le’Ron McClain run, Flacco hit WR Anquan Boldin in the back of the end zone for a four-yard TD pass. The score put the Ravens up 23-7 with 0:27 left to play in the third quarter.

On the first play of the drive, the officials ruled that Cassel fumbled the ball and it was recovered by the Ravens. Head Coach Todd Haley challenged the play and the ruling on the field was overturned, giving the Chiefs the ball back. An incomplete pass on third down forced a Chiefs punt.

Kansas City forced a punt after the Ravens moved the ball to the 50-yard line but on fourth and three, the Chiefs jumped offsides before the punt, giving Baltimore a free five yards and a first down. Flacco hit Boldin for six yards on third and five, moving the ball to the KC 34-yard line. Rice rushed the ball three straight times and on fourth and one, McGahee broke free for a 25-yard TD, extending Baltimore’s lead to 30-7 with 4:26 left in the game.

Kansas City took over at the 40-yard line after the Ravens kicked out of bounds. Cassel was sacked twice on the drive and his fourth-down pass was intercepted by CB Josh Wilson at the Baltimore 34-yard line. Baltimore was able to run out the clock to seal the win.

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