During week 8, the Kansas City Chiefs hosted the Green Bay Packers on Sunday Night Football. It was a back and forth affair that featured 55 combined points and two separate first-half double-digit runs. Eventually, Green Bay found a way to get the 31-24 win. Here is the full Packers @ Chiefs recap.
The Packers offense had a start to the game that we have become accustomed to seeing. In his typical fashion, Aaron Rodgers led the Packers to two 1st-quarter scoring drives. On the opening possession of the game, Matt LaFleur designed a series of runs and short passes to move the football. A key moment was a 3rd-down play that took Green Bay from mid-field to within scoring range. Jake Kumerow went in motion from outside to in the slot before the snap and he ran a deep crossing route. Rodgers timed his throw perfectly and Kumerow made a diving grab for the 34-yard reception. As we started to see last week, LaFleur is using motion not only as a way to figure out if the defense is playing man or zone coverage but also as a way to get the motioned player in the ideal open spot on the field.
While the Kumerow catch got the Packers in FG range, they would not settle for only 3 points. After committing their 2nd penalty of the drive, (delay of game and holding) the Packers threw two straight passes to Aaron Jones. The first one was a 17-yard reception on a slant route that began in the backfield. One the very next play, both Jones and Jamaal Williams were on the field with Jones lined up on the outside. Jones motion toward the middle and after the snap, he ran a reverse. Rodgers made a touch pass to Jones and both Williams and Allen Lazard made some key blocks in space. Jones used that to carry the football to end zone and gave the Packers a 7-0 lead.
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After that drive that took up 6:17 of game clock, both teams punted. Following those possessions, the Chiefs got in position to kick a 50-yard FG. However, the strong winds in Kansas City were a factor and Harrison Butker missed the attempt.
The ensuing Packers possession once again featured a heavy dose of the running backs. In another play with both Jones and Williams on the field, the former was motioned across the field while the latter ran it up the middle for no gain. On the next play, Jones was once again the motion man, but this time he moved out from the backfield to the slot. With a linebacker covering him, Jones got open on a slant-and-go-route. If he had not stepped out of bounds, Jones would have scored. Instead, he set up the Packers with a 1st-and-goal.
A 9-yard reception by Lazard put the ball at the 1-yard line. The next play was a hand-off to Williams who followed the right side of the line into the end zone. Full back Danny Vitale also provided his teammate with an excellent block even though he began the play on the left side of the formation. Excellent play design by LaFleur to give the appearance of running towards the left but instead going right. Perfect execution and the Packers took a 14-0 lead.
Answering the Call
Not to be outdone by Matt LaFleur, Andy Reid answered with some excellent play-calling of his own. Needing to close the gap, the Chiefs came out aggressive with a play-action deep shot to Tyreek Hill. While the pass went incomplete, the threat of the Chiefs speedy receivers pushed back the Packers secondary. That made Green Bay more vulnerable to the run which Reid exploited with two straight rushing plays to get the 1st-down.
Later on that drive, the Chiefs ran a double reverse fake. Among others, Blake Martinez bit hard which let Travis Kelce get a few steps behind him in his zone coverage area. Kelce was originally looking to be targeted over the middle, but with no deep safety on the right side, Matt Moore led him in that direction. It was a great play as Moore threw up a high arching pass in order to give a wide-open Kelce the time to get underneath of it. This ate into the lead as Kansas City then only trailed 14-7. It truly was a play-calling clinic that was put on by both Reid and Lafleur.
Chiefs Arrow Pointing Up
The Packers had a great 1st quarter, considering that they were on the road in one of the loudest stadiums in the NFL. However, things were not in their favor during the 2nd quarter. After allowing that Kelce TD, the Green Bay offense was forced to punt. The usually sure-footed J.K. Scott had his worst punt of the year. The wind certainly played a factor, but a punt going out of bounds for only a net kick of 25-yards is unacceptable.
The Chiefs used that excellent field position to tie the game at 14-14. It only took 5 plays before Mecole Hardman took a short pass 30 yards for a TD. This is when the missed tackles began to pile up for the Packers. On this particular play, it was Kevin King who had a chance to take down Hardman for a short gain. Instead, the rookie ran into the end zone to tie the game.
After another Packers punt, the Chiefs offense continued to move the ball effectively. On the first play of the drive, Andy Reid called a run where right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif was blocking defensive tackle, Kenny Clark. Typically a center will be the one to take a nose tackle 1-on-1, but this blocking scheme worked as LeSean McCoy gained 6 yards.
