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Ravens – Chiefs (10-17): Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce as bosses!

Baltimore Ravens (1) – Kansas City Chiefs (3): 10-17

Carried by their duo Patrick Mahomes – Travis Kelce in attack, and very solid in defense to contain Lamar Jackson, the Chiefs laid down the law in Baltimore during the AFC Final this Sunday. Kansas City returns to the Super Bowl and will try to achieve the double in two weeks, in Las Vegas.

The key moment: the Zay Flowers fumble

First action of the fourth quarter. While trailing 7-17, the Ravens thought they would score a touchdown when receiver Zay Flowers ran at full speed towards the opposing end zone.

But that's when Chiefs cornerback L'Jarius Sneed takes the action out of the game by causing a fumble one yard from his endzone. Instead of a touchdown which would have allowed Baltimore to come back to 14-17, it gives a touchback and ball returned to Kansas City.

The Ravens will not recover.

Film of the match

Kansas City starts the match in the best way. After stopping the Ravens' attack on the first drive of the game, the Chiefs moved up the field using their lethal weapon: the Patrick Mahomes – Travis Kelce duo. The star quarterback completes his first five throws and finds his tight end three times, once on a fourth down then in the endzone on a 19-yard pass. 7-0 for the Chiefs, big cold snap on Baltimore!

The reaction of the Ravens is not long in coming. First, Lamar Jackson breaks through the Chiefs defense for a 21-yard gain on a fourth down. Afterwards ? He shows why he is the NFL MVP this season: under pressure, Jackson avoids the sack before sending a 30-yard bomb to Zay Flowers for the touchdown. This is called setting the record straight (7-7).

After this start to the match at 100 miles per hour, the Chiefs will take control of the clock: for nine minutes, the attack remains on the field. Between short passes, running game, and Patrick Mahomes' ability to use his legs at the right time, Kansas City is moving forward slowly but surely. The Chiefs are particularly effective on third downs, with a Mahomes – Kelce tandem which is performing again. And in the end, we have the runner Isaiah Pacheco who forces the passage to reach the end zone (7-14).

The Chiefs then have a golden opportunity to widen the gap. They cause a fumble by sacking Lamar Jackson, and thus find themselves in excellent position on the field. Unfortunately for them, this golden opportunity turned into a missed opportunity when they were stopped on a fourth down in the opposing red zone.

What if this was a turning point?

In any case, this defensive boost does not allow the Ravens to revive. Lamar Jackson may well make a pass for… himself, Baltimore cannot find any rhythm in attack and frustration sets in. Unnecessary penalties plague the locals, who concede an additional field goal before the break (7-17).

The start of the second half is clearly dominated by the defenses. Five drives, five punts. That suits Kansas City, but not Baltimore, which desperately needs a spark.

This spark comes in the last minute of the third quarter, when Lamar Jackson finds Zay Flowers for 54 yards! Four plays later, the first finds the second, who goes for a touchdown… at least that's what we believe. But L'Jarius Sneed comes out of nowhere to cause a fumble just in front of the endzone. The referees indicate the touchback, the blow is terrible for the Ravens.

With their backs against the wall, Lamar Jackson and his teammates take all the risks. And when you take all the risks, sometimes things break. Jackson throws a terrible interception looking for Isaiah Likely for the touchdown with less than seven minutes remaining.

One mistake too many.

As champions, Kansas City will manage the end of the match well to qualify for the Super Bowl (10-17). A 32-yard reception from Marquez Valdes-Scantling on a third down definitively puts an end to the Ravens' hopes. The disappointment is enormous for Baltimore.

The MVP: the duo Patrick Mahomes – Travis Kelce (Chiefs)

Last week, Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce became the most prolific touchdown duo in NFL Playoff history. This Sunday, they once again caused damage on the big stage.

Overall well protected against the big Ravens defense (despite the absence of All-Pro guard Joe Thuney), Mahomes was clean: 30/39 passing, 214 yards, 1 touchdown, 0 turnover.

Travis Kelce was perfect: 11 times targeted, 11 receptions, 116 yards, 1 touchdown. Taylor Swift's boyfriend even broke Jerry Rice's record for the greatest number of receptions in the Playoffs. A monster.

The flop: the Ravens attack

If Lamar Jackson made some flashes, his attack took on water against the super solid defense of the Chiefs. Very often put under pressure, the probable MVP of the season did not have a good evening (20/37 passing, 272 YDS, 4 sacks), and sent a horrible interception in the last quarter. He finished with two turnovers in total, to which must also be added the Zay Flowers fumble.

But above all, the Ravens never managed to impose their running game, which nevertheless represented their great offensive strength this season. Only 81 yards on the ground, including 54 for Lamar, and barely 16 races attempted. Being behind for a good part of the match partly explains this low figure, but Baltimore did not really play to its strengths this Sunday.

The stat: 38 minutes of possession for the Chiefs

38 minutes at 22.

Here is the distribution of time of possession in this AFC Final, largely to the advantage of Kansas City. We know how much this statistic matters at this level of the competition, and it symbolizes the Chiefs' controlled match.

It is all the more telling since Baltimore was in the Top 5 of the NFL in this category during the regular season…

And now ?

Reigning champions, the Chiefs will be able to defend their title on February 11 in Las Vegas, where they will have the opportunity to become the first team to achieve the double since the Patriots two decades ago.

Concerning Lamar Jackson's Ravens, we will have to digest this big disappointment, they who have been impressive all season only to finally crash on the penultimate step. Will they be able to recover from this to one day reach the Super Bowl?

SEE ALSO:  Ravens: Lamar Jackson asks to be transferred!
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