Chiefs 19, Packers 14
Packers undefeated streak ends in Kansas City
Photo: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Next game: Christmas Day vs. Chicago
Packers Gameday at 5:00 p.m. on Newsradio 620 WTMJ and TODAY'S TMJ4 with a live blog here.
The Packers' loss to the 6-8 Kansas City Chiefs not only proves that no team with as many deficiencies as Green Bay has deserves to be considered among the greatest teams in NFL history.
It now proves that there are at least serious questions as to whether the Packers belong in the slot of best team in the NFL, and whether they will fulfill that role in February in Indianapolis.
There are now three blueprints for beating Green Bay:
1) Outscore them, as the New Orleans Saints nearly did in Week 1 and teams like the New England Patriots and New York Giants can do.
2) Limit Green Bay's effectiveness with your defense and running game while committing no turnovers, as the Chiefs did Sunday, and teams like San Francisco, Baltimore and Pittsburgh can do.
3) Let Green Bay beat themselves.
That last blueprint rarely happens, to the credit of Packers coach Mike McCarthy.
But it happened with seven dropped passes - five by Jermichael Finley - along with rare ill-aimed passes from Aaron Rodgers, a lack of discipline in covering receivers (future Hall-of-Famer Charles Woodson among the burned secondary members) and a lack of execution in stopping Kansas City's running game.
Kansas City, the rest of the NFL thanks you for giving them the proof that a blueprint can work for beating the defending World Champions.
Green Bay, you must now prove you can overcome those blueprints - particularly the last one.
The one thing that both gives Green Bay pause after this loss AND gives them hope - there are no super-teams in the super-balanced NFL the era of the salary cap. Every team has a weakness.
Whoever overcomes weaknesses better wins it all.
There is your newest challenge, Green Bay. Refocus.
The Packers don't deserve perfection when they don't play perfectly, particularly the style of football that defines them.
The passing game did almost nothing until the final desperation drive in the 4th quarter. Aaron Rodgers only completed 17 of 35 passes, his receivers dropped seven of them (including five Jermichael Finley drops), and the spectacular Packers turnover-creating unit never lost the football.
As was said many times in my conversation with Mercury Morris, it's the focus on perfect execution that creates a perfect team. That didn't happen.
Kansas City deserved this game. Better prepared. More disciplined. The better team on this day won.
Not the more talented team. For one day, Kansas City was the better team.
2:57 p.m. Chiefs' 3rd Drive 2:04
Crosby onside kick...out of bounds. Flag on the field. Four refs confer on dinner plans and which barbecue to go to.
A Chief touched the football before 10 yards. Had Nelson reached it before it rolls out, it's Packers ball.
Now, the defense needs a HUGE stop.
Bears West RB with Jones for five yards and change before the two minute warning.
After it....Jones with a monster first down run to the left side. Seven yards and that may have daggered the Packers' perfect season. But a stop here, I think, and if my math is correct, the Packers get another chance.
Battle for four yards. Time out. Battle around left end. First down. Perfect record is done.
2:47 p.m. Packers' 3rd Drive 4:53
Kansas City 19, Green Bay 14
Rodgers 8 yd TD run
Less than five minutes to save their so-far perfect season, with a patchwork offensive line and their best wide receiver injured on the sidelines.
You play so imperfectly as they have this day, and the Packers don't deserve a perfect season.
ARod 80 yards away from the first TD of the comeback...still 80 yards after Hali reached him at the line of scrimmage.
ARod to Cobb - first down near the far hash. No huddle time. Bad for a blogger, good for an offense.
ARod to Cobb - got another first down and stopped the clock. Under four minutes.
Uh oh. Flaggage. Nelson with an illegal motion penalty. He's been owned today. Three penalties and he's made no contribution.
1st-15 at GB 31: Hali with another sack. It's getting desperate.
Kansas City can smell the upset of the season.