Clark was held in check for most of the game. The Chiefs employed doubles teams on him at times. However, Clark had a very impactful play at a clutch moment. On 3rd-and-5 from the Packers 10-yard line, Clark provided pressure up the middle and forced an incomplete pass from Matt Moore. A 28-yard FG made it 17-14 Chiefs just before halftime.
Sack Em’ Up
The Packers did get the ball back with 56 seconds left on the 2nd quarter game clock. They got into position to throw a Hail Marry, but the Chiefs got a sack on Aaron Rodgers. It was one of 5 that the defense produced on the day, the most sacks the Packers had allowed in a game since week 1.
Kansas City began the 3rd quarter with the ball, but their drive ended in the same manner as the Packers’ previous possession: with a sack. While Laurent Durvarney-Tardif once again dealt well with Kenny Clark, both Preston and Za’Darius Smith beat their blocks and got to Matt Moore.
Actually, make it 3 straight drives that ended in sacks. However, unlike those previous two, this next possession ended in points. The Packers were able to get in scoring range even with some setbacks. Namely a couple of penalties and an injury to David Bakhtiari. This forced Alex Light into action at left tackle. Initially, he struggled, such as allowing Reggie Ragland into the backfield to stuff Jamaal Williams for no gain. However, he quickly began to perform better. On a Jimmy Graham reception for a 1st-down, Light did his best to walk his man past the quarterback and gave Rodgers the time to throw. The very next play, Bakhtiari returned but that would not be that we heard of Light in this game.
Eventually, the Packers were in a goal-to-go situation. On 3rd down, Emmanuel Ogbah beat a Bryan Bulaga-Jimmy Graham double team and got yet another sack on Rodgers. Mason Crosby would then kick a 35-yard FG to tie the game at 17-17. While the Packers opening drive of the game was lengthy, it was not quite this drive which lasted 8:33.
The very first play after that FG, the Chiefs kept the ball on the ground. What looked like a good run for Kansas City on 1st-down, quickly turned into a nightmare situation for Reid and co. LeSean McCoy demonstrated his habit of carrying the football away from his body. Tyler Lancaster got off of his block and did enough to jar the football loose. With the ball on the ground, Lancaster jumped on it to complete the coveted forced fumble/fumble recovery.
The Packers took advantage of the great field position to regain the lead. After a couple of Aaron Rodgers runs and a pass the could have been picked off by Tyrann Mathieu, the Kansas City faithful got to see some magic, even if they did not want to. It was interesting play-call with regards to personnel use on the field as Green Bay had 2 tight ends, 2 half-backs, and 1 full back. Nobody except Rodgers was in the backfield as Danny Vitale was lined up in the slot and Jamaal Williams was outside. Rodgers scrambled for a while and eventually threw a dart to the corner of the end zone. Williams got separation at the right moment and made a diving play on the football. He came up with an incredible catch and gave the Packers a 24-17 lead.
Blow to Blow
The team would exchange scoring drives in the 4th quarter. First, the Chiefs got into some good field position with a series of 1st-downs. It was mostly run plays and short passes and the Packers were guilty of some more missed tackles. Sammy Watkins hauled in a 25-yard reception over the middle and momentum began to swing back toward the home team. Eventually, Damien Williams, who took over after LeSean McCoy’s fumble, found his way into the end and tied the game at 24-24.
Green Bay got the ball back but without Bryan Bulaga who did not return after leaving with an apparent hand injury. Alex Light was back in, only this time at right tackle. Aaron Jones got things started with a 9-yard run. The very next play, Jones lined up outside but then motioned inside. On the quick Rodgers throw, the offensive line was able to get out and block in space. David Bakhtiari and Corey Linsley had key blocks as did tight end Jimmy Graham who sprung the play at the line of scrimmage. Using those blocks, Jones took the pass 67 yards to the house, giving Green Bay a 31-24 lead.
Time Ticking Away
Ultimately, the Chiefs got one more crack with the football. While the did get one 1st-down courtsey of Matt Moore and Travis Kelce, that drive ended with a punt. There was 5:13 left on the clock at that point. Kansas City did not see the ball again.
While it was not as long as some of their other possessions in this game, the Packers held the football for the final 5+ minutes. It was perhaps fitting that we saw a healthy dose of Aaron Jones on this drive, as he ran the football 6 times for a combined 29 yards. Jones had a monster game but it was not all on the ground as he only produced 67 rushing yards. The truth was that Jones led the Packers in targets (8), receptions (7), receiving yards (159) and receiving TDs (2). Perhaps even more fitting then was that the final competitive play of the game, Jones caught an 8-yard pass for a 1st-down.
After 3 straight kneel-downs, the game was over. Green Bay emerged victorious over Kansas City by a score of 31-24.
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