This was expected to be the Baltimore Ravens’ year.
They had Lamar Jackson, an MVP-caliber quarterback near the peak of his powers. Defensive organizer Mike Macdonald’s was of a historical range, stymying every offense it dealtwith this season. It was more comparable to a suffocating boa constrictor than a group of 11 gamers attempting to dutifully keep the offense from acquiring 10 lawns. Despite a rash of injuries, a well-stocked lineup swarming with depth came prepared to control every week. John Harbaugh may haveactually done the finest training task of his profession. Bar none.
Sunday was the veryfirst time the Ravens ever hosted an AFC title videogame. In every stage, one might have quickly argued this was the finest group Baltimore’s ever fielded. A Super Bowl 58 berth — and a subsequent win — appeared all however unavoidable. “How might they fall brief?” was an totally sensible concern to ask about these Ravens.
The response to that concern was Patrick Mahomes — pro football’s analog to Michael Jordan and LeBron James at the verysame time. Put another method: an professionalathlete who will practically constantly raise his group more than the amount of its parts in the playoffs.
We oughtto’ve seen a Baltimore collapse coming from a mile away.
Patrick Mahomes AGAIN the champ of the AFC pic.twitter.com/MncyBCNIaN
— NFL on CBS 🏈 (@NFLonCBS) January 28, 2024
The one method the underdog — yes, underdog — Chiefs would upset the Ravens on Sunday was if they landed a definitive punch in the early phases. Anything to seed some doubt in the NFL’s straight-out juggernaut in 2023 would’ve beenenough. Anything to make the Ravens nervous and panic at difficulty they rarely dealtwith over the last 5 months.
With Mahomes at the manages, the Chiefs landed a tremendous haymaker rather.
After the Chiefs required a Baltimore three-and-out on its veryfirst ownership, the Ravens had an chance to respondto, get off the field, and keep the Chiefs from acquiring an necessary pole position. This was the breaking point, the minute the videogame would mostlikely tilt in their favor for most of the takingplace 3 hours or release a gradually structure tidal wave of torment in another frustrating Ravens’ playoff run. Someone was about to experience a irreversible momentum shift in the greatest professional football videogame ever to take location within the city limitations of Baltimore.
The truth, the sheer inevitability of Mahomes, struck when he finished a laser of a 13-yard pass to Travis Kelce on 4th and 2 to extend the ownership. It was the veryfirst indication Mahomes wouldn’t let the Chiefs get ashamed.
The protecting Super Bowl champs came to win, and the No. 1 competitor to their title belt mistakenly ignored this possibility.
4th and 2, dial it up to @TKelce.
📺CHELOR’SDEGREE: #KCvsBAL on CBS
📱: Stream on #NFLPlus https://t.co/IIZbdmhqNS pic.twitter.com/FNiPNuGcmY
— NFL (@NFL) January 28,