February 24, 2024

Brighton Journal

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Jordan Love pushes Packers past Chiefs on ‘Sunday Night Football’: How Green Bay boosts playoff chances

Jordan Love pushes Packers past Chiefs on ‘Sunday Night Football’: How Green Bay boosts playoff chances

Packers quarterback Jordan Love played a starring role in Green Bay’s 27-19 win over the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday night at Lambeau Field. The 25-year-old QB was 25 of 36 passing for 267 yards and three touchdowns.

The Packers improved to 6-6 with their third straight win, as the Chiefs dropped to 8-4.

The Packers never trailed in the matchup with the AFC West leaders. Kansas City cut Green Bay’s lead to two points after a Noah Gray touchdown early in the fourth quarter but failed to capitalize on its next drive.

Packers quarterback Kisan Nixon picked off a punt by Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes with 5:14 remaining. Green Bay’s Anders Karlsson also hit two field goals in the fourth quarter, including a game-winning 48-yarder that gave the Packers a 27-19 lead with 1:09 remaining.

Mahomes completed 21 of 33 passes for 210 yards, with a touchdown and an interception. Kansas City running back Isiah Pacheco — who was ejected in the fourth quarter — posted 18 carries for 110 yards and a touchdown in the loss.

Christian Watson went out late in the fourth quarter with an apparent injury after scoring two Green Bay touchdowns. He gingerly walked off the field with the help of trainers after slipping.

What happened in the last minutes?

Refs did not call defensive pass interference on two key plays, including the final play of the game in which Mahomes attempted a Hail Mary on fourth-and-10 from the 33-yard line that was incomplete as time expired.

Earlier, with just over a minute to play, Mahomes was hit out of bounds and called a personal foul.

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Referee Brad Allen addressed that call, saying in the pool report: “The coverage official believed the defender made late and unnecessary contact with the midfielder. So that was a call for unnecessary roughness.

When asked whether or not there was a discussion about Mahomes being in bounds, Allen said that “internal conversations happen on every play and the coverage official was sure the call was made correctly.”

Regarding the non-call that featured the Packers’ Carrington Valentine draped over the Chiefs’ Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Allen said coverage officials “were in good standing and determined that there were no physical limitations that rose to the level of defensive pass interference.”

“I’m not aware that it has anything to do with catchability,” Allen said. “The official in charge of coverage simply did not feel that there was a level of contact that rose to the point of physically interfering with defensive passes.”

Valdis Scantling talked about the play, saying: “I was on the floor. … I know I tried to catch the ball and I couldn’t.”

The Packers are staring at a potential playoff spot

Three weeks ago, the Packers sat at 3-6, looking to pick a top-five pick in the 2024 NFL Draft with the Los Angeles Chargers, Detroit Lions and Chiefs ahead. A 3-9 record wasn’t just a possibility. It seemed likely given how poorly the Packers played, as their only win in Weeks 4-10 came against a Los Angeles Rams quarterbacked by Brett Rypien. now? The Packers are 6-6 after wins over those three teams.

A playoff spot isn’t just a possibility. It’s a possibility. The Packers are left with the New York Giants, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Carolina Panthers, Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears. None of these teams are above .500. The Packers didn’t turn their season around by overcoming the drudgery of the league. They have back-to-back wins against two Super Bowl contenders.

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Maybe it’s time to talk about the Packers in the same period… in fact, it may be too soon for that. But what the Packers have done recently is still impressive. — Matt Schneidman, Packers staff writer

Love is a man

If there was ever any doubt that Love is Green Bay’s guy at quarterback, he had another great game against one of the NFL’s best defenses. Love continues to make big throws in tight windows and practice making wise decisions. Will the man over the next fifteen years be like his predecessors? Who do you know? But for now, he has proven himself as a loyal man. — Shneidman

Chiefs crime booths

In another prime-time game, the Chiefs’ offense stalled in crucial moments in the fourth quarter when Mahomes couldn’t connect on passes to two of his receivers, Valdes-Scantling and Skyy Moore. Midway through the fourth quarter, the Chiefs could have taken their first lead of the game if they had scored their way. Instead, Mahomes missed a deep pass to Valdes Scantling, who was open between two defenders.

On the next play, a third-down snap, Mahomes watched his intended target, receiver Richie James, fall as he walked up the middle of the field. On the next possession, Nixon intercepted a Mahomes pass when Moore, a sophomore receiver, slowed in the path of his wheel near the sideline. The Chiefs’ inconsistent receivers continue to be a problem in close games, especially when Travis Kelce is targeted by Mahomes in the fourth quarter. — Nate Taylor, Chiefs staff writer

Chiefs defensive concerns

Entering Lambeau Field, the most points the Chiefs defense had given up in a game was 24 in a loss to the Denver Broncos. The Packers controlled the tempo and scored 27 points, as they were able to build a 14-3 lead in part because Love excelled against the Chiefs’ offense, not unlike what happened in his first NFL start inside Arrowhead Stadium in 2021. However, The Chiefs may have bigger defensive concerns after this game.

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Safety Brian Cook, a sophomore player, suffered what appeared to be a serious injury to his left ankle. Linebacker Drue Tranquill also suffered a concussion during the Packers’ opening drive. One of the reasons the Chiefs have one of the best defenses in the league is because the unit was a healthy group with plenty of rotational contributors. Without Cook and Tranquille, who was starting in place of linebacker Nick Bolton, the Packers were able to exploit backup defenders such as cornerback Joshua Williams and linebackers Jack Cochrane and Leo Chenal. — Taylor

Game highlights

Required reading

(Photo: Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)