KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP)—Baltimore did what it does best, and accomplished something no other team had done in almost a decade.
The Ravens’ defense dominated in Sunday’s 20-10 victory over Kansas City, making Baltimore the first visiting team to win at Arrowhead Stadium in December since 1996.
The win also moved Baltimore a step closer to clinching the AFC North title.
“They’re a penetrating defense that causes negative plays,” said Chiefs quarterback Trent Green, who threw two interceptions, lost a fumble and was sacked four times. “All of a sudden, it’s second and long, third and long, and it’s hard to get out of.”
Ed Reed had both interceptions for Baltimore (10-3), which maintained its two-game division lead over Cincinnati. The Bengals beat Oakland 27-10.
“Our defense is well-orchestrated. They’ve got a lot of pride in what they do,” Ravens coach Brian Billick said. “They don’t like giving up plays.”
The Chiefs didn’t give up many big plays either, but the ones they did were costly: Steve McNair’s 87-yard touchdown pass to Mark Clayton in the third quarter, and a 33-yard pass from McNair to Demetrius Williams in the fourth that kept the Ravens’ game-clinching scoring drive alive.
The three first-half turnovers by Green didn’t help, either.
“We turned the ball over early too many times,” Chiefs coach Herm Edwards said. “It’s hard to recover when you turn the ball over that many times.”
Billick raised some eyebrows when he gave his players five days off—almost a second bye week—after their 13-7 loss at Cincinnati on Nov. 30. Their fresh legs showed Sunday, though, as Baltimore looked a step faster on both sides of the ball.
“According to you guys, I gave them too much time off,” Billick told reporters. “Obviously, they were well rested.”
McNair, who was 21-for-27 for 283 yards, agreed.
“Coming off a rest like that, you’ve got to take advantage of it,” said McNair, whose four-game streak without an interception is the longest of his career. “I wanted my arm to be fresh, and it was.”
The TD throw, which was McNair’s longest career pass and Clayton’s longest career reception, put the Ravens up 13-0 with just under 6 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter.
Clayton had to pull up slightly to catch the pass, but was still 4 yards past cornerback Ty Law when he hauled the ball in at the Kansas City 45. Nobody even got close to him as he sprinted down the center of the field to the end zone.
Kansas City (7-6) answered Clayton’s catch with Lawrence Tynes’ field goal and trailed 13-3 heading into the fourth quarter.
The Chiefs failed to convert a turnover on Baltimore’s next possession, though, and Jamal Lewis’ 1-yard scoring run with just under 3 minutes to go sealed the Ravens’ victory.
Green threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Dante Hall with 1:20 to go, but by then it was too late and Baltimore took away a win in its first visit to Arrowhead.
The Chiefs’ last previous home loss in December was 24-19 to Indianapolis on Dec. 15, 1996. Their 18-game home winning streak in December was the longest since the AFL-NFL merger.
The Chiefs caught a break when Greg Wesley forced a fumble after McNair’s 9-yard pass to Ovie Mughelli early in the fourth quarter and Patrick Surtain returned the ball to the Ravens’ 43. Kansas City managed only Larry Johnson’s 4-yard carry and two incompletions, though, and had to punt.
Lewis’ TD capped a 16-play, 86-yard drive that took 9 minutes, 13 seconds. The possession was close to going three-and-out, but McNair hit Williams for the clutch 33-yard gain on third-and-6 from the Ravens’ 18.
After throwing for four TDs in last week’s 31-28 overtime loss at Cleveland, Green was 15-for-27 for 178 yards Sunday.
Johnson ran for 120 yards for the Chiefs—but take away his 47-yard gain in the second quarter, and his other 22 carries netted only 73 yards.
“We crowded the ball,” Reed said. “Our No. 1 priority was that he didn’t get going, that he didn’t cross the goal line. He’s a beast.”
Terrrell Suggs was flagged for unnecessary roughness for hitting Johnson out of bounds after his long gain, giving Kansas City a first down at Baltimore’s 27. But three plays later, Green threw high and over the middle and Reed made a diving interception at his own 6.
Matt Stover hit field goals of 41 yards late in the first quarter and 23 yards early in the second to put the Ravens up 6-0. The first was Stover’s 400th career field goal, and the second was set up by Reed’s interception and 11-yard return of Green’s tipped pass.
The Ravens are 45-1 under Billick when they get a 13-point lead. … Baltimore is 4-0 when Reed gets at least two interceptions. … Suggs became the Ravens’ career leader in forced fumbles (14) when he sacked and stripped Green in the second quarter. … Johnson has gone over the 100-yard mark in nine games this season and in seven of his last eight starts.