The Kansas City Chiefs put together back-to-back wins for the first time during the 2021 season on Sunday, as they defeated the Green Bay Packers 13-7. With the Chiefs' offense still working to regain its form from previous seasons, the defense — and the special teams unit — shined in the victory.
During 2020, his rookie year, Tommy Townsend was not called on to punt that much. The average at the end of the season came out to about three punts per game. Townsend doubled that on Sunday, punting six times and landing five inside the 20-yard line.
It isn’t often that a punter is up for consideration as the game’s most valuable player, but Townsend deserves it for his efforts on Sunday.
“I thought special teams did a great job, and (special teams coordinator) Dave (Toub) had a nice plan,” said head coach Andy Reid. “Tommy Townsend... this had to be his finest game, just did a tremendous job. Field position was a key, and he took care of that.”
With the offense continuing to struggle, Townsend flipped the field on multiple occasions and even pinned the Packers inside the 10-yard line three times. Townsend, who said he has been working on his mental approach off the field lately, agreed with his head coach when it came to Sunday being the best outing of his short career.
“I’d definitely say so,” said Townsend. “Today was kind of like — it was just one of those days, just one of those career days, where you just go out and you just have a great day. But of course, none of that would have happened without my gunners and the punt team being down there to down the ball and scoop up punts.... it was just a huge effort. I can’t pat those guys on the back enough.”
Wide receiver Marcus Kemp downed two punts — one at the Green Bay 2 and another at the Green Bay 8, making things rather uncomfortable for a quarterback in his first career start in Jordan Love.
“We have incredible gunners in Marcus Kemp and Chris Lammons,” added Townsend. “They’ve helped me out a lot this year in times when I haven’t had the greatest punts. They’ve been downed and made huge plays.”
A second-quarter punt was muffed by the Packers and recovered by Lammons.
“That’s always an incredible feeling — when you see your teammates react because it was a little tough to see that the ball had been muffed,” said Townsend. “But yeah, I’m the type that gets very, very fired up when there’s special teams plays like that. I’m not sure what the camera got, but I was definitely screaming and sprinting down and going down there to celebrate with the teammates.”
The Chiefs got the ball at the Green Bay 10, leading to a short field goal from Harrison Butker that gave them a 10-0 lead. Townsend, who also serves the Chiefs as the holder, praised Butker for the 55-yarder he made as the game went into halftime.
“It was huge,” said Townsend. “That was such a tough kick, too. Such a tough kick. It was pretty gusty [Sunday], and we had gone through different scenarios all throughout pregame, and like I said, it was going to be a tough day kicking, and he just came through and just absolutely crushed the ball, too. It had to have been three-fourths of the way, halfway up the uprights, and it was a 55-yard field goal, so he would have made that thing from deep. It’s pretty impressive. He’s fun to watch, fun to hold for.”
Townsend noted that getting the timing right has been something he, Butker and long snapper James Winchester have been working on since his arrival in Kansas City.
“We just put so much time into the field goal operation because, obviously, points are huge in this league,” said Townsend. “Games are super tight. We’ve worked really, really hard. We’ve got a lot of secret techniques and stuff that we’ve come into over the past year or so. It’s nice to see that we have such a clean operation; everybody’s just doing so well in it.”