Sunday, February 13, 2011

Kansas City Chiefs vs. Baltimore Ravens Retro Diary

A week past the Super Bowl felt like the proper time to conclude football season (as well as Dirkness sports articles for a temporary attempt at movies) by finally sitting down to re-watch the Chiefs-Ravens playoff clash. You see the game an entirely different way watching on TV than you do in attendance at the game. For starters, at the game, you're more focused on the end result of each play as opposed to what led to the result of a play. All you care about is being as loud as humanly possible and witnessing success. I feel like you're more in tune with the game because you're feeling many of the same emotions that the players are feeling (the atmosphere, the weather, momentum, etc.) At home, you're in constant reminder of what players are doing what, and more in tune of WHY stuff is happening. You're usually more aware of the tiny nuances that make the game so beautiful (in game adjustments, breaking tendencies, injuries, replays, etc.). I've made a point to re-watch every Chiefs game I attended throughout the year so that I was able to get the best of both worlds. Time was both available and needed after, what turned out to be, the last game of a GREAT Kansas City Chiefs season.

I've decided I'm gonna attack this article in a Sports Guy retro diary kind of way, sharing thoughts with you as the game goes on in chronological order.

12:00 - I LOVE the CBS pregame hype-up videos. I feel instantaneously fired up about this game, almost like we've been given a second chance.

12:03 - Jim Nantz: "It snowed overnight here, but now it's just cold."

12:05 - Eric Berry almost picks off the pass on the very first play of the game, which I half remember. Now realizing that I'm gonna cringe at every missed opportunity that could've altered the outcome of this game.

12:08 - Flowers follows that with another near INT

12:10 - "Houshmandzadeh has been involved in some jawing on the last two plays." This is the point where I tried to decipher which race he was so I could hurl vulgar slurs his way. I settled on "vagina."

12:12 - Fumbled Flacco snap on 1st and goal at the 1 yard line. Missed opportunity number 3 of the first drive.

12:13 - Ray Rice is a bitch.

12:15 - Berry finishes his up-and-down drive with a terrific breakup of a pass. Heap beat him for multiple 3rd down conversions on the drive. It seemed like Berry was involved on every single play of that drive, which I think is a good thing. I can't remember the last Chiefs goalline stand from the 1 yard line, and if I didn't know the end result of this game, I'd say that was huge. 3-0 Ravens.

12:18 - The blimp view displays a "Go Chiefs" between two arrowheads and HyVee logos in the stands. How did this happen? Was it superimposed? Was everybody holding up cards of some sort? SOMEBODY ANSWER ME!

12:20 - Beautiful deep fade throw to Moeaki on the second play for the Chiefs offense and he lands just out of bounds. The bipartisan part of me is thinking none of the breaks are going our way.

12:21 - God Jam gets rocked on his first carry and pops up emphatically with a nice Wilhelm scream. Mutual respect begins to radiate out of Ray Lewis' body. Chiefs punt.

12:27 - 3rd and 11 swing pass to Ray Rice picks up a first down. I had heard endless criticism of Jon McGraw from this game. There's the first piece of evidence.

12:28 - Haley challenges after the Ravens get the first down by a few inches (great balancing effort by The Pocket Butthole, Ray Rice). Don't like challenging calls in the first quarter unless it's a huge play or obvious. I think what he really wanted to challenge was his decision to keep McGraw on the roster.

12:36 - First goosebumps of the game watching Tamba crawl around on the ground after strip-sacking Flacco. The Chiefs get their first break of the game with Joe's non-recovery skills.

12:37 - First play after the turnover is a flea flicker, another play I didn't remember. Love the call. Kevin Curtis was open. Wait, who?

12:37 1/2 - Before the snap, I scream at the top of my lungs, "RUN JAMAAL CHARLES!"

12:38 - GOD JAM CHARLES! His head-bobbing run was oddly reminiscent of Priest Holmes record breaking touchdown run (edit: the run I'm referring to a Priest run that came against the Miami Dolphins in a weird Friday night game, where he bobs his head just like JamaAL did for like 30 yards). At this point, I can't believe we could lose. 7-3 CHIEFS!

Game Pause: In search of this Holmes run I was referring to I stumbled across this video, which must immediately be seen by anybody who has ever cheered on the Chiefs. Roll it....

