Eric Goska column: Chiefs at home in Packers' territory

Dec. 18, 2011

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Kansas City Chiefs running back Jackie Battle runs for a touchdown in the fourth quarter of Sunday's game against the Green Bay Packers at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. / Evan Siegle/Press-Gazette

Over the line

Greatest negative differentials in plays run in opponents’ territory (regular season only) since Aaron Rodgers became Green Bay’s starting quarterback in 2008.

Diff. Opponent Date GB Result
-25 Buccaneers Sept. 28, 2008 lost 30-21
-21 Chiefs Dec. 18, 2011 lost 19-14
-21 Lions Oct. 3, 2010 won 28-26
-20 Dolphins Oct. 17, 2010 lost 23-20
-19 Falcons Oct. 5, 2008 lost 27-24

Highest percentage of plays run by an opponent in Green Bay territory since 2008.

Pct. Opponent Date GB Result
66.7 Vikings Nov. 1, 2009 lost 38-26
62.9 Falcons Oct. 5, 2008 lost 27-24
60.0 Chiefs Dec. 18, 2011 lost 19-14
58.9 Saints Sept. 8, 2011 won 42-34
58.3 Bears Sept. 27, 2010 lost 20-17


For most fans, the 50-yard line is the finest vantage point from which to watch a football game.

Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium, those with an eye for offense would have been best served to choose a spot anywhere on the Green Bay Packers’ side of the field even if that meant switching seats every quarter.

The Kansas City Chiefs ran 42 of their 70 offensive plays in Packers’ territory en route to a 19-14 victory that halted their visitor’s quest for an unbeaten season. Green Bay, meanwhile, launched 36 of 57 snaps on its turf meaning over half (61.4 percent) of the signals called emanated from the loser’s side of the field.

Kyle Orton didn’t wait long to lead the Chiefs past midfield. His 10-yard pass to receiver Terrance Copper on the sixth play of the game reached the Packers’ 45-yard line.

It was the first of seven Kansas City drives to pierce Green Bay territory. The Chiefs scored points on five of those advances.

Two of Kansas City’s longest plays were initiated beyond the 50. Orton hit running back Thomas Jones on a screen pass that carried 27 yards to the Green Bay 4 in the first quarter. Orton hooked up with tight end Leonard Pope for 33 yards in the fourth quarter.

In both cases, Ryan Succop capped those drives with a field goal four plays later.

Half of the Chiefs’ 18 passing first downs were earned in that area of easy pickings. The majority (228) of the team’s 438 yards were cultivated there as well.

Like homesteaders moving west, Kansas City seemingly claimed land as it pleased.

At least until it arrived inside the 15. There, for a change, Green Bay put up a fight.

In 15 plays, the Chiefs managed 23 yards. Three times they settled for field goals, and once they came away empty-handed after defensive end C.J. Wilson held running back Jackie Battle to no gain on fourth down from the 3.

Only when it mattered most did they push across a touchdown. Battle made up for his earlier shortfall by plowing in from a yard out to put Kansas City ahead 19-7 with four minutes, 53 seconds left.

While the Chiefs were busy carving up Green Bay’s side of the field, the Packers did little to return the favor until the second half.

Aaron Rodgers and the offense ran just eight plays from beyond midfield in the opening two quarters. Rodgers threw five incompletions, running back Ryan Grant gained nine yards on two carries and linebacker Tamba Hali sacked Rodgers for an 8-yard loss.

Green Bay’s deepest advance reached the Chiefs’ 36. There, Mason Crosby missed a 54-yard field goal attempt wide right.

For the first time this season, the Packers were scoreless at halftime.

Green Bay had more success in the second half. Rodgers had passes of 41 and 31 yards to tight end Jermichael Finley, and he threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Donald Driver. Rodgers’ 8-yard TD run closed the gap 19-14 with 2:04 to play.

From there, Kansas City ran out the clock. How fitting that the Chiefs crossed midfield to do so, running their last five plays on Packers’ turf.

Since Rodgers became the Packers’ starting quarterback in 2008, Green Bay usually runs more plays beyond the 50-yard line than does its opponent. In 62 regular-season games, the Packers have been on the positive side of that differential 37 times and are 28-9 (.757) when doing so. When finishing on the negative side as Sunday, the team is 12-13 (.480).

Extra points

Kyle Orton compiled a passer rating of 104.1. Aaron Rodgers earned a rating of 80.1. Rodgers has not been exceeded in passer rating to that extent since the 2010 opener, a game in which the Eagles’ Michael Vick (101.9) beat Rodgers (73.1) by 28.8 points.

Eric Goska is a Press-Gazette correspondent, a Packers historian and the author of "Green Bay Packers: A Measure of Greatness," a statistical history of the Packers. Email him at

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