2nd-20 at GB 26: Nelson FINALLY with a big catch. First down at the 47. Finally answered the bell. Wayne: "Boy did they need that."
1st-10 at GB 47: Kuhn with a catch and another first down catch with a screen pass. Under three minutes.
1st-10 at KC 42 becomes 1st-15 at KC 47 after Newhouse flinched. You cannot, CANNOT avoid mistakes here.
ARod over the middle, and Finley gets a HUGE first down to the 15. First down. Don't worry about the time when you get 31 yards.
ARod again - out pattern to Nelson and the clock stops at the eight yard line. 2:16 to go.
Where has this been all day?
3rd-3 at KC 8: Rodgers scramble...pump...pylon...TD! At last.
2:41 p.m. Chiefs' 2nd Drive 8:50
Kansas CIty 19, Green Bay 7
Battle 1 yd TD run
All season long, the Packers' offense has "saved" the defense. Now, the defense needs to save the offense with another stop, maybe two.
Reverse! Breaston with blocking and it's a big play. 24 yard run. Those are the type of drive starters that make an opponent think it's not their day.
Broken tackle on the pass to Bowe with the one-man screen.
Green Bay now needs a turnover.
Packers are shuffling in linemen to rest their starters.
McClain gets seven yards by waiting for his blocks. Power run. Pure power.
Orton finds Becht wide open. 16 yard play. Peprah on coverage. Green Bay a few yards from being two scores down. Uh oh. Big uh oh.
1st-goal at GB 3: Thomas Jones up the middle...nope.
2nd-goal at GB 4: McClain turns upfield. Almost.
3rd-goal at GB 1 and the biggest defensive play in 11 months: Battle? Yep.
2:24 p.m. Packers' 2nd Drive 11:28
The stage is set for Aaron Rodgers to pull off a fourth-quarter come-from-behind-to-win comeback that he hasn't had to pull off in two years. (The game winning drive vs. the Giants was a tie game.)
ARod scrambles, finds Grant after faking it to him. Great 22-yard pass reception after they improvised.
Bad day so far for Rodgers: 12-28, 148 yds, but 1 TD.
Inured Packer on the 17th incompletion of the day: and that' s Sherrod. Uh oh. Packers running out of linemen? Sherrod wheeled out on a cart with his right leg immobilized.
Dietrich-Smith now in take over, and an O-line shuffle.
2nd-10 at GB 45: Grant cutback...and the Chiefs knew what was coming. Scott Wells missing a block and Gilberry slopping up the goodies.
3rd-10 at GB 45: Oh is this huge. Oh is this huge. And worse. Bailey sacks Rodgers for an eight yard loss. Dietrich-Smith beaten. Ugh.
2:18 p.m. Chiefs' 1st Drive 14:49
Kansas City 12, Green Bay 7
Succop 20 yd FG
Orton bombing and finding Breaston at the Green Bay 45. Woodson beaten, fell down with Breaston's cut. Ankle-breaking a Hall of Famer. Breaston is good.
McClain left side and no Packer within five yards of him five yards downfield. Nearly a first down. Packers' defense is winded, based on Raji's body language after that play.
Orton bombing...finds Pope. Uh oh. End zone? Nope. But real close. Again, wide open. He stepped out at the three.
But did he lose the football before stepping out of bounds? Check the replay there. That could be a touchback. Blown chance to get the ball back by the Packers' coaching staff.
Handoff to Jones...and he's stopped again near the goal line, this time by Hawk. Three yard loss.
2nd-goal at GB 5: Shields breaks up a back shoulder throw to Baldwin.
3rd-goal at GB 5: Yellow flaggage. False start on the left tackle.
3rd-goal at GB 10: Orton over the middle...and nothin' doin McCluster after the catch.
2:16 p.m. Packers' 1st Drive (continued from 3rd Qtr)
3rd-8 at KC 39: ARod over the middle and again, barely missing an interception. ARod taking more chances than normal. He led Finley way too hard. Finley also might have been hurt.
