Week 5 Baltimore at Kansas City Analysis

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We watched the tapes of Kansas City's win against NO and loss against SD. Here is what to expect from the Ravens/Chiefs game. First, some injury notes:

Injury Notes

Nothing much to say about the Ravens. The team has done an excellent job of staying healthy thus far. Flacco, T. Smith, and J. Reid are dealing with minor injuries, but expect all of them to be ready on Sunday.

The Chiefs, though mostly healthy, have a few injuries worth noting. DE Glenn Dorsey is questionable due to a calf injury. He did not play last week against the Chargers. Peyton Hillis is still dealing with the ankle injury that sidelined him during the Saints game in week three. He did not play last week. S Kendrick Lewis and WR Devon Wylie have been sidelined for four and three weeks, respectively, and are questionable to play this week. TE Kevin Boss's season ended when he was placed on IR yesterday due to a concussion.

The Breakdown

The Chiefs offense is exceedingly conservative. It seems they are (unsurprisingly) trying to mask a deficiency at QB. They hand the ball off A LOT; Charles has a combined 50 carries in the last two weeks. But they run a lot because they are good at it. Against San Diego, the Chiefs averaged 5.4 yards per rush with Charles, Draughn, and Gray. They like to get Charles running laterally. They love the outside zone runs and the quick toss. Charles had TD runs of 37 and 91 against SD and NO, respectively.

The KC line run blocks extremely well aside from #71 Jeff Allen. Allen was forced to play LG when starter Ryan Lilja took over at C for the day. Allen was bullied in the run game by San Diego DE Corey Liuget, who pushed Allen into the RB three times. Each time this forced the back to bounce outside for minimal gain. If KC does not have their starting line intact, Allen could be a favorable target for Ngata and our DL.

Cassel is a bad QB. There are many things he does poorly, but we will start with what he does well. On short dropbacks he gets the ball out quickly and tends to hit receivers on quick out routes, hitches, or stick routes over the middle. The Ravens will see a lot of this because the short pass is a staple of the KC offense. SD tended to challenge the KC receivers by using primarily man-coverage, and most of the KC receivers could not get open. The exception is Bowe. Bowe is their premiere receiver and had a respectable 108 yards on 7 receptions. Many of these receptions came on quick outs but Bowe had some success beating man coverage with double moves as well.

Cassel, though, has many flaws. He does not do well under pressure. He tends to hurry throws and he loves getting rid of the ball the second he feels rushed. This is why, against SD, 7 of his 24 completions went to RBs. In the SD game, Cassel had 20 attempts between 0 and 9 yards and he completed 14 of them. He had 7 attempts between 10 and 19 yards with 5 completions. And he had only 3 attempts with just 1 completion beyond 20 yards. Cassel has poor accuracy. This is particularly apparent on his deep throws. At 5:37 in 4Q, Bowe was wide open behind his defender, who he beat on a double move, and Cassel badly underthrew the ball. Bowe used his athleticism to come down with the jumpball at the goalline, but it could've been a much easier catch.

Additionally, Cassel threw 3 INTs, all when not pressured:

- One was a poor deep read. He read Cover 2-Man, but it was Cover 3, and he didn’t account for the driving safety

- One was intended for Tony Moeaki (2:59 2Q). Moeaki dropped the ball into the trailing man covering him, but the throw was also well behind him. Partially Cassel's fault.

- McCluster dropped a pass directly into hands of DB right before end of the half.

KC has reported this week that Brady Quinn has gotten more practice reps and may make an appearance. Being Ravens fans, most of us have seen Quinn’s work with the Browns. That he may play tells us a lot about Cassel right now. Another bad sign was the chants of "STAN-ZI, STAN-ZI" rang out in Arrowhead against SD. In case you don't know, Ricky Stanzi is the Chiefs third string quarterback. He is not good.

Bottom line: Good running game. Decent short pass game. Very vanilla offense. Injuries have caused issues. Jeff Allen being thrust into work because of an injury is bad. Having a change-of-pace back in Hillis would be beneficial. And McCluster is clearly limited. He was used as a "joker" moving all around the formation (RB, WR) and was a fast weapon. Arm injury clearly slowed him down.


This defense gave up 34 points to SD. But, SD only had 189 pass yards and 104 rush yards. So what was the difference? Turnovers. The offense put the D in 3 predicaments in the first half (starting SD field position at KC 28,6,and 28). But, make no mistake, this defense is very good. Their defensive line was very good against the run. The linebackers, especially Jovan Belcher and Derrick Johnson, really filled run lanes well and this defense defends the lateral run very well. Overall, this team didn’t really excel in rushing the passer (3 sacks, 2 additional pressures) but Hali made some notable plays. Against NO, Derrick Johnson was very good (Sack, 2 hurries, 8 tackles). This team's back end is good as well. They use SS Eric Berry as a Polamalu-esque player. He roams the LOS and rarely plays deep as this team shows a lot of Cover 1 and Cover 3. Berry doesn’t cover as well as Polamalu but he plays the run and rushes the passer very well. Flowers and Routt play man coverage well but they are asked to do it a lot. KC puts a lot of pressure on their corners and this is an area that BAL WR depth could exploit. Another weakness in this defense: They lose RBs out of the backfield so checkdowns gain big yards.

The whole team tackles very well. They have only 5 missed tackles in the last 2 games combined.

KC is good against man but BAL has receivers that can beat man-to-man deep and Flacco is not afraid to drop bombs into decent deep coverage.

We like Joe Flacco and Torrey Smith in this game, as well as the Ravens D since the Chiefs offense is inept. Ray Rice is an every week starter, even though he will likely not have a huge rushing game. He may, however, see value as a receiver out of the backfield. We would hope that the Ravens TEs see more action than last week (2 targets, 0 receptions). However, it is hard to tell from week-to-week how Cam will use them, which makes them tough to start. Pitta is probably a bye-week replacement or flex player in a deep league only. We wouldn't start Dickson.

Fun stats:

- Through four first quarters in 2012: Chiefs 6, Opposition 41

- Turnover margin: Chiefs an NFL-worst minus-13.

- San Diego's defense against KC -- 4 forced fumbles (recovered 3), 3 INTs, 3 sacks

- Chiefs are gaining 85 more yards per game than they are allowing and have allowed 12 more points per game than they've scored


Chris Worthington (Follow on Twitter @C_Dubs87)

Dan Bryden (Follow on Twitter @PlainMilksFine)


The opinions posted here are those of the administrator of this blog and his loyal readers. They are in no way official comments from the team, and should not be misconstued as such, even though he thinks he could do just as well or even a better job!

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