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Game recap: 5 takeaways from Packers' victory over Chiefs

Green Bay has won three straight, including last two over first-place clubs

Packers LB Preston Smith
Packers LB Preston Smith

GREEN BAY – The Packers outlasted the Chiefs on Sunday night at Lambeau Field, knocking off the defending Super Bowl champions, 27-19, for their third straight win to get to 6-6.

Here are five takeaways from the big triumph:

  1. Matt LaFleur isn't talking playoffs, but there's no denying the Packers are in the thick of the race now.

Reaching 6-6, the Packers sit in a four-way tie with the Vikings, Rams and Seahawks for the last two wild-card spots in the NFC. Currently, based on tiebreakers, the Packers hold the seventh and final spot, though that doesn't mean much with five games left in the regular season.

Regardless, with the Packers having taken down two first-place teams, the NFC North's Lions and AFC West's Chiefs, in the last 10 days, the playoff chase is definitely on.

"Nope. Nope. Nope," LaFleur said of his playoff thoughts. "It's one game.

"The guys got to understand, you start winning some games and people start gunning for you now. We're a .500 football team, that's where we're at. That's the reality of it."

  1. Jordan Love and Patrick Mahomes put on a show, matching each other drive for drive.

The difference early on was the Packers scored touchdowns on their first two drives, and the Chiefs were forced to settle for field goals as Green Bay's defense rose up for three red-zone sacks (rookie Lukas Van Ness had the first one) on Kansas City's two drives.

Both offenses were controlling the ball so well that after those four possessions, only two minutes remained in the first half, which ended with Green Bay up, 14-6.

"It was just a wild, crazy first half in terms of very long, sustained drives," LaFleur said. "But you've got to give it up to our defense, our red-zone defense, keeping them out of the end zone obviously was a big-time factor in the game."

The next big play by Green Bay's defense came early in the third quarter, after the Chiefs opened with a touchdown, as the Packers stopped running back Isiah Pacheco on the two-point conversion to stay in the lead, 14-12.

  1. The first critical mistake was by Mahomes.

Both teams traded touchdowns after that, the Packers tacked on a field goal, and then the Chiefs blinked first.

With the Packers leading 24-19, just over five minutes left, and the Chiefs near midfield, Mahomes tried to loft and outside throw for receiver Skyy Moore. Packers nickel corner Keisean Nixon read it perfectly and made an over-the-shoulder interception for the game's only turnover.

LaFleur admitted he didn't even see the pick because his head was buried in his call sheet working on Green Bay's next possession, but there's no doubt it was the biggest defensive play of the game by either team.

"We told the guys that it was going to come down to the ball, that whoever gets a takeaway is going to win the game," LaFleur said. "And it happened to be us. It happened to be a great play by Keisean and certainly that was a pivotal moment in that game."

The Packers drove for a field goal to extend the lead to eight points with 1:09 to go, and then Kansas City's rather chaotic final drive reached the Green Bay 33-yard line with a lot of questions – whether Mahomes was still in bounds when safety Jonathan Owens was flagged for a late hit on a scramble, how much time should've remained on the clock after a replay review of a non-fumble, why the officials stopped the clock when KC's Marquez Valdes-Scantling was moving backwards when he went out of bounds, and whether the Packers committed pass interference on a deep shot down the middle to MVS.

"That's out of your control," LaFleur said of the officiating. "You've just got to keep playing.

"Credit to our guys, credit to Joe (Barry) and the defensive staff for putting our guys in great situations. I do think the communication has been pretty solid in terms of being in the right calls. You saw it at the end of the game, those final coverages we were in."

From the 33 with 14 seconds left, Mahomes threw two balls away with nobody open, and then his Hail Mary on the final snap was batted away in the end zone.

Check out photos from the Week 13 matchup between the Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs at Lambeau Field on Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023.