4th-8 at KC 39: ARod for Finley...GREAT CATCH? Nope. 5th drop of the game. Tried to one hand it. Also, no holding call on KC.
2:05 p.m. Packers' 3rd Drive 3:45
Cobb does his job this time on the kickoff return: 4 yards deep, gets it to the 26.
ARod with another escape and a great run and slide for a first down and about 14 extra yards. Thank you for sliding, Aaron. Keeps you alive and off injury list.
Delayed blitz, and a great catch by Finley at the back hip and get the first down. Finley has Max McGee disease. He once said something to the effect: "They don't pay me to catch the easy ones. They pay me for the tough catches."
False start on Sherrod. Rookie boo-boo. Unacceptable. Never allowed.
Phew. Incompletion instead of interception. Brandon Carr did not have his feet in bounds when he picked off Rodgers' way-overthrown pass to Jones. His right foot was in by seven yards, but his body was so out of control that his left foot never had a chance to fall down inbounds before his right knee was down.
1:52 p.m. Chiefs' 2nd Drive 8:04
Kansas City 9, Green Bay 7
Succop 46 yd FG
Credit the Packers' defense with the short field to help Green Bay's offense get a little momentum and mojo. This will qualify as an ugly win, but teams that want to get a perfect record win those games they should not.
McCluster takes the kickoff and gets something good out of it. Really good...until a tackle at the 25 yard line and a holding penalty on the return team. Phew.
Loads of time for Orton and Pope was wide open for the bomb. Inside the 50. Momentum swung by one bad job of pass coverage.
Orton going big play again and Baldwin just missed a fantastic diving catch in double coverage. He beat that coverage. Refs also missed offensive pass interference on Baldwin.
Orton again to Baldwin...much shorter, but still a first down. Baldwin sat there with no Packer within 10 yards of him in the secondary. Pathetic pass coverage. Larry McCarren: "Ridiculous."
Jones up the middle and a missed tackle by Howard Green allows Bears West to gain six yards.
2nd-10 after two men moved at the snap...then, a screen pass FINALLY didn't work. Matthews and Smith did a great job discerning the screen pass and held McCluster to nothing.
3rd-14 at GB 37: Another huge stop if they can get it.
McClain inside the 30 yard line...and the Chiefs get a shot at the lead.
1:46 p.m. Packers' 2nd Drive 10:27
Green Bay 7, Kansas City 6
Rodgers-Driver 2 yd TD pass
Here is Green Bay's best chance of the game. 53 yards from paydirt. Get seven here, not three.
Grant around right end...and six yards is a nice start to a drive. Enough of a block by Sherrod to free him up. Not a great block, but enough.
ARod play action - a missed throw to Nelson. Low throw. A no-risk, but bad throw. A real wobbler. I could have thrown that.
3rd-4 at KC 48: ARod bombs it for Finley - at last! Inside the 10 yard line! He beat double coverage and did a 360 to snag it! 41 yards and he finally shows what he can do.
No huddle time....Rodgers...nearly sacked by Hali, but pulled a Houdini...end zone throw...and an incompletion is a good result instead of what probably would have happened.
2nd-goal at KC 7: ARod again scrambling...runs himself...stopped at the two. Kansas City's pass coverage is brilliant today.
KC smashed Rodgers at the two...and he locked back and smiled. Rather Favre-like there.
3rd-goal at KC 2: YES! Driver! At last. Fade pattern.
1:41 p.m. Chiefs' 1st Drive 12:33
Oh, does the defense need to step up again.
By the way: Woodson had 10 first half tackles.
From the five yard line, Jones falls forward for five yards.
3rd-4 at KC 11: Jones smashed in the backfield! Wynn had no one blocking him, and oxygen and nitrogen have never combined for a pancake block in NFL history.
1:35 p.m. Packers' 1st Drive 15:00
And the drive begins with Cobb coming out five yards deep, and the drive starts at the 15. Not good.
