I doubt that it's a surprise to most that Kansas City lost to the Baltimore Ravens but, for Chiefs fans, the bigger disappointment was how the Chiefs lost. Much will be made of the team's five turnovers, the inability to get anything going offensively and the fact that Pro Bowl receiver Dwayne Bowe not only didn't have a catch but didn't even have a ball thrown his way.
Let's focus, though, on two other key happenings in the game which caused this loss:
1. It's become a tired saying but it's true--in the playoffs, the teams that win are the ones which don't make mistakes. And, Kansas City made a couple of big mistakes towards the end of the first half. K.C. had the ball at their 47, up 7-3, with third and three. After an officiating timeout, the Chiefs had a false start penalty, then failed to make third and eight. Dustin Colquitt's punt bounded down to the one but two Chiefs defenders ran into each other, failing to down the ball deep in Ravens' territory. Baltimore got the ball at the 20, drove the length of the field to score, and went up 10-7 prior to the half. They took that momentum and used it to their advantage in a dominant third quarter, thus ending the contest. The mistakes of the penalty and the inability to make the play on the perfect punt led directly to the Ravens' go-ahead TD.
2. The stat of the day had to be time of possession--Baltimore had the ball an amazing 41:44 to the Chiefs' 18:16. The Chiefs' offense failed to control the tempo of the game, once Kansas City got the lead. And, once behind, we all knew that K.C. would be in trouble given their inability to mount a comeback from more than a seven point deficit all year.
Let's not let a playoff loss diminish what this team, and this franchise, accomplished in the 2010 season. Yet, let's hope that the team, and coaches, learn from this game and the loss to Oakland which ended the Chiefs' season with a whimper--while much has been accomplished, there is still a long road to go for the Chiefs to be a conference champion contender.