It's been quite an entertaining first half between the Ravens and Chiefs, and Baltimore holds a 10-7 lead at the break after a late scoring drive at the end of the second quarter.
Here are a few quick-hit notes on the first 30 minutes of play:
- Don't look now, but Joe Flacco had a dynamite first half. He went 17-of-24 passing for 196 yards and a touchdown and added 24 rushing yards as well, leading the Ravens in that category. He hasn't hit anything deep down the field, but has taken what the defense has given him and is marching the offense down the field nicely.
- I haven't gotten a chance to watch Jamaal Charles much this year, but man, the guy is electric. He's got a second-gear like few in the NFL and has given the Ravens fits today, rushing for 87 yards and a touchdown on just seven carries. The Ravens need to do a better job of maintaining gap control and forcing Charles to make multiple cuts. Normally a one-cut-and-go type of guy, if Charles has to dance around, he can be contained.
- The Ravens need to do something to get Flacco more time to look downfield. He's been pressured consistently by the Chiefs' front-seven, and was often rushed going through his reads in the half. When he's had a clean pocket, Flacco has been on point, but that hasn't happened often. Tamba Hali has been a beast coming off the edge for Kansas City, and is giving Michael Oher fits.
- One solution to the pass protection issues is keeping in a running back to help block, but the way that Ray Rice has been picking up yardage as a checkdown threat, you'd hate to see that happen. Rice is the Ravens' third-leading receiver today with 33 yards on four catches.
- Ed Reed's open-field hit on Chiefs running back Dexter McCluster was a thing of beauty. Reed timed the hit perfectly, got to McCluster right as the ball did, and delivered a crushing shoulder-first hit. It was perfectly legal, and you can bet McCluster will look twice before turning upfield in a similar situation the rest of the game.
- The officials missed a blatant helmet-to-helmet hit on Flacco late in the second quarter which should have been flagged. Flacco tucked the ball and ran with it, and slid down as Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher neared him. Belcher hit Flacco squarely in the head and led with his helmet, which is normally an automatic flag. Not to sound like Terrell Suggs here, but you have to wonder if Tom Brady sees a flag thrown there if he's the one on the receiving end of that hit.