Special-teams misadventures bedevil Packers once again in loss to Chiefs
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The Green Bay Packers' special teams were anything but on Sunday, allowing a nine-point score differential and almost causing more, in the Packers' 13-7 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
“Obviously we could’ve used the six points, and we gave them points when we fumbled the ball," Packers coach Matt LaFleur said. "Just, we can’t have that happen.”
On Green Bay’s second possession, the run game moved the offense downfield, before stalling outside the red zone. Kicker Mason Crosby came out for the 40-yard field goal attempt that skirted the outside of the left upright.
Replay seemed to show a less than ideal snap from the Packers' new long snapper, Steven Wirtel, in his first game. LaFleur conceded there was an issue with the hold overall, but didn’t share whether or not he felt it stemmed from the snap or the hold.
“Yeah, I definitely saw that,” LaFleur said of the laces pointing in the wrong way. “I’m not going to get into (hold or snap) right now; that’s something we obviously have to get corrected though.”
After the defense forced a turnover on downs, the Packers' ensuing possession started on the Kansas City 37-yard line. Six plays went 18 yards and forced Green Bay into a 37-yard field goal attempt. Crosby’s kick was blocked.
With six points already taken off the board, the day was still far from over. Trailing 7-0, with just under three minutes to play in the first half, Amari Rodgers was back to receive the Chiefs punt. Malik Taylor dove in the direction of the ball, which his foot hit. After a challenge by Chiefs coach Andy Reid, it was officially ruled a muff, that Kansas City recovered.
LaFleur said he’d look at the play closer on Monday to determine if Rodgers should’ve fielded the punt or not.
The defense stood up against this oft-potent Chiefs offense throughout the game, but particularly in this quick-turn situation. After the muff — giving the Chiefs possession at the Packers 10-yard line — the defense held them to four yards on four plays. Packers safety Darnell Savage admits they knew points were inevitable, so had a goal to keep the bleeding to a minimum.
“Those situations, you don’t even, you don’t necessarily have time to reflect," he said. "You gotta go out there, and our mentality was ‘hold them to three. Hold them to three.’ When they got the ball down there, you know stuff happens in the course of the game and you’ve gotta be ready to adapt and adjust and I feel like we did really good with that today.”
LaFleur praised the defense after the game, noting the miscues on offense and special teams could’ve allowed the game to get out of hand.
“I was really proud of our guys' effort,” he said. “Our defense, against one of the premier offenses in the league, I thought that was a championship-level effort.”