View Full Version : Chiefs Covitz:Defense struggles, particularly on third-down plays

Tribal Warfare
01-10-2011, 03:59 AM
Defense struggles, particularly on third-down plays (http://www.kansascity.com/2011/01/09/2572682/defense-struggles-particularly.html)
The Kansas City Star

Chiefs defensive end Shaun Smith didn’t need to look at a stat sheet. He knew right away where the Chiefs’ defense came up short in Sunday’s 30-7 loss to Baltimore in an AFC first-round game.

“We (stunk) on third down,” Smith said. “We couldn’t get off the field.”

The Ravens came into the game having converted just 82 of 210 third-down opportunities this season, or 39 percent. That ranked 18th in the NFL.

On Sunday, they converted nine of 17 third-down situations, or 53 percent. The league leader this year, Indianapolis, converted 44.6 percent. By converting so many third downs, the Ravens scored the third-most points in 14 playoff games in franchise history.

“They capitalized off our mistakes at the right time,” linebacker Derrick Johnson said. “When they needed to make a play, they made a play on third down. They were a tougher team. We pride ourselves on being tough, but we didn’t quite show an example of that today.”

Baltimore showed its third-down efficiency on the Ravens’ first drive of the game, when quarterback Joe Flacco converted on third and 8 with a 12-yard pass to tight end Todd Heap and third and 2 with a 7-yard flip to Heap, leading to a field goal.

The Flacco-to-Heap combination worked again in the second quarter as they picked up third and 13 with a 13-yard gain, leading to a 9-yard touchdown pass to Ray Rice that gave the Ravens the lead for good. That play, too, was on third down.

The Chiefs even challenged the spot of Baltimore’s third-down conversion when Flacco hit Rice for 11 yards and on third and 11 from the Ravens’ 14 in the first quarter. The call was upheld on the field.

“Flacco’s a great quarterback, and he’s playing on a great team,” linebacker Andy Studebaker said. “They do a good job of protecting him. He made some scrambles we wish we had back. We got some pressure on him, but he made some great decisions and made some third-down throws right on the money.”

Heap caught 10 passes in the game — the most by an opponent in Chiefs playoff history, topping the nine caught by Haywood Jeffires of Houston in the 1993 playoffs and Dallas Clark of Indianapolis in 2006. Four were third-down conversions.

“He’s a great player,” said safety Jon McGraw. “He’s hard to cover in space. They did some things to get him in space where we couldn’t get a lot of help.”

The Chiefs began the game by defending Heap with rookie strong safety Eric Berry, who had his moments, good and bad. He broke up four passes early in the game, including one in the end zone, but was beaten several times before giving way to McGraw.

“I figured they were going to come at me,” Berry said. “A big game … me and Kendrick’s (Lewis) first playoff game. During the first drive I was trying to feel him out. I realized I couldn’t press him. He’s not the fastest guy, but he’s a veteran. He knows all the little tricks, and you have to be prepared for that.”

While the Chiefs’ defensive players said Baltimore didn’t surprise them with anything, they were gouged for 390 yards — the Ravens’ third-best offensive performance of the season.

It didn’t help that the offense turned the ball over five times, giving the Ravens 41 minutes, 44 seconds of time of possession compared with just 18:16 for the Chiefs. Johnson said fatigue was not a factor.

01-10-2011, 09:10 AM
This doesnt look nearly as bad if the Chiefs dont turn the football over 4 meaningful times. That INT at the end didnt make any difference, other than to cement the Chiefs record for turnovers in a playoff game.

While they were setting team records, they also went ahead and snagged the NFL record for longest playoff losing streak at 7.

The D has been bend but dont break all year. We saw a prime example of that on the opening drive. Huge goal line stand, and then we go ahead 7-3.

Then we start turning the ball over. Charles coughs it up as we are driving toward a 2 score lead, and the others in the second half were down already in scoring range for the Ravens.

Hell man, by the time McGahee broke off that run for the TD at the end, the defense had been on the field over 70 plays. There wasnt anything left in these guys' tanks. Yeah, youd like to get off the field more on 3rd down and long, but at the same time youd also like your offense to give you a f*cking break that lasts longer than 1-3 plays.

The defense kept us in the game. Our inability to keep the football, and move it is what cost us the game.

01-10-2011, 10:48 AM
yeah as a fan in the stands, it just got annoying. You'd be cheering your ass off loud as hell, get em in a tough 3rd down situation, and then they'd convert and it just took almost everything out of you.