Fabulous cutback run for 10 yards by Grant. Followed a block and did a great job with it.
Cobb with the direct snap! Rare. Got five yards with it. ARod out of the play. Not the way you want to protect a QB necessarily, but OK.
Grant behind Bulaga, but Bulaga gets up limping...and falls back down. Not good at all, calling for help. He gets up under his own power.
This would add injury to insult, if the Packers lose the game and lose a great pass protector.
3rd-1 at GB 34 1/2: Kuhn did absolutely nothing. Chiefs stacked up the middle, and a linebacker shot the gap and got to Kuhn. Pathetic.
1:21 p.m. Chiefs' 3rd Drive :01
Another fabulous punt by Masthay - 54 yards, and KC at the 20. Kneeldown time.
1:17 p.m. Packers' 3rd Drive :47
Packers need 91 after Bush committed a hold. Oops.
Grant with a fabulous pounding run up the middle to the 27. Then credit Rodgers for a spike at with :32.
First goal: get first downs. Then save time.
ARod finds Cobb short of the first down in bounds. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.
3rd-3 at GB 35: and Rodgers missed Jones for the sixth pass off Packers' receivers' hands this half.
1:11 p.m. Chiefs' 2nd Drive 2:00
A fabulous 61-yard punt by Masthay may have saved Green Bay's rear end, for the moment. Ball at the 18 yard line.
McCluster stopped near the line of scrimmage with another slip through the line tackle by Woodson.
Packers call time out to try and give themselves another first half possession. That can backfire if they're not careful.
McCluster gets four yards again, and this time, the Packers don't call time out.
3rd-5 at KC 23: Screen. McCluster. Stopped at the 25. The first time it didn't work. Time out, Packers. Smart use of time outs and great defense.
1:04 p.m. Packers' 2nd Drive 3:28
A nine-minute drive elicits nothing on the scoreboard for Kansas City. It's the type of drive that can save a possible win, and a possible undefeated season.
ARod deep but overthrown, wanting Driver. Not good.
3rd-10 at GB 3: Near-pick by Carr at the 13 yard line. Heard whistles all over the place, but no flag. Apparently Crennel called time out. He was trying to ice his defense. (j/k)
3rd-10 at GB 3, take 2: ARod finds Jones, but not enough. Only saved his punter from danger, but didn't save the Packers hydes.
12:51 p.m. Chiefs' 1st Drive 12:47
Kansas City could be smelling blood here. Three good drives so far.
Orton intermediate to Bowe...and yes, it's field goal range again for the Chiefs. Never, ever expected this, but Orton has had lots of success against the Packers before in that controlled passing game.
Play action - and Orton finds Becht. Clockwork. Woodson had to use his shoulder to body the bowling ball-like Becht down.
3rd-5 at KC 40: Orton to Bowe and clockwork continues. Seven yards. Orton's scramble gave Bowe more time to escape Shields' coverage.
Battle. Screen. Uh oh. First down. The screen is killing the Packers.
Bowe wide open again. Peprah forces him out after Woodson lets him go. Bad use of the zone to the strong side.
14 play, 9 play, 10 play drives. Pathetic, Packers defense.
Reverse...and Matthews saw it coming. McCluster pulled a miracle to only get a loss of two yards.
Screen. Breaston. Bubble screen and it's just as effective as the regular screen. Red zone. This is pathetic, defense.
Bears West with Jones. Breaking a Peprah tackle...at the five yard line. Wayne: "The Chiefs are feeling it."
2nd-1 at GB 3: Woodson with a fabulous ankle tackle of Battle to hold a two yard loss. Shot the gap and took him down.
3rd-3 at GB 5: Jones around right end...nope! Another bend-but-don't-break effort by the Packers defense.
4th-1/2 at GB 2 1/2: Packers must make stop here for momentum's sake.
Battle...up the middle...YES! Packers stuff them! Bend-but-don't-just-break, but hold them to NOTHING!
