Every week since the Green Bay Packers’ bye week, Jordan Love has been getting better and better. His performances the last few weeks led the Packers to wins over the Los Angeles Chargers and the then-8-2 Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving Day, and in his first Sunday Night Football start he delivered another statement to the rest of the NFL and a huge upset victory for Green Bay,
Love threw for 267 yards and three touchdowns in the cold at Lambeau as the Packers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 27-19. In beating the defending Super Bowl champs, Green Bay won its 16th straight game in the month of December, and Love finished his third straight game with multiple touchdowns and no interceptions.
Both teams led long drives in the first half, with each having just three possessions — and the Chiefs’ third was a single kneel-down. The story of the first half was red zone conversions, however, with the Packers scoring touchdowns on both of their first-half opportunities and Kansas City settling for field goals on theirs. That gave Green Bay a 14-6 lead at the break, one the Chiefs would cut into immediately to start the second half. The Packers’ defense managed to hold on a two-point conversion to preserve a lead before the two teams proceeded to trade scores.
Ultimately, the fourth quarter belonged to the Packers’ defense, which got its first three-and-out of the night and the only turnover of the game in that frame. Keisean Nixon’s pick allowed the offense a chance to extend its lead to 8 points with just over a minute left, and then managed to fend off a furious final drive from the Chiefs that saw a slew of officiating mistakes going both ways.
The Packers deserved to win this game, however. Although Isiah Pacheco gained 110 yards and scored a touchdown on the ground before a late ejection, the defense held Patrick Mahomes to 210 yards through the air and sacked him three times in the first half. Two of those sacks led to red zone stops, which helped provide the 8-point victory margin in the end. Meanwhile, Christian Watson had a big game, catching 7 passes for 71 yards and two touchdowns before appearing to suffer a hamstring injury late in the game.
After receiving the opening kickoff, the Packers got to work against the Chiefs’ vaunted defense. Jordan Love got a trio of passes for first downs from Jordan Love, hitting Watson, Tucker Kraft, and Dontayvion Wicks to move the chains. Those plays surrounded a pair of jet sweep tosses to Jayden Reed and a series of solid runs from AJ Dillon, who got off to a great start with 30 yards on 7 carries.
To cap off the 13-play, 7:47 drive, Matt Lafleur dialed up a play-action pass on second-and-goal from the one-yard line. With three tight ends and an extra offensive lineman on the field, Love faked a hand-off to Dillon and rolled out, lofting a pass to a wide-open Ben Sims for the game’s opening touchdown. Here’s a look at the score:
Kansas City’s opening drive was an impressive response, an early indication that this would be no easy game for the Packers. Patrick Mahomes picked up a 3rd and 11 near midfield with a pass to former Packer Marquez Valdes-Scantling, but a sack by Lukas Van Ness in the red zone forced Kansas City into a 3rd-and-goal from the 9. Rashan Gary stepped up, splitting a sack with Kenny Clark and keeping the Chiefs to just a field goal.
Love got right back to work when he stepped back on the field, and a pair of rookies jump-started the drive. Tucker Kraft caught two passes for 28 more yards, and Wicks picked up 27 on a beautiful deep over as Love quickly led the team into the red zone. On 3rd-and-5 from the 9, Love dropped back into traffic and found a late-breaking Christian Watson wide open in the middle of the end zone, and the Packers had a 14-3 lead.
The Chiefs matriculated down the field with another long drive on their second series, but again it ended with a third-down sack in the red zone. After a holding call on Creed Humphrey pushed the Chiefs into long yardage, Preston Smith and Devonte Wyatt were responsible for the sack this time, and Harrison Butker kicked his second field goal of the game to close the Packers’ lead to eight points.
Just four total drives took the game down to near the two-minute warning, and the Packers wanted to make sure to avoid giving the Chiefs a chance to double up around halftime. They got their first first down with a pass from Love to Watson, then Patrick Taylor picked up a huge gain of 24 yards to reach the Chiefs’ 32-yard line with 32 seconds left in the half. A false start penalty and an ugly run by James Robinson lost yardage, however, pushing the offense back out of Anders Carlson’s field goal range. Fortunately, Daniel Whelan dropped a punt beautifully inside the 5 and Rudy Ford downed it at the 1, giving the Chiefs just 9 seconds and a timeout. They wisely took a knee to take the game to halftime with the Packers ahead 14-6.
