On the road, against an opponent loath to throw the ball, the offense not capitalizing Ravens fans have seen this one before. Theres a big difference, though. Last season, the result was an ugly loss in Jacksonville. On Sunday, the result was an ugly win in Kansas City.
And for those of you keeping score while waiting for tonights Orioles game, thats two ugly wins in a row. In this season of the no-huddle scheme that was expected to unleash the Ravens offensive potential, we werent supposed to see games like these.
Now, the previous win in this ugly streak did come on a Thursday night against the Browns, at the end of a grueling, four-games-in-18-days stretch, so whether the team was looking for excuses or not, it had a pretty good one. But Sundays 9-6 grinder against the Chiefs came with nine days between games.
If we look back at that Jacksonville debacle from 2011, there are several similarities: awful third-down efficiency for the Ravens (3-for-11 Sunday, 2-for-12 last year), opposing running back rushing for more than 100 yards (Jamaal Charles, 140; Maurice Jones-Drew, 105) and opponents barely there passing (Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn, 12 completions; Blaine Gabbert, nine).
But the key difference even more than the Chiefs give-it-to-me turnover tendencies was the Ravens ability and willingness to run the ball. Last year, Ray Rice got eight carries for 28 yards. On Sunday, Rice was handed the ball 17 times, and he responded with 102 yards.
Chewing up yardage on the ground can make up for a lot, and the Ravens proved that Sunday.