12:42 p.m. Packers' 1st Drive (continued from 2nd quarter)
Let's see. The refs aren't letting the Packers use the back shoulder throw. The Chiefs are controlling the clock and the football, limiting the Packers' drive opportunities.
Exactly as Kansas City cooked it up.
3rd-7 at GB 23: ARod over the middle and Cobb assists with the first down catch. His ability to do his best Greg Jennings impersonation may be a key for Green Bay to not only win games big early, but rest Aaron Rodgers. 16 yards.
Grant for four yards in a "the best he possibly could get" run, as Bulaga assisted on the back side to keep him to a positive yardage run before KC's good run defense took the rest.
THIRD DROP FOR FINLEY? Wayne: "This is becoming epidemic."
3rd-6 at GB 43: Jones does just...just...enough with a skinny post, beating Carr one-on-one. He reached up for a high pass.
No huddle time.
ARod rolling right, deep....fabulous catch by Finley? Nope. Just off his fingertips. Four misses today.
3rd-10 at KC 49: nope. Driver with a drop. Green Bay has five drops by starting receivers in 18 minutes and two seconds of football.
12:37 p.m. Packers' 2nd Drive :11
Credit KC for controlling the ball this quarter.
Back shoulder throw to Nelson...and it's the 2nd incompletion and 2nd offensive pass interference call on Nelson. What? I saw NOTHING. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! What?
Play action, and Finley with the second drop of the quarter. What?
I feel like Dave Chappelle with one of his routines with all the "Whats?"
Finally, a completion! Cobb gets 13 yards on a square out. Arenas gave him a great cushion.
12:30 p.m. Chiefs' 2nd Drive 4:06
Kansas City 6, Green Bay 0
Succop 32 yard FG
Play action and Orton succeeded with a delivery to Breaston for a first down on the old keep pass. Been in the NFL since Otto Graham and works 80 percent of the time.
Two tackle breaks on a skinny post by Breaston earns another first down.
Remember the 2009 playoffs against Arizona. Steve Breaston killed the Packers. Reminders of that.
Clipping by Breaston on Clay Matthews on the next run by Jones, and it was not called. Granted, it wasn't much of a push.
Screen. Ugh. McClain with a heck of a screen set up for him. No one even had a chance at him until they reached the K.C. red zone.
3rd-6 at GB 14: Orton rushed...and the rush got to Orton and - I think - altered his throw to Bowe that would have been a touchdown.
12:13 p.m. Packers' 1st Drive 8:56
Cobb does his job by breaking the 20 yard line after taking a bouncing ball near the goal line.
That first defensive drive was reminiscent of the previous 13 games. It allows big yards, but doesn't give up the debilitating play. In other words, "coulda been worse."
First play: Driver out of bounds for five yards. He's a couple dozen yards from 10,000 for a career. Hall of Fame? Uh, probably not. As a man, sure. Probably not as a football player.
Grant's first run was not much. Two yards. That was great pursuit by Kansas City. Not many running backs could have done more than that on that play.
3rd-3 at GB 33: off Finley's hands. Barring something unforeseen, it will be a rare time the Packers won't end a drive with the lead.
Uh, never mind. Running into the kicker keeps the drive alive...especially after the refs called it roughing the punter. And looking at the replay, the rusher took an extra step before hitting Masthay, who did a bit of acting. Borderline call. Extra step, but an academy award acting job.
Grant gets some running room and gets five yards to the left. Fabulous behind-the-line-of-scrimmage cut on a play that looked similar to his 47-yard touchdown run last week.
3rd-1 at KC 43: Grant smashes off right guard to the 38. Drive saver.
If Green Bay gets an early dagger-like lead, this could be an interesting day in terms of seeing Matt Flynn throw a lot of passes later. But more to go before we get to that point.
Fumble! Rodgers smashed by Hali! Tnankfully, Marshall Newhouse on the spot and rumbling for an eight-yard loss. He should have just fallen on the ball, but the Packers owned possession.
