Super Bowl LVIII, here we come. This conference championship stayed true to its billing, and both defenses put up a fight. However, the defending champs had more in them than most anyone gave them credit for heading into this AFC Title clash. Some pundits said the Kansas City Chiefs didn’t win even after the game. Instead, the Baltimore Ravens lost the game.
In reality, most agree that Lamar Jackson choked on the big stage. The Kansas City Chiefs won this game because they were more disciplined. When you try to narrow a performance down to a single player, which is your only excuse for their performance, you disrespect all the players on that team. Football is a team sport, and the best team won on Sunday. The Ravens struggled on both sides of the ball leading to their AFC Championship loss.
It wasn’t a single player who didn’t perform; it was the team that didn’t perform. The Ravens’ defense put up a valiant effort against the reigning MVP and Super Bowl MVP, but they came up short. Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offense outplayed them, period.
To continue disrespecting the Chiefs, only fuels their fire heading into the Super Bowl. The fact that they are now underdogs for the Super Bowl comes at peril for the pundits. The 49ers are 1.5-point favorites as of Monday. This will continue to fire up Mahomes and the company. Expect the Kansas City Chiefs to use that for motivation for the next two weeks.
Regardless of your opinion regarding the Chiefs’ mindset and motivation, one thing is sure. They possess the pedigree of a champion. I said this team has an air of inevitability. Will they climb the mountain again and find the Lombardi trophy waiting for them? I’ll answer you in my Super Bowl LVIII preview article next week.
The numbers were reasonable, but the playmaking was at a level the Ravens weren’t expecting from the Chiefs. Who would have thought that Travis Kelce would create a monster game like this? A select few thought he would get 11 targets, 11 receptions, 116 yards, no drops, one score, and six first downs. This was a vintage Kelce performance.
The defense caused two fumbles, both recovered by KC. One endzone pick by a fresh body in Deon Bush after coming in for an injured Mike Edwards. Four monster sacks by George Karlaftis, Justin Reid, and Turk Wharton, including a strip sack by Charles Omenihu that the defense recovered. That is precisely what Steve Spagnuolo envisioned. No wonder the defense had t-shirts printed that said: “In Spags We Trust.” How true!
The Chiefs’ defense was flying around the field and making plays left and right. They kept the pressure on Lamar Jackson and did not take their foot off the gas all game. They limited the best-rushing offense to 81 yards on 16 carries. This number included 54 yards by Jackson and only 27 yards by the rest of their team. Overall, the Ravens outgained the Chiefs by 255 yards to 230 yards, but the Chiefs still won. The Chiefs dominated in time of possession 37:30 minutes against the Ravens 22:30 minutes. The Chiefs got 74 plays in, while the Ravens only got 58.
Therein lies the story of this game.
The Chiefs outmuscled the Ravens in plays and time of possession. It wasn’t pretty, but it certainly did the trick. Domination like that takes experience and patience. The Chiefs are champions for a reason; they stay true to themselves. They keep the appropriate mindset. They win and lose as a team. They keep their cool, and they remember how they got there.
This team and this performance come as no surprise to most of us. Look at Mahomes and Kelce with a record-setting performance. The most prolific playoff duo in NFL history, with 16 touchdowns passing Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski on the all-time list. Meanwhile, Kelce has risen over the great Jerry Rice in playoff receptions with 156 to Rice’s 151. And the cool thing? They aren’t done yet!
I’ll review the Super Bowl LVIII matchup with a two-part article previewing Super Bowl LVIII. Until then, let me say this to Chiefs Kingdom – BELIEVE!!!