KANSAS CITY—The streak is over. Nearly a year to the day the Packers had last lost a football game, the Packers lost at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday, 19-14 to a heavily underdog Kansas City Chiefs team.
“We were beat today. The Kansas City Chiefs outplayed us. We were beaten,” Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy said in his postgame press conference.
The Packers were beaten on the stats sheet as well as the scoreboard, as journeyman quarterback Kyle Orton threw for 299 yards and the Chiefs rushed for 139. Orton, in his first start with the Chiefs, completed 23 of 31 passes, though none for touchdowns or interceptions. His efficiency translated into a 104.1 passer rating that marked the first time Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers had lost the passer rating battle since a game in Pittsburgh late in the 2009 season.
“They had a good game plan. We didn’t throw well, didn’t catch well. You have to give them credit,” Rodgers said.
Rodgers completed 17 of 35 passes for 235 yards, one touchdown, no interceptions and an 80.1 passer rating. Playing without star wide receiver Greg Jennings, rookie Randall Cobb led the Packers with four receptions. No Packers receiver reached the 100-yard mark, a rarity for one of the most prolific pass-offenses in the league.
The loss ended the Packers’ quest for an undefeated season at 13-0 and halted a 19-game winning streak. It also kept the Packers from clinching home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, though that would happen on Monday should the 49ers lose to the Steelers, or should the Packers beat the Chicago Bears next Sunday.
“What’s disappointing to me is we didn’t clinch home-field advantage. I viewed an undefeated season as gravy. Our goal was to get home-field advantage and win the Super Bowl,” McCarthy.
Both of those goals, of course, are very much alive.
Would the loss help ease pressure on the Packers to win, Rodgers was asked?
“Probably outside the facility,” he said.
“I think our guys did a good job of staying on point. I didn’t see a bunch of guys talking 16-0. We knew we were coming into a juggernaut and we didn’t do it,” McCarthy said.
The Chiefs, 6-7 and alive in the AFC West title race, weren’t what anyone was describing as a juggernaut, but they were a different team with Orton at quarterback. They became a good defensive team with a quarterback that could make plays and dominate time of possession, which is what the Chiefs did. They controlled the clock, 36:11 to 23:49. It has long been a formula for beating high-scoring offenses.
“I think the guy is a damn good quarterback,” McCarthy said of Orton.
Green Bay rallied for a 6-0 deficit to take a 7-6 lead with 8:04 to play in the third quarter, but Orton responded by moving the Chiefs 61 yards to a 46-yard field goal that regained the lead, 9-7. Ryan Succop would follow with a 20-yard field goal that extended the lead to 12-7, and then the Chiefs delivered the knockout punch with a 66-yard drive that culminated in a one-yard touchdown run by Jackie Battle with 3:57 to play.
Rodgers rallied the offense for an 80-yard touchdown drive, but the Packers’ onside kick attempt failed and the Chiefs used their running game to expire the clock against an obviously worn out Packers defense.
“We did not improve as a football team. It’s been quite some time since I’ve addressed the football team this way. They got their game plan done and we did not,” McCarthy said.
Rodgers was sacked four times and the Packers sustained a couple of injuries on their offensive line that will further challenge that group. First-round pick Derek Sherrod sustained a broken leg that ended his rookie season and starting right tackle Bryan Bulaga left the game with a knee injury. Additional coverage - Dec. 18