Flaggage, thanks to the nose tackle jumping across the line of scrimmage, right in front of the center. Whoops. Look at the ball. Don't listen to the master of the cadence, Mr. Rodgers.
3rd-13 at KC 41: ARod gets Nelson deep along the sideline, but Nelson pushed off of Carr to get the back shoulder fade catch. Yet the refs call lit an incompletion anyway. Hmmmm....was he out of bounds? Well, he never had control.
4th-13 at KC 41: 59 yarder? Nope. Wide right. But the flag was dropped in the KC end zone. 12 men on the field? Yep.
Crosby's cannon gets a second shot. And that second shot was another push to the right...though it nearly went over the goalpost from 54 yards out! A little more accuracy, and that's good from 65.
12:04 p.m. Chiefs' 1st Drive 15:00 left in 1st quarter
Chiefs 3, Packers 0
Succup 19 yd FG
Crosby bombs the ball to Independence, MO. It just landed in someone's barbecue sauce in the parking lot.
Kyle Orton gets his second shot at the Packers, a rarity that a QB starts twice in non-divisional games against one team in a regular season. He did it all the time with the Bears.
Bears West backfield mate, running back Thomas Jones with nothing. B.J. Raji crushing him after one yard.
A.J. and D.J. (Hawk/Smith) own McClain on 2nd down. The Packers are owning this running game of the Chiefs, at least initially.
3rd-8 at KC 22: Orton connects with Coppersat the 32. Shields slipped in coverage after Coppers' pattern Burnett slammed Orton as the ball went out.
REVERSE! McCluster went from the wideout position for seven yards. Walden smart to stay home.
Well, that domination of the run game by Green Bay - not the case this time. Bears West worked with Jones to the left.
Copper then runs a square out, and Woodson gave him a lot more cushion than expected, or necessary. KC now in Green Bay territory.
Battle then chug-a-lugs five yards for five yards. Mike Neal got dragged for a few of those yards.
3rd-5 at GB 40: McClain inside the 35. Wow. This Kansas City offense is moving like clockwork. On the McClain catch, Clay Matthews was essentially trying to cover two guys, thanks to the formation.
Uh oh. Thomas Jones yards from paydirt after a fabulously blocked and set-up screen pass. No one even touched him until D.J. Smith knocked him out of bounds at the four yard line.
1st-goal at GB 3: Battle for two yards, thanks to Hawk stopping the near-goal-line sweep.
3rd-goal at GB 1: Orton play action...and a drop by McClain by the goal line. Burnett made McClain's life miserable. He saved four points.
Captains Howard Green, Brett Goode and Scott Wells heading out for the coin toss.
Packers call tails. It's tails. Packers, as always, smartly defer. They own control of the second half momentum because of a coin flip.
Not only will Josh Sitton start, but linebacker A.J. Hawk will also start for Green Bay, despite injuries. That from Mike McCarthy.
Mixed news on the injury front: RB James Starks has been ruled inactive for today. OL Josh Sitton has been ruled active.
Few people except those in the Chiefs locker room believe that they stand any chance of stopping the world champion Packers' undefeated run.
Still, the NFL is an anything-can-happen league, and the Packers must continue to perfect their game before the playoffs.
Perfection is, of course, what the 13-0 Packers are chasing this year, but Green Bay has done a solid job of focusing not on the perfect record, but perfect execution.
Why? Because perfect execution tends to beget perfect execution in more important games - meaning the three postseason games that are coming.
What is more important than clinching home field advantage throughout the playoffs? That you have the best execution, the most perfect execution. Because no matter where you play, the more perfect you are in execution, the better your chances of winning.
That matters to Packers coach Mike McCarthy and his team a lot more than where they play.
That's what we need to look for today - are the Packers executing at as close to perfection as possible?
As McCarthy first told Newsradio 620 WTMJ's "Wisconsin's Morning News," James Starks' eligibility to play today will be a game-time decision after his knee injury.