By Mike Preston, The Baltimore Sun
7:23 PM EST, January 9, 2011
Quarterback: Joe Flacco may have played his best game, certainly in the postseason. He carried the offense when there was no running game in the first half. He kept drives alive with his scrambling ability. He looked off his primary receivers and came back to them. Grade: A.
Running backs: The Ravens struggled early in the game, but they came on in the second half as the Ravens wore down Kansas City. It was nice seeing the running game finish off a team in the fourth quarter, especially Willis McGahee's 25-yard run. Kansas City had no answers for Ray Rice as a receiver out of the backfield, and fullback Le'Ron McClain did a nice job of pass blocking. Grade: B.
Offensive line: Tackles Michael Oher and Marshal Yanda had problems handling Kansas City's ends and outside linebackers on pass-rushing situations, but the Ravens made some adjustments in the second half. The Ravens wore down the Chiefs in the second half, especially in the middle of the defense. The Ravens, though, still gave up four sacks. Grade: C+.
Receivers: The Kansas City secondary is still looking for tight end Todd Heap, who had 10 catches for 108 yards. Heap's timing with Flacco was exceptional. The Ravens also rediscovered receiver Anquan Boldin who had five receptions for 64 yards including one for a touchdown. Kansas City, for some reason, left the middle of the field open and the Ravens took advantage. Grade: A.
Defensive line: Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles had a strong first half, but was taken out of the game once the Ravens got a lead. A slow start by this group, but it physically wore down Kansas City in the second half. Tackles Haloti Ngata and Kelly Gregg got some good penetration of running plays, and Gregg made a big play that turned the game around early in the third quarter. Grade: B+.
Linebackers: The Chiefs did a good job of getting to inside linebackers Ray Lewis and Jameel McClain in the first half, and McClain also took some bad pursuit angles. But once the Ravens adjusted to Charles' speed, they bottled him up in the second half. Jarret Johnson was strong in run support, and Terrell Suggs became a dominant force once Matt Cassel was forced to throw. Grade: B+.
Secondary: The Ravens cornerbacks and safeties missed tackles early in the game, which is why Kansas City had success in running the ball. Cornerback Chris Carr did a nice job of covering Dwayne Bowe, and the other plays that were open were short ones, and the Ravens came up quickly to shut them off. The Ravens were never seriously challenged. Grade: A.
Special teams: Both punter Sam Koch and kicker Billy Cundiff did a nice job of directional kicking when ordered, and when he wasn't, Cundiff got plenty of distance on his kickoffs. Cundiff also converted on three field goals. Jalen Parmele returned only one kickoff, but it was for 29 yards. Grade: A.
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