The Kansas City Chiefs started slow, digging themselves into a 14-0 hole to open the game against the Green Bay Packers, but rallied back for a 17-14 halftime lead. What could have been a blowout turned into a fun, competitive game.
There are no moral victories, but here are five winners and three losers in the Chiefs’ 31-24 loss.
- Wide Receiver Mecole Hardman showed that when he gets his hands on the ball, you should look out! Breaking tackles and getting upfield, the rookie was impressive on offense and special teams, where he had good results on both kick and punt returns. Andy Reid is finding ways to get Hardman involved and letting him make plays while he develops during his rookie season. It seems they should continue to get the football in his hands. He’s got a shot to be a special player.
- Linebacker Damien Wilson demonstrated how much better all of the Chiefs linebackers can look when they are able to attack and blitz. Wilson was very effective disguising his blitzes and getting to the quarterback, with three quarterback hits on the night to go along with a key sack.
- Defensive end Tanoh Kpassagnon had a 17-yard sack of Aaron Rodgers in the first quarter, and credit for another on a blitz to close out the first half. The athleticism has always been there, but Kpassagnon has also demonstrated relentless effort in the extended playing time he’s received with so many injuries across the defensive front.
- Quarterback Matt Moore was somewhere north of solid as a starter. He played within himself and was generally able to get the ball out quickly — and into the hands of the Chiefs’ playmakers. Most Chiefs fans would have been happy with the backup quarterback giving the team 267 yards and two touchdowns with no turnovers against a good Packers defense. Moore gave the team a chance to win — which is all you can ask.
- Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers put a couple of passes in absolutely impossible places in this game. Nobody else but Mahomes can make those throws. Sometimes you just have to tip your cap. 305 yards and three touchdowns are be the box score, but it’s more about how he did it — and how he commands his offense when it counts.
- Running back LeSean McCoy had a fumble that turned into seven points for the Packers. At that momoent, the defense was gassed and fighting; it couldn’t have come at a worse time. McCoy had a decent game on the ground before that play, but Andy Reid turned to Damien Williams after McCoy’s fumble.
- Linebacker Ben Niemann was just a step slow in coverage all night long, and was unable to beat blockers in the run game. The Chiefs nickel/dime linebacker position has been a problem — as evidenced by huge numbers for Aaron Jones in the passing game.
- Head Coach Andy Reid definitely had some stellar moments with some brilliant play-calling. But there will be a few decisions that will haunt him — and Chiefs fans, too. A questionable challenge, mediocre time management and a couple of punts on fourth-and-short will have many wondering, “What if?” In the end, the Chiefs fell to defeat much as they did in their other two losses, watching the second half tick away with a defense that was unable to get it done — and an offense that needed just one more big play.