When the Baltimore Ravens hosted the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship, the team lost a devastating game that felt like they should have won. It is hard to not call it a choke. That comes from the players but also the game plan.
Baltimore Ravens failed to lean on the run against the Kansas City Chiefs
For the Ravens, they had an obvious path to victory. The Chiefs' pass defense is top five, while their run defense is bottom ten. The Ravens' rushing attack was the best in the NFL's entering. So, the best rushing attack against a nad rushing defense should have led to the team grinding out a win behind their offensive line and ground game. That simply did not happen.
The Ravens finished with 37 pass attempts and 16 rush attempts. Some of the rush attempts were Lamar Jackson scrambles. Two carries were by wide receiver Zay Flowers. Sure, the run game was not booming from the jump, but the Ravens immediately bailed and did not give it a chance to develop. Gus Edwards had just three rushes for 20 yards, and Justice Hill was at three rushes for three yards. Most of the runs were in short down and distance running into crowded boxes.
For the season, the team averages 28.6 pass attempts and 31.5 rush attempts. They threw the ball about six more times than normal and rushed the ball about 13 times less per game. They completely abandoned it. Yes, they were losing, especially in the second half, but the game was close the entire time. Kansas City never led by more than 10, and the Ravens had two chances on their own end that cost them. Something tells me that if they leaned on the run, those drives would have ended better.
The Ravens decided to attack the Chiefs' strength rather than their weakness. Fans will never forget that, and this will leave a big mark on Todd Monken as a playcaller moving forward.