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4 winners and 5 losers from the Chiefs’ loss to the Packers

Which Kansas City players caught our attention during Week 13’s loss to Green Bay?

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Green Bay Packers Mark Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Sunday’s game against the Green Bay Packers certainly didn’t go as the Kansas City Chiefs had planned.

From the injuries to the missed tackles, the Kansas City defense struggled much more than we’ve come to expect. The offense got back to its pattern of doing just enough to keep games close — but not enough to win. The receivers were once again an issue — as were penalties. But again, it came down to a chance to put together a game-winning drive — and again, a turnover ruined that chance. The Packers fielded the better team on Sunday night; they were in control throughout the matchup. And now — after a crushing 27-19 loss — the Chiefs have a little less control over their playoff destiny.

Here are a few players who stood out on a disappointing night in Green Bay.

Winners

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Green Bay Packers Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Running back Isiah Pacheco: Good things happened when the second-year pro got the ball. He put up 123 total yards and a touchdown, running through tackle after tackle. He also managed to avoid injury on a couple of plays that looked brutal. Pacheco brings toughness, energy and the kind of ability that can carry an offense. He did everything he could in this game — that is, until he was ejected with less than a minute left.

Wide receiver Rashee Rice: The Chiefs' No. 1 wide receiver had a solid performance to follow last week’s breakout game. He collected eight hard-earned catches for 64 yards. He’s starting to show the kind of consistency that can give him staying power.

Left tackle Wanya Morris: Left tackle Donovan Smith once again had to leave the game with his ailing neck — and again, Morris stepped in and did an admirable job. While there was a sack on one of his first-quarter snaps, it appeared that he pushed his guy deep enough that Mahomes should have been able to get rid of the ball. Morris showed that he’s a more-than-capable run blocker — and at least an adequate pass blocker. His future looks bright.

Linebacker Jack Cochrane: Forced into action by Drue Tranquill’s concussion, Cochrane wasn’t perfect — but he did have seven solo tackles. Two of those were for a loss. It’s not easy to take the green dot after the guy who replaced the guy who usually wears the green do is also injured. But Cochrane still did a decent job overall.

Losers

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Green Bay Packers Dan Powers-USA TODAY Sports

The Chiefs’ defense: Most of the focus of this loss is going to be on the offensive failures — and rightly so. But the defense’s inability to get off of the field was also a huge factor in this loss. The Packers got the ball first, eating up half of the first quarter with a 13-play drive for a touchdown. After the Chiefs’ field goal, they scored again — this time with eight plays over four minutes. In the second half, there were three more scoring drives of seven to 11 plays and at least four minutes. The Packers averaged over six yards per play, five yards per rush — and Kansas City missed a number of tackles along the way. The offense was once again subpar. The team needed a big defensive performance — and it didn’t get one.

Skyy Moore and Marquez Valdes-Scantling: Different week, same story. It’s a low-percentage play when Mahomes targets either of these guys. In this game, Valdes-Scantling seemed to have run the wrong direction on another deep pass — and Moore was out-routed by a defender who claimed a fourth-quarter interception. On the final drive, Mahomes twice tried to get to Valde-Scantling downfield; it didn’t work either time. Then for some reason, he appeared to be targeting him short on third-and-long. These two receivers combined for seven targets, three catches — and a whole bunch of us asking, “what would you say you do here?

The officials: In this one, it went both ways. Green Bay converted a fourth down when the blocker grabbed Mike Danna’s face mask. Mahomes got hit on the sideline, getting a late-hit penalty that probably shouldn’t have been. Then — with the game on the line — a defender went through Valdes-Scantling on the goal line. No pass interference was called. There was also a questionable holding call on Creed Humphrey, a soft pass interference that went in Kansas City’s favor — and on the final play, what could have been another pass interference flag. There were just too many bad calls. Let’s be clear: the Chiefs didn’t lose this game because of the officials. But there’s no doubt they had a bad night.

Quarterback Patrick Mahomes: I repeat: forget the officiating. The Chiefs lost because they failed to score touchdowns in the red zone — and because their quarterback threw an interception instead of leading a game-winning drive. It’s not fair to blame this one all on Mahomes, because he also made some great plays. But when the MVP doesn’t get it done when it matters, he’s probably going to shoulder more of the blame than he deserves. That’s just the way it is.

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