Quarterback Jordan Love struggles as Green Bay Packers lose to Kansas City Chiefs 13-7, fall to 7-2
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Against a Kansas City Chiefs defense that ranks among the NFL’s worst this season, the Green Bay Packers might’ve expected to have at least a prayer with Jordan Love at quarterback Sunday.
It was apparent from almost the game’s first snap they would not.
The Packers’ seven-game winning streak was snapped with a 13-7 loss to the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. Their loss came with three-time MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers on the reserve/COVID-19 list. It would be impossible to overstate the impact of Rodgers’ absence on this Packers offense.
The Chiefs entered Sunday ranked 28th in scoring defense and 29th in yards in the NFL. Instead of taking advantage of a poor defense, Love led the Packers to a loss that will create many questions regarding the team’s future.
Here are some observations:
A short leash for Love
Early in Sunday’s game, it was apparent Matt LaFleur did not intend his game plan to include Love throwing deep. The young quarterback did not attempt a pass beyond 10 yards until 4:45 left in the second quarter. That was a deep shot down the left sideline to Davante Adams on third-and-6, an incompletion that never really had a chance with cornerback Charvarius Ward’s coverage. Later in the quarter, Love scrambled right and hung a ball to receiver Randall Cobb down the middle of the field. That pass somehow reached Cobb before Chiefs cornerback Juan Thornhill could make a play on it, connecting for 35 yards, but it wasn’t pretty. On the game, Love averaged 5.6 yards per pass. Rodgers is averaging 7.3 yards per pass this year.
Love’s wheels don't go far
The Packers clearly wanted to get Love outside the pocket, taking advantage of his athleticism. LaFleur called a bevy of bootlegs, getting his quarterback outside the pocket. Whatever athleticism Love has as a quarterback, it didn’t translate into much production with his legs. Love picked up only 23 yards on five scrambles, clearly looking to pass first. That might be a problem if Love can’t be more of a dual-threat quarterback because his accuracy was lacking. Love completed only 19-of-34 passes for 190 yards, one touchdown, one interception and a 69.5 rating.
Jones, Dillon almost reach century mark combined
It wasn’t quite the rushing production the Packers have seen with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback, but Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon were still the backbone of LaFleur’s offense. The pair of running backs combined for 99 rushing yards on 20 carries, impressive given how often the Chiefs dropped a safety into the box to defend the run. Without Rodgers, the Packers saw by far their most looks against a single deep safety this season. Given Rodgers’ expected return, the run game was one of the few silver linings Sunday.
Special teams were a disaster
The Packers special teams have been uneven this season, a mix of good and bad. On Sunday, they were just bad. Very bad. The Packers inserted a new long snapper, Steven Wirtel, but did not see improvement with a field-goal unit that has consistently had issues this season. Mason Crosby was wide left from 40 yards on one field goal that appeared to have a problem between Wirtel’s snap and punter Corey Bojorquez’s hold. A 37-yard field goal was later blocked. The pair of misses kept six easy points off the board. Later, rookie punt returner Amari Rodgers did not catch a Chiefs punt, and the football contacted Malik Taylor after bouncing on the field. The Chiefs scored a field goal, creating a 9-point swing purely off special teams.
Packers show top-10 defense
It’s remarkable how far the Packers' defense has come since its dreadful opener against the New Orleans Saints. The Packers entered Sunday ranked eighth in the NFL with 20.9 points allowed per game, and seventh with 331.8 yards allowed on average. They looked every bit like a top-10 defense against Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce, holding each superstar in check. The Chiefs have had their struggles this season, and Sunday was no different. Still, they entered Sunday fourth in yards and 10th in points, still a top-10 offense. The Packers held Mahomes to 20-for-37 for 166 yards and a 74.8 rating. Mahomes did find Hill for 13 yards on third-and-10, the game’s clinching play, but the Packers' defense had much to be pleased with leaving Kansas City.