KANSAS CITY, Mo.—If the Ravens have to go on the road in the playoffs, they proved yesterday that they can win anywhere.
Riding a defiant defense and a timely offense, the Ravens did what no team had done in a decade: beat the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium in December.
The Ravens' 20-10 victory ended the Chiefs' 18-game winning streak at home in December, the longest such streak for this month since the AFL- NFL merger, and further stamped the Ravens as one of the most dangerous teams in the league.
Armed with the NFL's top-ranked defense, the Ravens forced three turnovers and harassed Kansas City quarterback Trent Green with five sacks. Their re-invigorated offense delivered when it was called upon, whether it was an 87-yard touchdown catch and run by receiver Mark Clayton or a nine-minute drive in the fourth quarter.
In the end -- once the NFL's self-proclaimed loudest crowd had stopped its booing -- it was the Ravens' sixth victory in seven games that spoke volumes.
"That's as good a road win that we've ever had given the circumstances," said Brian Billick, the Ravens' eighth-year coach.
Winning double-digit games faster than any other in team history, the Ravens (10-3) still might have to play a couple of games on the road in the playoffs.
With Indianapolis losing, the Ravens are tied with the Colts for the second-best record in the AFC but remain the conference's third seed at this point. The Colts currently have the edge over the Ravens for the No. 2 spot (and a first-round bye) because they have a better record against common opponents.
"At this stage in the season, every game counts and plays a big part in where you go in the postseason," defensive end Terrell Suggs said. "We knew this was going to be a tough one and we knew we had to come in here and take it."
The Ravens' defense allowed the Chiefs (7-6) to cross their 39-yard line six times on the first nine drives and surrendered only a field goal.
Most of the Chiefs' mistakes came because of the Ravens' pressure on Green, who was picked off twice by safety Ed Reed and fumbled when Suggs hit his arm.
Kansas City's only other points came on a meaningless touchdown in the final 80 seconds of the game.
"Our defense has got a lot of pride and passion for what they do," Billick said. "They don't like giving up plays and they've shown a propensity to stiffen when you've got to stiffen."
The Ravens' best stand occurred in the second quarter, when their lead was only 6-0. Three plays after Larry Johnson broke a 47-yard run -- the longest against the Ravens this season -- Reed picked off Green at the Ravens' 6.
"We knew that this was his fourth game back after a concussion and his rhythm wasn't going to be on point," Reed said. "Both of [the interceptions] kind of came to me."
The Ravens, who have given up two touchdowns in their past 15 quarters, brought a fiery determination into the game from a speech given by linebacker Ray Lewis early last week.
His message was they can't be a defense that attains their goal of being No. 1 in the NFL and suddenly become complacent.
"He was saying that it's time to put the pedal to the metal and take it to the next level," linebacker Bart Scott said. "You can't be satisfied."
After watching the defense force three turnovers in the first half, the Ravens' offense decided to take it to the next level.