First off, the Priest arms out move is so fuckin' awesome that words cannot even describe it. Second, check out the Trent Green block on the run starting at the 3:08 mark. Third, pay attention to the score in the Minnesota game: Down 31-0 but score 3 TD's in about 5 minutes to cut it to 31-20. Lastly, Priest's record-setting run (the one I had gotten it confused with) came against the Bears and was so unbelievably brilliant that it transcended football (and life, for that matter) and exceeds anything I, or my children, or my children's children could ever accomplish.

12:41 - Nantz brings up God Jam's run against the Chargers from the season opener which confirms my sentiment that this game seems remarkably similar to. Opponent races out to an early lead, looks like it might pull away with it, until a long Charles run swings the tide.

12:44 - Really like how Eric Berry positions tape at both joints on his fingers. That IS badass.

End of 1st quarter - Can't believe how good the Chiefs look outside of 3rd down defense. The Ravens are completely unable to run the ball, but seem to find success on every short crossing route. Defense has been on the field for too much of the first quarter, confirmed by the Ravens 27-5 advantage in offensive plays.

12:47 - Eric Berry just made an unfathomably amazing play where he came from a deep safety position all the way across the field to break up a 5 yard drag route in the flat. My god Berry, my god.

12:48 - Ravens punt from the Chiefs' 40 yard line on 4th and 5. I break the World Record for most times yelling "vaginas" in public in a 60 second time span. Nate tallied 44, while Rob said 47.

12:51 - JamaAL Charles for 11 yards. JamaAL Charles for 8. JamaAL Charles for 7. Just sayin'.

12:53 - JamaAL fumble. I need a drink. Let it be known that the Chiefs were dominating up to this point.

12:57 - Interesting to note that his fumble wasn't the tide-turner that I thought it was. Following a Ravens' 3-and-out and bad punt, the Chiefs still stand in good shape. I sense doom though.

12:59 - Hold up! The "bad Ravens punt" was marked out of bounds at the 18 yard line by the side judge. Coming back from commercial the ball is sitting at the 13. This is bullshit! There was no penalty to speak of, and ESPN's play by play shows the punt going to the 13. But I just re-watched and double-checked it 5 times. I'm now debating writing a letter to the NFL asking them to reconsider the outcome of this game. I think it should be replayed from the moment of this punt, 9:12 left in the 2nd quarter.

Now, everybody's first reaction to this is gonna be, "Did it cost them the game?" Which nobody could reasonably argue, but this is a big business league. This is an NFL playoff game. I'm just a fan, but people's livelihoods are at stake on games like this. And no, that's not an exaggeration. I just don't understand how this could happen, and makes me question how often this happens.

1:00 - First play of the drive is a beautiful fake screen to McCluster quick slant to Moeaki over the middle. This is a play design with a very high chance to succeed.

1:01 - Next play is Jam Charles for 11, finishing the run by lowering his shoulder into Ravens CB Josh Wilson. "Charles shaken up right here Phil" may have been the biggest turning point in the game.

1:07 - McCluster gets absolutely trucked by Ed Reed to end the drive. These are the drives I was most curious about in re-watching this game, when the Chiefs had the ball and the lead. I think there was only two of them, and both were squandered by mistakes (Charles fumble, Albert false start on 3rd and 3).

1:08 - Ricky Price fucks up downing the punt inside the 5 yard line leads to me throwing a pillow in frustration. Maybe this wasn't such a good idea.

1:14 - Joe Flacco to Todd Heap on 3rd and 13 (McGraw on the coverage) is the biggest play of the game to this point. Ensures the Ravens with the last drive of the half, ultimately leading to the pull ahead score.

1:17 - Pretty good little cheap shot on Flacco from Jovan Belcher right there. Goes uncalled. Neither Berry nor McGraw can stop Heap (season highs in catches and yards before half).

1:20 - Apparent miscommunication between DJ and McGraw leads to Rice touchdown. DJ doesn't run with him, and looks around after he scores like he thought somebody should've been there. McGraw jumped a slant over the middle from the opposite side, which was already well covered by Berry. McGraw went with his instincts. Good eye manipulation by Prop Joe. Ravens 10-7.

HALFTIME - It's frustrating because I really feel like the Chiefs were the superior team in the first half. KC owned the line of scrimmage, finding plenty of room to run the ball, while the Ravens could hardly muster anything on the ground, hanging around with long 3rd down conversions thrown to Todd Heap. Cassel only attempted 5 passes in the 1st half, none of which in D-Bowe's direction obviously. Without knowledge of the end result, I would feel confident in the Chiefs coming back in the 2nd half.

