That didn’t work.
They tried matching up against him with safety Eric Berry. No dice.
Heap was unstoppable today against the Chiefs, regardless of who was covering him. The 10-year veteran recorded 10 catches for 108 yards, both franchise postseason records.
He was open on in routes, on crossing routes, on seam routes. Heap was open over the middle, he was open out wide.
And even when he wasn’t open, Heap still was able to rip the ball away from defenders and make plays.
When Heap is healthy, he’s incredibly tough to defend. He has the size to body up on smaller defensive backs and the speed to burn linebackers down the field.
“Todd Heap has got great hands, first of all,” head coach John Harbaugh told reporters after the game. “He’s 6-foot-5, plus he’s got good speed for a tight end. I mean, great speed for a tight end, good speed for any receiver. Great body control, great hands. He’s tough as nails. That’s pretty much a cover-tight tight end.”
Partially as a result of the huge hits he’s taken over the years, Heap has been quite injury-prone over parts of his career. This season, he missed three games as a result of a hamstring injury suffered on the first play of the Steelers game back in Week 14.
But he said after the Ravens’ regular season finale that he felt as good entering the playoffs as he had at any other point in his career. That showed today, as he was all over the field.
The Ravens have enough offensive weapons at this point that teams can no longer bracket Heap or consistently roll coverage towards him as they had in previous seasons. If they do so, Anquan Boldin, Derrick Mason, T.J. Houshmandzadeh or others are going to have space to operate.
But when Heap is left going up against one-on-one man coverage as he was for most of today, Joe Flacco will find him. Those two have a great chemistry, and like Rice, Heap has become sort of a safety valve for Flacco. When the Ravens quarterback gets in trouble, he looks for his big tight end.
Flacco looked for Heap often today, and it paid off. If the two-time Pro Bowl tight end can keep playing at this level, the Ravens’ offense could be in for more big days before this postseason is over.