BALTIMORE – Five things we learned watching the Chiefs win their eighth straight game, defeating the Ravens, 34-14, at M&T Bank Stadium:
1. The Ravens (4-10) didn’t start Matt Schaub, but still threw a pick-six. Their season can’t end fast enough.
Jimmy Clausen started at quarterback and could not escape the pick-six bug, throwing an interception that Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters returned 90 yards for a touchdown. Start Clausen next week, or start Schaub, or start Ryan Mallett. Does it really matter? Right now, the main goal is to finish the final two games with no more injuries.
2. The Chiefs (9-5) are not spectacular, but they are solid.
How have the Chiefs won eight straight? By doing the things the Ravens don’t do. The Chiefs don’t make careless mistakes. They force turnovers. They keep penalties to a minimum. Alex Smith (21 for 25, 171 yards) had another efficient day at quarterback. Unlike the Ravens, the Chiefs recovered from 1 1-5 start, and remained a playoff contender with two games left.
3. Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith (thigh) became the latest injured starter for them.
Smith left the game in the first series and never returned. While the severity of his injury was not immediately known, it appeared Smith may have pulled a hamstring chasing Charcandrick West on his 38-yard touchdown run. If that’s the case, Smth may not play again until next season.
4. Running back Buck Allen is in John Harbaugh’s doghouse.
Allen fumbled for the second time in two weeks. This time, Chiefs cornerback Tyvon Branch returned Allen’s fumble for a 73-yard touchdown. Harbaugh benched Allen the rest of the game, playing Terrance West and Terrence Magee at running back. Harbaugh has very little patience for running backs who fumble. Allen has run with authority since Justin Forsett suffered his season-ending broken arm. But Allen needs to get this fumbling issue solved before it creeps into his head.
5. Wide receiver Kamar Aiken (eight catches, 128 yards, one touchdown) continued to be a Ravens bright spot.
Aiken scored on a 48-yard Hail Mary to end the first half, and he has been a solid possession receiver all season. Aiken’s eight catches and 128 yards receiving were both career highs. When the Ravens sit down to plan next year’s roster, Aiken should be part of the mix.