Coming out of the half, Mahomes hit Travis Kelce for a big gain of 21 yards, but then the Chiefs took back-to-back penalties to set them back with a 1st-and-25. Mahomes made some magic on 3rd-and-18, however, stepping up around a three-man rush to float a ball to Kelce for 27 yards. A few plays later, Pacheco ran in a one-yard touchdown to close the Chiefs to within two. Kansas City gave to Pacheco off left tackle on a two-point conversion attempt as well, but the Packers had it stuffed up and preserved their narrow lead.
The Packers had a prayer — maybe two — answered on their next series. A nice kickoff return from Keisean Nixon and a 14-yard catch-and-run from AJ Dillon set Green Bay up near midfield. Facing a 4th-and-1, Love heaved a prayer up to Romeo Doubs, dropping it perfectly in a bucket between three defenders for a 33-yard gain. Two plays later, he put one up to Christian Watson in the back of the end zone and Watson hauled in a magnificent leaping catch over a Chiefs defender, scoring his second touchdown of the game to give the Packers a 9-point lead.
Once again, the Chiefs moved the football steadily down the field as Mahomes threw a slew of short passes and Pacheco continued to run the ball with success. His 13-yard run — assisted by a push from the entire Chiefs offensive line — pushed Kansas City down to the two-yard line. Just after the start of the fourth quarter, Noah Gray got wide open and hauled in a touchdown pass from Mahomes, with a PAT pulling the Chiefs back within two points again.
Knowing that they needed a touchdown to extend their lead back up to two possessions, the Packers got behind the sticks thanks to a delay of game penalty, and punted after a failed 3rd-and-15 attempt intended for Jayden Reed. But the Green Bay defense got its first stop of the night, forcing a 3-and-out with a short run and a pair of incomplete passes from Mahomes.
That set up Green Bay with another chance to open up their lead, but a holding penalty on Rasheed Walker made that opportunity more difficult early on. Love hit a wide-open Doubs for a 27-yard gain on 2nd-and-16, then Christian Watson took a reverse from Malik Heath for 13 yards to get the Packers across midfield. Dillon took a great cutback 10 yards for a first down into field goal range, and Heath picked up 15 yards to reach the red zone. But as the Packers did to the Chiefs twice in the first half, Kansas City managed to dial up pressure and sacked Love on third down to force a field goal. Anders Carlson hit from 40 yards to make the score 24-19 with 6:46 remaining.
Corey Ballentine took a pass interference penalty on the second play of the Chiefs’ ensuing drive, but his fellow cornerback picked him up. Keisean Nixon tracked an errant Mahomes pass and brought in an incredible over-the-shoulder interception, giving the Packers another chance to put the game on ice. Nixon’s pick is worth revisiting for the impressive catch he hauled in:
With just over five minutes left, the Packers fired up their clock-running offense, picking up first downs with AJ Dillon on the ground and a tush push of Love after a 9-yard gain for Wicks. A fantastic playcall on a pop pass to Christian Watson got the Packers a first down and helped wipe out the Chiefs’ timeouts, but a sack on Love on third down once again forced Anders Carlson to attempt a huge 48-yard field goal to give the Packers an 8-point lead with a little over a minute left. Carlson drilled the kick straight down the middle of the uprights, giving the Packers a 27-19 lead.
After an offside call on the kickoff, the Chiefs took over from their own 30-yard line with 1:09 to go. After an incomplete pass on first down, Patrick Mahomes took off running and took a huge hit from Jonathan Owens, who was flagged for a late hit. However, replays clearly showed that Mahomes was still in bounds when the shoulder-to-shoulder hit came in, confirming that the penalty was a horrible mistake by the officiating crew. The next play saw Rashee Rice appear to fumble and Ballentine return it for a touchdown, but Rice was clearly down by contact before the ball popped out. However, Pacheco was flagged and ejected for throwing a punch at Keisean Nixon during the return, and the Chiefs took back over once again at the 50 with 50 seconds left on the clock.
Mahomes reared back for a deep shot to MVS and although Carrington Valentine clearly appeared to interfere with the receiver, there was no flag on the field. MVS then hauled in a pass for a first down and was ruled out of bounds, despite his forward progress clearly being stopped in the field of play. The Chiefs ended up getting set up with 2nd-and-10 from the 33-yard line with 14 seconds left, and two incomplete passes set up the final play of the game from that spot. Mahomes’ heave into the end zone fell incomplete, and the Packers escaped with a thrilling statement victory.
The 27-19 win sends the Packers up to a 6-6 record and into playoff position as the number 7 seed in the NFC playoff picture. This is a far cry from where this team was just a month ago, and the Packers’ winning streak is now up to three games. Meanwhile, the Chiefs drop to 8-4 and are a full game behind the Ravens and Dolphins in the race for the AFC’s top seed.