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Chiefs continue to spoil Ravens' December


Chiefs continue to spoil Ravens' December

BALTIMORE – Two months ago, the Kansas City Chiefs had a five-game losing streak, and weren’t in anyone’s playoff conversation.

With two weeks to go in the season, the Chiefs have reeled off eight wins in succession, and fighting the New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers for the AFC’s two wild card berths.

The last quarter of the Ravens’ lost season gives them an opportunity to spoil the playoff plans of four teams, but for the second straight week, it was the Ravens who were spoiled.

A week ago, the streaking Seattle Seahawks beat the Ravens 35-6, and on Sunday, it was the Chiefs’ turn, 34-14.

Next Sunday, the Steelers, who are going to need the game, get their turn, and on Jan. 3, it’s the Cincinnati Bengals’. The Bengals may not need the game to secure a playoff berth, but may need a win to ensure a bye or even home field advantage.

The Chiefs’ ultra-efficient quarterback Alex Smith, completed 21 of his 25 passes for 171 yards, and in the second half was 9 for 10.

Most impressive was the nearly nine-minute drive that began the fourth quarter. Kansas City churned out five first downs and ended the drive with a 32-yard field goal by Cairo Santos.

“I thought it was just a good mix of things that were going on,” coach Andy Reid said.

Smith completed his longest pass of the game during that drive, a 29-yarder to Travis Kelce.

While not everything went the Chiefs’ way, most everything did. Two plays after the officials fail to acknowledge Reid’s red challenge flag after Chris Givens made a questionable catch on the sideline in front of Reid, Marcus Peters picked off Jimmy Clausen and went 90 yards for a touchdown.

RELATED: Buck Allen benched after rough first quarter

““I did throw it, I’m a little slow daggone,” Reid said. “I think I would have been right on it.”

Kansas City had two big plays on defense and one on special teams. In the first quarter, safety Tyvon Branch scooped up Buck Allen’s fumble and ran 73 yards for a score. In the fourth, there was Peters’ play. 

Late in the first quarter, deep in his own territory, Ravens punter Sam Koch tried an ill-advised fake punt, and Chiefs safety Daniel Sorensen sniffed it out.

“We were on the lookout for some strange things today, but I was really surprised that they tried a fake punt in that situation,” Sorensen said.

“I saw the punter take an extra step, and I turned around and met him to make the tackle. I was just about ready to run downfield, but that extra step made me stop.”

That led to Smith’s 13-yard pass to Jeremy Maclin and an unassailable 21-7 lead.

Peters had two interceptions, and punctuated his first one with a touchdown dance.

“I did know I was going to do that,” Peters said. “It’s one of those respect things for me. It’s big to come play in Ray Lewis’ house, he was here for a long I time, and he did a very good job, so that’s an honor and a salute to Ray Lewis. I knew if I got a pick I was going to do it regardless. It just helps that it was a pick-six,” Peters said.

Branch was flagged after his fumble recovery. After he scored, he ran up the tunnel leading to the visitors locker room and was penalized for a choreographed celebration.

“It’s my eighth year in the league, and I have a little bit of savvy-ness in me,” Branch said. “They stuffed the run, and I don’t know who got it out, but thank you.”

Smith didn’t see the fumble, which occurred on the opposite sideline.

“On the sideline you’re going nuts with that stuff. It’s a ton of fun. You’re like everybody else. You’re checking the replay,” Smith said.

Kansas City (9-5) ends its season with two games at home against Cleveland and Oakland. If the Chiefs win both, they’ll have a team record 10-game winning streak.

“We dug ourselves such a hole it really doesn’t matter. We’re just really crossing .500 here by a couple of games,” Reid said.

Kansas City has six defensive touchdowns.

“The defense, you see them kind of salivate,” Smith said.

Reid didn’t panic when his team lost five in a row, and he wasn’t ebullient after the eighth straight win.

“We’re not near where we need to be,” Reid said. “We were playing a lot of young guys. At one time we were playing the most young guys in the league. It’s been fun watching their maturation process.”

Reid’s team is methodical, and he knows it.

“It’s a unique team that way,” Reid said. “They feel opportunity. They do it. We can talk about it all you want, but they do it.”

MORE RAVENS: Aiken a bright spot in an otherwise dark Ravens season

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Ravens sign Crabtree to three-year deal

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Ravens sign Crabtree to three-year deal

The Baltimore Ravens have signed WR Michael Crabtree to a three-year deal on Friday according to general manager and executive vice president Ozzie Newsome.

The deal is apparently worth $21 million, according to Adam Shefter.

After being released by the Raiders Thursday following the signing of Jordy Nelson, Crabtree heads to the Ravens less than 24 hours later.


The 31-year-old is coming off a 2017 season when he recorded 58 receptions for 618 yards and eight touchdowns. In 2016 he posted 89 receptions for 1,003 yards and eight touchdowns.

Since 2015, the Texas Tech product has scored 25 receiving touchdowns, the fifth-most in the NFL. Crabtree and Steelers WR Antonio Brown are the only NFL players to post at least eight touchdown catches in each of the past three seasons.


In all, Crabtree has played nine NFL seasons – six of them with San Francisco (2009-14) and three with Oakland (2015-17). The former first-round draft pick (10th overall, Texas Tech) has registered 579 receptions for 6,870 yards (11.9 avg.) and 51 touchdowns in 125 career games (122 starts).

“Michael has played very well against the Ravens, so we know firsthand the attributes he brings to the game,” Newsome said in a team statement. “He is a smart, tough, physical receiver who battles for the ball. We like his temperament and believe he is a good fit for our football team, on and off the field.”

Since he entered the NFL in 2009, Crabtree’s 51 receiving scores rank 10th among active wide receivers, while his receptions (579) are seventh, and his receiving yards (6,870) are 12th.

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Ryan Grant's health issue and why the Ravens couldn't control voiding his contract

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Ryan Grant's health issue and why the Ravens couldn't control voiding his contract

The most obvious move in the NFL this offseason was the Ravens signing a new wide receiver (or three). It was less obvious why the team decided to commit so much money to former Redskins receiver Ryan Grant.

Grant has long been beloved by his coaches and teammates, but the results have never been there on game day. He has some potential to improve if given a larger role in a team's offense, which he likely would have had in Baltimore, but it never made much sense to offer him a 4-year contract worth nearly 30 million, with $14.5 million guaranteed.

Thankfully for fans who were uninspired by the reported agreement, Grant was unable to pass his physical and will not be joining the team.


At a press conference Friday morning, GM Ozzie Newsome called the void a "medical decision" that Newsome had no control over. 

NFL insider Ian Rapoport reported that Grant is recovering from a Grade 2 sprained ankle that would need two months rest.

You have to feel for Grant, who by all accounts has worked his tail off for many years just waiting for his chance. It's never easy missing out on nearly $15 million dollars guaranteed, but Grant should be able to find work with another team.

The timing of this news, coming so soon after former Raider Michael Crabtree became available, seemed fishy to some.

At Friday's press conference, Newsome also said the team would have still pursued Crabtree if they signed Grant. 

It's probably not fair to suggest that an NFL franchise would actually so publicly back out of a deal just because another option came along, as any team with that reputation would struggle to attract future free agents. That said, it could end up working out splendidly for the team.

Besides, if all else is equal, shouldn't a team located in Baltimore be going after a guy named CRABtree?