The Green Bay Packers (13-1) lost for the first time in 364 days—a stretch of 20 games—as the Kansas City Chiefs pulled off the upset of the season Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium, 19-14.
Five observations from the Packers’ first taste of defeat since Week 15 of last season:
1. Playing perfect to end perfection
I said before the game that Kyle Orton would have to play a perfect game for the Chiefs to have a chance. He was about as close to perfect as you could ask for on Sunday, completing 23-of-31 passes for 299 yards. The key stat, however? Zero turnovers. Orton made all the easy throws and avoided that one game-changing giveaway.
The Chiefs offense did a fine job of hurting the Packers in the screen game early then picked apart the Packers’ zone after Dom Capers was forced to adjust. But even with the Chiefs’ offense rolling, there was anticipation for a turnover from the defense that could turn around the game. It never came. With the Packers offense struggling for the first time all season, not getting that one momentum-shifter was huge.
2. Dropping the rhythm
The issues on offense went deeper than just drops, but it was painfully obvious how those missed opportunities in the first half stymied the rhythm of the Packers’ offense. Jermichael Finley saw a couple of easy ones go right through the hands, but he also had a handful of opportunities to make game-changing catches, which admittedly were tough plays, and couldn’t convert. Aaron Rodgers called the drops a “physical mistake” after the game, but it’s mental for Finley. He’s clearly pressing, and dropping the first ball that came to him Sunday only snowballed the mistakes.
He wasn’t alone, as Donald Driver and Jordy Nelson also dropped balls which they normally catch. If those plays are made, the Packers likely score enough points to win. Greg Jennings wasn’t the one dropping those passes, either. His impact was felt in the offense, but not having him on the field had absolutely nothing with the inexcusable drops.
3. Man down
The Packers’ already aching offensive line saw both Bryan Bulaga and Derek Sherrod suffer injuries. Bulaga left in the first half but seemed fine on the sidelines after returning from the locker room. McCarthy labeled his injury as a “knee sprain,” which again, can mean a number of things. Bulaga will have a MRI later today. Sherrod suffered a major injury, which McCarthy confirmed as a broken leg, and won’t be playing football anytime soon.