Following a heart-wrenching 17-10 defeat to the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship game this year, Baltimore Ravens fullback Patrick Ricard has held up his hands for a mistake. He believes that this mistake may have cost his team a chance at winning the Lombardi Trophy. The powerful blocker, who is famous for his hard-hitting style on the gridiron, confessed that they made a major blunder by going away from their traditional identity as a ground-and-pound offense.

“We only ran the ball six times on running back,” Ricard lamented in a candid chat with former NFL ironman Chris Long. “You know the general public would agree that like, let’s do what got us there at that point was we run the ball.” It was a confession that cut deep, as the Ravens had entered the clash against Patrick Mahomes and the high-octane Chiefs with a simple blueprint – pound the rock and control the clock.

With Lamar Jackson, the league’s most electric running QB since Michael Vick in his prime, and a bruising offensive line led by Ricard’s punishing blocks, Baltimore had the personnel to make Kansas City’s defense look like Swiss cheese. But as the game wore on and the Chiefs seized momentum, the Ravens abandoned ship on their bread and butter, something Ricard realized too late. “I didn’t even realize like after the game how little we did run the ball to be honest,” he confessed, shaking his head.


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USA Today via Reuters

The Ravens’ lone touchdown came on a Jackson-to-Zay Flowers connection – a glimpse of what could have been if they had stuck to the script. But as the Chiefs took a 17-7 lead into halftime, Baltimore’s game plan seemed to unravel, despite Ricard’s efforts to “open up some holes” for the running game.

“I thought we ran it a little bit here and there, but yeah, if you look back at it, we definitely probably should have,” Ricard admitted his words carrying the weight of a missed opportunity. It was a bitter pill to swallow, especially considering the Ravens’ offense managed just 81 rushing yards on the day, a far cry from their identity as a ground-and-pound unit.

A trip down the memory lane of the Chiefs’ dominance against the Ravens in the AFC championship!

This isn’t the first time Ravens fans have proven prophetic. Cast your mind back to the team’s historic 2012 Super Bowl run, when the cries to “Build a Legendary Offense” around Joe Flacco reached a fever pitch reminiscent of the “Show me the money!” chants from Jerry Maguire. The front office listened, and the rest is history – a Lombardi Trophy and a place among the NFL’s elite franchises.


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In contrast, Mahomes and the Chiefs’ attack was well prepared for anything given their 37.5 minutes of ball possession time resulting in a total of 319 yards. Travis Kelce at tight end was unstoppable with 11 grabs for 116 and one trip to pay dirt while Isiah Pacheco’s bull-like running style had the Ravens’ defense backpedaling.

However, despite having such an attacking prowess at Kansas City’s disposal, this match turned out to be more of a defensive war with both sides rising up to the occasion. The Chiefs’ defense led by coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s brilliant game plan kept Jackson down to just 272 yards through the air whilst forcing three crucial turnovers including a late fourth-quarter game-sealing interception in the end zone.

As the dust settles on another heartbreaking playoff exit, acknowledging the team’s failure to stick to their strengths, the punishing fullback has not only validated the fans’ perspectives but also opened the door for a potential course correction.


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As Baltimore looks ahead to next season, they’ll undoubtedly draw lessons from this missed opportunity, leaning into their identity as a physical, run-first team that can “impose their will” on opponents.“But you know we like to run the ball here a lot we got just got Derrik Henry which I’m very excited about um yeah D I think there you just have to really learn the nuances of how we block things up and like how physical we have to play because we are we are going to run the ball” said Ricard.

And who knows? With Lamar Jackson leading the charge, the big fellas up front clearing the way, and a renewed commitment to their bread and butter, the Ravens may just find themselves back in the hunt for that elusive Lombardi Trophy like a boxer getting another shot at the title after a hard-fought loss.