KC-BAL Grades: Conservative play of Smith enough to secure win
Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Chiefs’ 34-14 win against the Ravens:
Kansas City Chiefs
– Despite being labeled as a very conservative quarterback, Alex Smith (+0.9) has been taking an increasing amount of deep shots in recent weeks. However, that was not the case yesterday, as we saw the old Smith, who took very good care of the football and did not want to risk or force anything downfield. In fact, Smith was the only quarterback this week who played the entire game for his team and did not attempt a single pass 20 or more yards downfield. Nevertheless, Smith was very efficient in the short passing game, as he completed all 17 of his pass attempts less than 10 yards from the line of scrimmage.
– With the injury of Spencer Ware, the Chiefs had to turn to running back Charcandrick West (+0.3) to carry the ball, and while he did not have a spectacular game, he did what they asked of him. Although, West averaged only 1 yard after contact and forced only one missed tackle, occasionally he showed good burst, especially on his 38-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.
– CB Marcus Peters (+0.5) had one of those games when someone looking at the box score could think he was absolutely dominant, possibly the best player on the field. However, while Peters indeed allowed only four receptions on 11 targets and recorded a pass defense and two interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown; the story does not end there. On the four receptions, Peters actually allowed 86 yards, including 46 after the catch, and he also had a missed tackle. In addition, there were multiple times when Peters was far behind his assigned receiver; his not allowing a big reception was only due to the inaccuracy of Baltimore quarterback Jimmy Clausen (-1.4).
OLB Tamba Hali (+2.3)
S Tyvon Branch (+1.9)
DE Jaye Howard (+1.5)
LB Josh Mauga (+1.4)
RT Jah Reid (+1.2)
– With the inconsistent performance of most pass catchers, Kamar Aiken (+1.6) was the one who stepped up and tried to help quarterback Jimmy Clausen (-1.4) the most. Even though Aiken recorded one of the four dropped passes for the Baltimore offense, it seemed like good things can happen to the Ravens offense only when he is targeted. He made several impressive athletic catches, including the one at the end of the first half, when he caught a 48-yard Hail Mary touchdown pass from Clausen. Aiken caught 8 of his 13 targets for 128 yards and a touchdown, and as a result, Clausen had a passer rating of 120.0 when targeting him.
– Rookie outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith (+1.1) had one of the better games of his young career yesterday. Smith was able to flash ability in rushing the passer by picking up two sacks on 19 pass rush snaps. However, he was actually more impressive against the run than rushing the passer, as he often managed to set the edge and recorded a run stop as well. Although this is not much, Smith was one of the few Baltimore defenders who had a solid game.
– Although Alex Smith (+0.9) did not test the Baltimore pass defense vertically, the Ravens defenders still had problems stopping the Chiefs’ passing game, as they let the receivers turn short passes into longer gains. While Kansas City gained only 176 yards through the air, 111 of those came after the catch, due to some great work from the Chiefs’ receivers and the inability of Baltimore’s defense to make crucial tackles in space. Linebackers C.J. Mosley (-1.6), Zachary Orr (-1.7), and Daryl Smith (-1.7) all struggled as they allowed eight receptions on 10 targets for 80 yards, including 46 after the catch.
LG Ryan Jensen (+3.7)
RG Marshal Yanda (+3.7)
DT Brandon Williams (+2.7)
WR Kamar Aiken (+1.6)
RB Terrance West (+1.3)