1:38 - I had no idea Matt Cassel played in the Little League World Series, but I love that his nickname was "Moose."

1:39 - Chiefs come out pass, pass, pass on the first drive. The second pass was a fake screen to McCluster, screen to McCluster, truly one of the worst play designs I've seen of the Chiefs season. The third pass was intercepted, at which point Ed Reed immediately begins clapping his hands wanting the pitch, which the Japanese Ravens finally does, only to get it stripped away. Who forced the fumble AND recovered it? That would be Jamaal Charles.

1:40 - Oh yea, what an incredibly stupid play by Reed. I can't consider him one of the all-time greats after witnessing something that idiotic.

1:44 - I think it went largely unnoticed that Barry Richardson played a great game, atleast so far.

1:45 - Thomas Jones did a bad job of picking his hole on the 3rd and 1 prior to the biggest play of the game. If he plows behind Asamoah and Shaun Smith he easily gets the first down.

1:46 - Oy. The 4th and 1 toss to Charles was unbelievably bad. I watched the play over and over and I think the blame goes on Leonard Pope, who was slow to get out of his stance, and then stumbled into his block, giving the Ravens' Jarret Johnson the corner, forcing Charles to cut it back. It's funny how you never know which player can be involved in the biggest play of your season, and sometimes it's someone like Leonard Pope not executing, and that's all it takes. You never know.

1:49 - Wow, I can't believe they just called that Roughing the Passer on Tamba Hali. I guess that makes up for the non-call on Belcher. I guess...

1:50 - Eric Berry just caught a pass that happened to be in 'Quan Boldin's chest.

1:51 - Ray Rice is a bitch.

1:52 - Obvious holding call on Oher vs. Dorsey goes uncalled.

1:54 - I feel like the Chiefs have missed so many opportunities in this game that I want another shot to cheer them on harder. I can do better! Ravens 13-7.

1:58 - Intentional grounding call was absolute bullshit. D-Bowe ran an out, was covered, and cut up field, at which point Moose Cassel threw it, only D-Bowe stopped on it, giving the appearance of intentional grounding. I'm now booing at my TV.

2:01 - Don't ask me my thoughts on Dexter McCluster until next season unless you want to see a grown man bitch and moan like an 8 year old girl.

2:02 - Awful illegal contact penalty on Eric Berry. This quarter is being officiated atrociously bad, one of the worst I've ever seen.

2:06 - It's tough to say the defense didn't do their job in this game after stuffing the Ravens on yet another red zone trip. 16-7 Ravens.

2:09 - Leonard Pope manhandled by Suggs on a running play that looked promising. Cut him, cut him now.

2:10 - Cassel interception. It's fair to say he's entering "shitting his pants" territory.

2:11 - After the announcers talked about how the Ravens were going to attack Brandon Carr all game long, I don't think they've thrown at him a single time.

2:12 - At this point, the Chiefs defense is playing 10-on-11 with Mike Vrabel on the field.

2:13 - I think I'm becoming a Tyson Jackson fan.

2:16 - At this point the Chiefs felt the same way that I did up in the stands. Fight!

2:18 - Flowers chews out Vrabel after touchdown throw to 'Quan. Changing of the guard on the defense? Ravens 23-7.

End of 3rd quarter - This 3rd quarter fits every necessary criterion to be classified as a complete and utter meltdown (and I wrote that before the Cassel tuck rule call).

2:20-2:35 - (Pouting...)

2:36 - Awesome back-to-back play sequence where Oher drives Belcher's face back well after the whistle followed by Belcher kicking him in the face to get off of him. Next play Belcher punks Oher in the face after the play, faux-knocking him to the ground. Somebody should tell him that Sandra Bullock sucks as a person.

2:39 - Of all the bad plays in the game, I think the Demorrio Williams offsides on the Ravens punt may have been the most depressing.

2:44 - Awesome. Things got so chippy, with scuffles after each play, that the refs went to both head coaches and told them, "Stop it!"

2:48 - McGahee scores a TD and then this happens....

2:54 - Ray Lewis is pacing the sideline like he just murdered somebody and got away with it.

Final: Baltimore Ravens 30, Kansas City Chiefs 7 - Just remember Chiefs fans, something like 7 straight postseason losses can build character (yes, in you as a fan), and it will make that streak-breaking victory all the sweeter. Trust me, fans of teams that win all the time don't cherish it, and would long for the emotions that will overtake us when it happens.

Goodnight everybody,
His Dirkness

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