No matter how poorly you expected this game to go, things looked like they were going to be going much poorer for the Green Bay Packers than they ended up going in Jordan Love’s first career start. Heading on the road to face the dangerous Kansas City Chiefs is a tough hill to climb for any team, but it certainly is even tougher with a new QB.
Dropping a 13-7 contest to the Chiefs certainly has a lot of positives to take from it, as the team played hard from whistle to whistle, even if there were plenty of mistakes that shouldn’t have happened.
The Packers were hoping that Sunday’s contest was going to be a way that they could put this week behind them, as Aaron Rodgers and his A) COVID-19 positive test and B) his comments on immunizations and the ongoing pandemic dominated what was supposed to be the league’s best game of the week.
Instead, it was Love who was thrust into the middle of everything, forced to step in for his starting debut while also needing to handle all the requirements that come with being an NFL starting QB on short notice. Helping him lead this team in Week 9 was the defense, as they consistently were able to bottle up Patrick Mahomes and the vaunted offensive attack that has made the Chiefs one of the league’s strongest teams.
Offensively, you cannot expect to win a game by failing to put up any points, and even though they were finally able to get off the schneid around the five-minute mark in the fourth quarter, it just wasn’t enough. However, the Packers never really felt out of it at any point, all thanks to the defense and Love somewhat kind of finding his footing in the second half.
The late-game scoring happened on a fourth-down conversion, as Love found Allen Lazard on a quick out to the sideline – Lazard did the rest, as he ducked under a tackle attempt by Daniel Sorenson and walked into the end zone to make it 13-7.
Love fulfilled the role of QB more as a game-manager than a full-fledged QB, but A) he showed poise in certain situations, especially on the scoring drive and B) it was not necessarily all of his fault. As he consistently had six-plus defenders rushing him on every drop back, he was forced into a multitude of rushed throws off of his back foot that never connected.
The rushing attack helped alleviate some of the pressure on Love, as Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon combined for 99 yards, with Love chipping in 23 of his own. But game flow quickly eradicated any sort of consistent rushing attack the Packers had, putting it all back on the shoulders of Love.
Defensively, Joe Barry had an excellent game plan to help slow this attack down, bottling up both facets of the KC offense. With Mahomes having looked rattled and never confident, combined with the rushing attack not being able to carry its own weight and not called on enough, the Chiefs did not look like the best team on the field at any point Sunday.
As has been the case for what has felt like the last 50 seasons, Green Bay’s special teams were a big-time issue, as a missed and a blocked field goal on two of the team’s first three drives set the unfortunate tone for the remainder of the game. Combine that with one of GB’s gunners on a punt return touching the ball (setting KC up inside the 10-yard line) and rookie Amari Rodgers fumbling a return (even though he recovered), it certainly soured a game that was completely and utterly winnable for the Packers.
There are plenty of takeaways to glean from this game, but none bigger than the fact that Love is not necessarily capable of taking over this team at this time. Expecting the Utah State product to come out of the gate and dominate is not a healthy outlook to have, and the history of the two most-recent all-world QBs can cast unfortunate expectations onto the player(s) that follow.
The Packers shot themselves in the foot more than the Chiefs stopped them, which can be attributed to a few different things – however you want to boil it down, look at it like this – Green Bay’s QB current and future QB situation could be a lot worse. Love proved a lot on Sunday, both good and bad, but he showed that he has a ways to go.뿓뿓뿓
Mike Johrendt has been an avid fan of the Packers ever since he can remember. He is now a writer at PackersTalk and you can follow him on Twitter at @MJohrendt23