Sunday, December 18, 2011

Chiefs wanted it more: Packers winning streak ends

I said in my preview/prediction that all the Green Bay Packers needed to do today to beat the Kansas City Chiefs was show up. Well, they didn't. And the 13 game in-season winning streak, the 19-game winning streak going back to last season, has come to an end as a result. The Chiefs beat the Packers 19-14 today in Kansas City.

To be fair, it was apparent the Chiefs wanted this game more than the Packers did. They played with more intensity on both sides of the ball all day long. Yes, Kansas City had multiple trips inside the red zone into the 4th quarter and only came away with field goals. But the defense had no pass rush at all and Chiefs' receivers had no defenders within 10 yards of them most of the day.

Of course, the Packers offense was out of whack, as well. Receivers were dropping passes left and right. QB Aaron Rodgers was under assault in the pocket every time he dropped back to pass. Even head coach Mike McCarthy's play calling seemed off. The only drive that even remotely resembled the typical Packers' offense didn't occur until the last few minutes of the game. And, I don't know about you, but one of the early warning indicators for me about a pending Packers' loss is when Mason Crosby misses field goal attempts early. Yes, they were 50-yards plus, but still, we know Crosby can make those, too.

Anyway, perhaps ending the perfect season talk now will get the team refocused. In this case, it's focusing on the Christmas night game at Lambeau vs. Da Bearz, who got beat badly by Seattle today.

One of the concerns going into that game, though, will be the health of the offensive line. LT Marshall Newhouse, again replacing the injuried Chad Clifton, was beaten like a rented mule most of the day by the Kansas City pass rush. Starting RT Bryan Bulaga came up with a knee injury and didn't return to the game. His replacement, rookie Derek Sherrod, was also injured and wound up being taken off the field strapped to a cart with an air cast on his right leg. Not good.

In his post-game comments, coach McCarthy said rightly that "the opponent outperformed us." Every which way, that's for sure. It was a sad way for the winning streak to come to an end. But, if this is the type of team we all think it is, it's an opportunity for another streak to begin. Better to lose today than against Da Bearz or Lions. Perhaps it will re-light the fire under the team.

The Packers didn't secure the playoff homefield advantage they sought today. But they can do so against Da Bearz next Sunday night. Now, wouldn't that be a great Christmas present? You bet. Bring 'em on.

Go Pack Go!!!