Packers notes: DeShone Kizer savors experiencing first NFL victory
GREEN BAY – DeShone Kizer did a little extra prep Sunday morning, refreshing himself on the Green Bay Packers' playbook and the game plan for the Chicago Bears because as the backup quarterback, he had to be ready — something could happen to Aaron Rodgers.
“And lo and behold, it did,” Kizer said.
Rodgers injured his left knee with a little over nine minutes left in the second quarter of the Packers’ 24-23 victory Sunday night, and Kizer was thrust onto the field with the Packers trailing 10-0 and the offense stagnating.
“I had to go out there and string together a couple plays,” he said. “Obviously we were kind of in a lull on offense at the time and the goal at the time was to just try to drive down and get into scoring position.
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“From there, there’s a couple plays I wish I had back.”
Kizer immediately moved the Packers from his own 46-yard line to the Chicago 9, and things looked good. But on third-and-goal, he drifted to his right and into the arms of rushing Bears linebacker Khalil Mack. Mack not only sacked Kizer, but just took the ball away from him to prevent the Packers from denting the scoreboard.
With the Cleveland Browns a year ago, Kizer threw 22 interceptions and fumbled nine times. Of those, six interceptions and one fumble occurred while in the opponent’s red zone.
On his next series, Kizer was under heavy pressure from Bears defensive end Roy Robertson-Harris and still attempted to flip a screen pass out — only Mack was the one waiting for the ball.
Kizer said didn’t see Mack and admitted he tried to make a great play — only to see the Bears linebacker rumble 27 yards for a touchdown, giving the Bears a 17-0 lead going into the half.
“This game is a game where you don’t want to turn the ball over, and when you have one of the better players in the league coming off the edge, you’ve got to be aware of where he’s at and make sure he’s not in a position to make the plays that he made,” Kizer said.
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After going 4-for-7 for 55 yards and a 42.9 rating to end the first half, Kizer was back on the sidelines to watch Rodgers direct the comeback victory.
It was the first time Kizer saw a win first-hand in the league.
“I’ve learned very fast in my short time being an NFL quarterback how difficult it is to win a game,” Kizer said. “Going out last year and going 0-16 really hurt. Now to come out and see who I believe to be the greatest quarterback of all time lead us back from a large deficit there in the second half really makes my first win special.”
Challenge pays off
Six yards and 10 seconds.
When you’re trying to come back from 20 points down, such small numbers matter.
With 2:55 to go in the game and the Bears driving, Packers head coach Mike McCarthy challenged whether or not Bears running back Jordan Howard stepped out at the Packers’ 22-yard line, as opposed to being brought down at the 16, on a long run.
After the review, it was ruled that Howard did step out of bounds at the 22. The ball was moved back, and 10 seconds were added to the game clock.
In the end, the yards were needed more than the seconds.
Following a Dean Lowry tackle for loss, Howard gained 11 yards on a run — leaving him two yards short of a first down. A Bears incompletion on third-and-2 led to a field goal, giving Aaron Rodgers 2:39 to score one touchdown to win the game.
BOX SCORE: Packers 24, Bears 23
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“We were in a time-management situation, obviously,” McCarthy said. “You get down under the four-minute mark, we had three timeouts at that point. Trying to utilize the timeouts the best you can, and in fact, with the help of the replay here at home it was a great asset there. We were going to call timeout anyways at that point because of exactly where we were. The challenge was a good challenge and we got the timeout back and obviously put plenty of time back on the clock. If I had known we were going to score so quickly, I wouldn’t have challenged.”