Notebook: D-Line Keeps Pressure On

KANSAS CITY - The pass rush early set the tone for the game, and the pass rush late helped seal it. The Packers sacked Kansas City quarterback Damon Huard a season-high five times in Sunday’s 33-22 victory, with all five sacks being recorded by defensive linemen for 40 lost yards. - More Audio | Video | Packers-Chiefs Game Center


DT Corey Williams gets one of his two sacks of Kansas City QB Damon Huard.

KANSAS CITY - The pass rush early set the tone for the game, and the pass rush late helped seal it.

The Packers sacked Kansas City quarterback Damon Huard a season-high five times in Sunday's 33-22 victory, with all five sacks being recorded by defensive linemen for 40 lost yards. Considering the defensive line was also primarily responsible for holding Larry Johnson to just 53 yards on 19 carries (2.8 avg.) it was a pretty good day for the guys up front.

"You look at our front four, they're unbelievable," linebacker A.J. Hawk said. "They can get pressure with four guys. Most teams can't do that, and that's what makes them so great.

"I haven't been around a group of D-linemen like that who can get that type of pressure and be so stout against the run."

Corey Williams and Aaron Kampman each had a sack on the Chiefs' first two possessions. Both sacks came on third down, forcing punts. Williams notched his second sack midway through the second quarter, again getting Huard on third down to force a punt.

From there, the sack attack went quiet until it was truly needed at the end of the game. Just after the Packers took a 23-22 lead, Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila whipped left tackle Damion McIntosh off the line of scrimmage to sack Huard on second down, setting up third-and-long and a subsequent punt. Then with Green Bay up by 11 points, 'KGB' ended the game with a 16-yard sack of Huard.

The five sacks topped the previous season-high of four set in Minnesota on Sept. 30. Kampman's sack was his ninth of the season, keeping him among the league leaders. 'KGB' now has 6 1/2 sacks on the season.

Kampman didn't think the defensive line should take all the credit, though. He said the defensive backfield, particularly the cornerbacks playing press coverage at the line of scrimmage, helps the rush have enough time to get home.

"Our rush and our coverage work hand-in-hand," Kampman said. "Them being able to get slight jam on a receiver might give us an extra fraction of a second to get there, and that can be the different between a sack, a pressure, an incompletion, everything. So it all works together."

Key reversal

Head coach Mike McCarthy credited his assistants in the coaches' box for alerting him to challenge an apparent reception by Kansas City's Jeff Webb in the fourth quarter.

The Packers had just taken a 23-22 lead and on the Chiefs' first snap, Webb beat cornerback Al Harris by a step down the Kansas City sideline and hauled in a 36-yard pass to put the Chiefs near field-goal range.

But replays showed that Webb only got one foot in bounds, with his second foot just grazing the sideline. Harris said that Webb pushed off slightly to get separation as the ball came down, but the push was what made it more difficult for him to get both feet in.

McCarthy challenged the play, and after review the pass was ruled incomplete.

"It was a great job by the coaches up top," McCarthy said. "I did not see it. We didn't get the replay down below. It was on the other sideline, but that clearly came from the coaches' box. That's a great job on their behalf."

Back on the field

Koren Robinson admitted to getting a little teary-eyed during the national anthem as he prepared to take the field for the first time since serving his one-year suspension. Robinson had served time in jail for alcohol-related offenses and also undergone extensive counseling for alcoholism.

"Everything was going through my head, where I've been, what I came through to get back in this situation, to get back to this place," Robinson said.

His contribution was modest, and he termed it a good first step.

Playing as the fourth wide receiver, he had three catches for 18 yards. One other pass thrown his way was high and tipped off his hands. He also had three kickoff returns for 60 yards, including a 32-yard return at the start of the second half.

"As it went on, I got more and more confident," Robinson said.

Land of confusion

In a bizarre sequence just before the end of the first half, the Packers ended up taking a rather odd penalty.

Brett Favre tried to throw a short swing pass to Vernand Morency, but the pass was behind him and bounced off his hand. Morency, thinking the pass might have been backward and therefore a live ball, ran over and kicked the ball out of bounds with linebacker Derrick Johnson in pursuit.

On the field, the play was ruled a backward pass, and Morency was penalized for illegally kicking the ball. But upon review, it was determined the pass was forward and incomplete, so Morency was penalized for delay of game for kicking the ball. Adding a bit of humor to the strange situation, the Arrowhead Stadium PA was playing the Genesis song "Land of Confusion" during the replay review.

Either way, it was an alert play by Morency not to risk that the ball might be live and Johnson could have recovered it for the Chiefs.

But the Chiefs got their turnover anyway, as Benny Sapp intercepted Favre on the next snap, setting up Kansas City's touchdown with 15 seconds left in the half.

{sportsad300}Offensive line shuffle

The Packers began the game with Jason Spitz starting at center for Scott Wells and Tony Moll at right guard for Junius Coston, who was inactive with an ankle injury.

But after three possessions, Green Bay switched things up, inserting Wells at center and putting Spitz at right guard, and the line stayed that way the rest of the game.

Wells said he didn't know why the change was made, only that he was told to get in the game. He hadn't played since the Oct. 7 game against Chicago, when he fractured his orbital bone and then came down with a sinus infection that became pneumonia.

"I was rusty in the second quarter but I thought as the game went on I got a little better," Wells said.

First catches

Tight end Ryan Krause made his first receptions as a Packer, getting two catches for 11 yards. Krause has been the team's No. 2 tight end since being signed off the practice squad when Bubba Franks went down with a knee injury.

Injury update

Williams and safety Nick Collins both sustained knee injuries that knocked them out of the game. McCarthy didn't know the extent of either injury after the game, though Williams said in the locker room he could have come back to play but was held out as a precaution.

Running back Ryan Grant left in the fourth quarter with a head injury that McCarthy said was a possible concussion. Brandon Jackson took over at running back late in the game.

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