Kansas City Chiefs rookie cornerback Marcus Peters intercepted Baltimore Ravens quarterback Jimmy Clausen twice in the fourth quarter, including a 90-yard return for a touchdown, and the Chiefs defense keyed an important 34-14 win that keeps Kansas City in control of their playoff fate. And for the second time in three games, safety Tyvon Branch contributed a defensive score when he picked up a Buck Allen fumble and raced 73 yards for a touchdown that put the Chiefs up 14-7 at the time.
Click here for the full box score from ESPN.com
With the win – their eighth straight – the Chiefs became the first team in NFL history to follow up a five-game losing streak with an eight game win streak. Most importantly, they secured a tighter grip on the fifth playoff spot with two home games against Cleveland and Oakland left in their roller coaster season.
t was a strange day for the Chiefs (9-5) as they failed the so-called “eye test” often against a 4-10 Baltimore team that had been decimated by injury. However, on a day when the small plays seemed to be out of the Chiefs’ grasp, big plays dominated. The offense seemed to stall and sputter on nearly every drive, yet Charcandrick West rushed for a 38-yard touchdown on the opening series and finished the game with a respectable 76 yards rushing on 16 carries.
Alex Smith was under a constant rush from Baltimore’s huge defensive front seven, and never seemed to be able to complete a pass over five yards. However, he finished the game completing 21-of-25 passes (a career-high 84% completion percentage) for 171 yards and a touchdown. He had a 29-yard throw to Travis Kelce, and a 13-yard touchdown strike to Jeremy Maclin that put the Chiefs up 21-7 in the second quarter. But has often been the case during the winnng streak, Smith did not throw an interception or have a fumble and has now only thrown one interception in his last 340 pass attempts. Smith even spent the last two minutes of the blowout win on the sidelines while back-up Chase Daniel finished the game.
The defense gave up a whopping 366 total yards to a team playing essentially a fourth-string quarterback who played his first eight games of the year on another team, and a practice squad running back tandem that wasn’t even on the team a month ago. However, other than a poorly-played 48-yard touchdown pass given up on a last-second Hail Mary throw in the first half, the defense played so well that no one watching thought Baltimore would ever make the game close.
And the special teams that had played poorly for the last two games, made some boneheaded plays again on Sunday, the least of which was punt returner Frankie Hammond Jr. running backwards 10 yards deep in his end of the field when he should have just fair caught the ball at the 23-yard line. However, Dustin Colquitt put three of his five punts out inside the Baltimore 20 and kicker Cairo Santos nailed four extra points through the middle of the uprights. He added two no-doubt field goals including a career-best 53-yarder before halftime that gave the Chiefs a 24-7 lead.
But the biggest play of the game might have been turned in by the special teams when Baltimore inexplicably tried a fake punt deep in their own end of the field in the first quarter on a 4th-and-nine call. Replays showed that the Ravens had blocked it perfectly – and the Chiefs special teams undoubtedly knew no one would be stupid enough to try a fake there – and punter Sam Koch gave it a gritty try, but the Chiefs tackled him short of the first down marker. The Chiefs were up 14-7 at the time and had the ball on the Baltimore 24-yard line. Three plays later, Smith hit Maclin in the end zone and the rout was officially on.
The Chiefs will play the Cleveland Browns next Sunday at Arrowhead and if the Pittsburgh Steelers should lose to the Denver Broncos today, (the Broncos currently lead 20-7 in the second quarter) then Kansas City could wrap up a playoff spot with a win over the Browns.