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Late for Work 1/20: Takeaways and Reaction From Chiefs-49ers Championship Wins


Sunday wasn't an easy day for Ravens fans knowing there could have been a game played in Baltimore. Honestly, you probably felt a lot like Marlon Humphrey.

But if you brought yourself to turn on the television, there was still plenty of entertaining football.

The Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers punched their tickets to Miami. While the Ravens were left with an early exit, players, coaches, and front office are already retooling for the 2020 season.

Here's a look at some reactions and takeaways from championship weekend.

Championship Teams Win With High-Powered Offense, Suffocating Front Seven

Watching both games provided a glimpse of a winning formula on opposite sides of the ball. Kansas City's high-powered offense and San Francisco's suffocating front seven led them to championship weekend victories.

The Baltimore Sun’s Daniel Oyefusi believes the Ravens can take away pieces from both teams, starting with adding more offensive playmakers around Lamar Jackson.

"[A]cross Kansas City's offense, you see skill players who pose extreme matchup problems for opposing defenses, whether it be wide receivers Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins, tight end Travis Kelce or running back Damien Williams," Oyefusi wrote. "The mere threat of their speed allows Kansas City to be more creative with their formations and use of motion."

Eric DeCosta laid the foundation by signing Mark Ingram II and drafting Mark Andrews, Hayden Hurst, Marquise "Hollywood" Brown, Miles Boykin, and Justice Hill, but adding offensive weapons still remains among the top offseason needs.

John Harbaugh said the Ravens have a feel for the type of receivers they want to bring in, and there will be plenty of options through free agency and the draft. The Ravens were one of the most productive offenses in the NFL this season with a rushing attack that averaged over 200 yards per game. Imagine how dangerous they could be with a few more pieces?

On the flip side, Oyefusi's key takeaway from the Niners' win was their ability to pressure the quarterback without blitzing.

"The 49ers blitzed at the fourth-lowest rate in the league, but ranked sixth in sacks because of the strength of their front four," Oyefusi wrote.

The Ravens blitzed more often than any team this season under Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale.

The Niners invested three first-round picks into a front seven that's become one of the most dominant units in the NFL. The Ravens will have decisions to make regarding the futures of key pieces in the front seven. The secondary also has looming decisions, but a solid base of Marlon Humphrey, Marcus Peters, Earl Thomas III, Chuck Clark, and Tavon Young is set to return.

"The 49ers' ability to beat offensive linemen one-on-one allows them to drop seven and sometimes eight defenders in coverage," Oyefusi wrote. "Martindale frequently said he believes the best way to disrupt an offense is to affect the quarterback. Forcing a quarterback to throw into tight windows between multiple defenders can be just as effective, if not more effective, as bringing the house."

Three Former Ravens Headed to Super Bowl

Three former Ravens are headed to the Super Bowl: Terrell Suggs, Kyle Juszczyk, and Raheem Mostert.

Suggs, the all-time Ravens sacks leader, helped limit Derrick Henry to 69 rushing yards in the Chiefs' 35-24 win. The veteran outside linebacker had his sights set on a reunion in Baltimore after being released by the Cardinals late in the regular season but was claimed by the Chiefs on waivers.

Now, Suggs will have a chance to win his second Super Bowl title cement his Hall of Fame resume.

The 49ers rolled their way to a 37-20 win in a game that wasn't as close as the final score indicated. Juszczyk played a key role for a Niners' ground game that ran all over the Packers.

You may not have realized Mostert's connection to the Ravens, but the former undrafted running back had a brief stint in Baltimore during the 2015 season. Mostert served primarily as a kick returner before being released.

Mostert, who almost signed a professional surfing contract when he was 14, bounced between six different teams before finding a home in San Francisco. He had a career performance on Sunday, rushing for 220 yards and four touchdowns.

If you're looking for even more connections, Chiefs cornerback Kendall Fuller is a Baltimore native who played his high school ball down the road at Good Counsel High School.

Ronnie Stanley Wants Part of the Big Man Touchdown Action

The Titans brought out all the tricks Sunday when Ryan Tannehill found 321-pound offensive tackle Dennis Kelly for a 1-yard touchdown in the second quarter.

According to the CBS broadcast, Kelly became the heaviest player to catch a touchdown in playoff history. After watching the big man get all the love, Ronnie Stanley wants his chance to score.

Cal Ripken Jr. Passes the No. 8 Torch

Lamar Jackson could be the heir to Ray Lewis, but the second-year quarterback also carries a strong legacy of wearing No. 8 in Baltimore.

After Jackson threw out the first pitch at Camden Yards over the summer and posed with Cal Ripken Jr.'s statue, the Oriole great said it's time for Jackson to be the name behind the number.

"He is No. 8," Ripken told The Athletic's Dan Connolly. "He's the No. 8 in Baltimore now."

Ripken, a Ravens season ticket holder, said he hasn't seen a player capture the attention of the city this quickly since Manny Machado. While Ripken and Jackson play different sports, Connolly acknowledged that the two really aren't that different.

"Both had breakout seasons as rookies," Connolly wrote. "Both were league MVPs at age 23 in their second full year of pro ball, assuming Jackson wins that expected honor early next month. Also, both were viewed as pioneers in a sense, with Ripken paving the way for larger men to play shortstop and Jackson helping to define quarterback as a dual-threat position."

Ripken has developed relationships with various Ravens over the years, and it hasn't taken long for him and Jackson to do the same. The two traded autographed jerseys.

"[The] the coolest thing about it is that I think he took them right out of his locker," Ripken said. "They were billed as game jerseys; they have the elastic on the bottom. It's not something you'd buy in the store, so I think he literally took them out of his locker and sent them over to me. So, I felt really good about that. … It's a small jersey, actually. It's designed not to be able to grab ahold of, so I thought that was cool, too."

Jackson will hope to mimic Ripken's consistency on the field, and he's already got an endorsement from the Hall of Famer.

"He's making people miss him and fall down with some of his moves," Ripken said. "And just him being able to stretch a play that seems like it's a dud or something that won't happen into something that's really great, it's just been exciting to watch."

Jacoby Jones Talks Ravens Super Bowl Run

Jacoby Jones played an integral part in the Ravens' 2012 Super Bowl run, and the former wide receiver talked about it with Master Tesfatsion on Bleacher Report's "Untold Stories."

Jones' 70-yard game-tying touchdown reception (Mile High Miracle) in the divisional round against the top-seeded Denver Broncos will go down as one of the NFL's most improbable plays, but he said his most impressive performance was on the biggest stage in his hometown of New Orleans.

Against the Niners in Super Bowl XLVII, Jones caught a 56-yard touchdown pass, and his 108-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to start the third quarter was fueled by none other than Ray Lewis.

"We come out there," Jones said. "I'm in my zone. I'm bouncin' … Ray said, 'Come here!' I'm like, 'What? Man, I'm in my zone.' He rubs my chest. 'Do what you do, man!'

"They put that play in, and I told 'em, I said, 'Coach, if we call this play, I don't care how deep it is, you've got to let me come out,'" Jones said. "I start looking at the Jumbotron, and I see 2-6 behind me. When I saw him ease up, that's when I looked to the sideline and said, 'Watch this.'"

Jones celebrated with Lewis' signature dance.

Jones said he has no reservations about not being named Super Bowl MVP – although he joked that Joe Flacco could have at least given him the Corvette.

"It still [doesn't] bother me," Jones said. "I got the most all-purpose yards and all that in Super Bowl history or whatever. It [doesn't] bother me because I won at home. How many people can say they won a Super Bowl in their own city?"

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