The defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs walked into Lambeau Field tonight, accompanied by Taylor Swift, and never had the lead. The Green Bay Packers are back to .500 with a 6-6 record, and are still in the thick of the playoff hunt after their most impressive win thus far, with a score of 27-19. Let’s dive into this week’s winners and losers.
Winner: Jordan Love
What an improvement from the last time Love faced the Chiefs. The Packers’ quarterback looked great in his second showing. His first pass of the game, a 19-yarder to WR Christian Watson, was beautiful. Love was smart with the football tonight, making multiple efforts to get rid of the ball instead of taking a sack, and even those throws looked good. He also had a Rodgers-esque throw to WR Romeo Doubs, putting it only where his receiver could get it. Love’s deep ball looked great tonight. He took a smart sack at the end of the game to keep the clock running, and after an Anders Carlson FG, the Chiefs had just 1:09 left on the clock. Jordan Love won the Packers this game.
Loser: Joe Barry
Fire Barry is back on, baby; disagree if you must! Travis Kelce was consistently open tonight, and it’s an actual miracle he didn’t break 100 yards receiving. He was wide open on a Chiefs 3rd-and-18 during the team’s first possession of the second half, and it felt like the game took a turn at this very moment. It took the Chiefs roughly two minutes to score. There are way too many talented names on this defense for it to be so frustratingly bad. The offense was put in the position to have to score every single time they got the ball back. They didn’t, because that’s not a feasible way to win football games. Yeah, the team held the Chiefs to 19 points, but Barry will not be getting any credit from me, a noted expert! Jordan Love certainly won the Packers this game, but Joe Barry almost lost it for them.
Winner: Pass Rush
The Chiefs did not find the endzone in the first half of the game, thanks to huge third-down sacks by Rashan Gary and Preston Smith. Rookie Lukas Van Ness got his second sack of the season as well during the Chiefs’ first drive. These were the only sacks of the game, but they were responsible for the Chiefs only scoring 6 points in the first half.
Loser: Run Defense
Chiefs RB Isiah Pacheco has had a relatively quiet season, breaking 100 yards just once before tonight. He had 100 yards by the third quarter tonight. At one point, it took what looked like all 11 defenders to bring him down, and he ended up making his way to the 1-yard-line by the end of it. He finished the night with 110 yards, as he was ejected for throwing a punch towards the end of the game.
Winner: Christian Watson
Watson had the team’s first catch of the game, on a beautiful 19-yard pass by Jordan Love, but the reception was just as beautiful. He also found the endzone twice tonight, once when he was wide open on the Packers’ second drive of the game, and again in the second half. This second TD-catch was one of the most ridiculously athletic catches I’ve seen from Watson; I think I audibly said, “Good lord.” Towards the end of the game, he ended up going down with what looked like a painful hamstring injury, which he is unfortunately no stranger to. Prayers up for a speedy recovery for the WR, who’s gotten hot during this second half of the season.
Winner: Keisean Nixon
You sly little fox, you! Nixon had one of the biggest plays of the game, the only interception by either team tonight. This came at a moment it looked like the Chiefs were starting to march down the field. The Packers scored their final points of the game as a result of this play, a 48-yard FG by Anders Carlson.
The team prepares for another primetime game next week on Monday Night Football (it’s like the schedule makers knew the world needed to see Jordan Love towards the end of this season), taking on the 4-8 New York Giants, who will be well-rested after a bye this week. They’ve now won 3 in a row; can they keep their hot streak alive yet again on the national stage?