Turnovers, often costly, proved the Packers' undoing in their weather-shortened matchup with the Chiefs. They were the victims of three in the second quarter, a "trifecta" initiated when second-year running back Najeh Davenport fumbled at the Kansas City 9-yard line, after pulling in a Doug Pederson pass - and the Chiefs' Dexter McCleon recovered, ending the Packers' most significant threat of the evening.
Later in the quarter, KC cornerback Eric Warfield intercepted a Craig Nall pass at the Chiefs'40-yard line and, subsequently, the Chiefs' Lyle West waylaid a Nall throw at the Green Bay 33.
While the Packers found it a problem to activate the scoreboard, the Chiefs were not faring much better against Green Bay's revamped defense. Kansas City had to be content with three field goals - 32- and 51-yarders by the venerable, 42-year-old Morten Andersen in the first half and a 27-yarder by Jose Cortez in the third quarter.
Statistically, the Chiefs also had the edge, posting 12 first downs to the Packers' 5 and out-gaining them overall, 193 yards to 125.
Favre, leaving the game early, according to plan (with 3:59 remaining in the first quarter), put together a typically solid segment, completing 4 of 6 passes for 54 yards, without an interception, and a 95.1 quarterback rating.
Pederson, who engineered a 10-yard scramble to forge a first down at the Chiefs' 10-yard line shortly before Davenport's lost fumble, and Nall each completed 4 of 7 passes - Pederson for 17 yards and Nall for 45.
A DEFENSIVE DIVIDEND: It is no secret that GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman and Defensive Coordinator Ed Donatell remodeled the Packers' defense in the off-season to inject more speed and acceleration for getting to quarterbacks and ball carries with more alacrity.
Judging by the early returns, their moves just might be starting to pay dividends. The 'D' emerged from Monday night with 4 quarterback sacks, an entirely respectable total, particularly considering the game was called with more than a quarter to play.
Poetically enough, it was a hitherto unsung performer, second-year pro Marcus Wilkins - who weighed in with three of those sacks - for 19 yards in losses. Wilkins felled Chiefs quarterback Todd Collins twice in the second quarter - for 5- and 7-yard losses - and again for a 7-yard deficit in the third quarter.
Third-year defensive end Jamal Reynolds, exhibiting impressive speed around the corner, registered the other sack, barging through to topple Collins for a 5-yard loss and forcing a fumble, recovered by rookie Kenny Peterson of Ohio State, who had just entered the game for the first time.
Wilkins went on to emerge as the team's leading tackler with 7 stops, 6 of them unassisted.
First round draft choice Nick Barnett, making his first pro start, also proved to be effective. Gaining confidence as the night wore on, he finished the truncated evening with 5 tackles, 4 of them solos.
Na'il Diggs, making his bow at weak side linebacker after spending his first three seasons at the strong side, also had a productive evening, registering 4 solo stops.
Al Harris, acquired from the Eagles in the offseason to replace Tyrone Williams, weighed in with 2 solo tackles and 1 pass defensed.
GM/HEAD COACH MIKE SHERMAN'S POST-GAME COMMENTS:
(on canceling the game) "It was a dangerous situation on the field. Not just the lightning but the depth of the water. It would have been a slick surface. I think the NFL made a good decision canceling the game simply because it could have been very dangerous on the field."
(on the performance) "There were some good things that I was excited about. It looks like we can still rush the quarterback a little bit. (Marcus) Wilkins did a couple nice things. Jamal Reynolds had a nice pass rush. Nick Barnett played well throughout the game. Our corners covered the deep ball very well. So I'm very excited by that and the fact that we kept them from scoring a touchdown."
(on quarterbacks Craig Nall and Akili Smith) "Nall was put in a tough situation...Starting with two picks wasn't good, but he came back. I would have liked him to take us down the field and score. He didn't, but we'll see how he does next week.
"The unfortunate part is we really wanted to get Akili Smith in the game and the rain didn't allow us. The cancellation didn't allow us to do that."
THE PLAYER PERSPECTIVE:
Quarterback Brett Favre: (on the offensive performance against the Chiefs) "We didn't score any points. I wish we would have, but it's hard to gauge because we have a lot of guys injured. On the other hand, that gave a lot of younger guys the opportunity to play, which is always a positive. We didn't do anything spectacular , but we didn't do anything really bad, either."
(on his 24-yard completion to second-year wideout Javon Walker) "It was a deep crossing route. He did a good job of hanging in there over the middle. I had to step up in the pocket and when I looked up, he was wide open. He made a great catch in traffic."
Linebacker Marcus Wilkins, the author of three quarterback sacks: "I wish we could've played a few more snaps. I think I could have gotten another one."
Cornerback Al Harris: (on the ex-Eagle's debut as a Packer) "It was special putting on this uniform for the first time, considering all the D-backs who have played for this team, including some that are here in Canton.
"It felt great to be out there for the first time with Green Bay. I couldn't wait for tonight - just to be out there."
-The Packers now own a 1-2-1 record in Hall of Fame games, following Monday night's 9-0 loss to Kansas City.
-It didn't prove to be as favorable as it initially appeared, but the Packers won the first coin toss of the season.
-The Packers were represented at the 'official "toss" by no fewer than five captains - quarterback Brett Favre, placekicker Ryan Longwell, defensive tackle Gilbert Brown, defensive end Joe Johnson and center Frank Winters.
-With LeRoy Butler having retired at the end of last season, Favre and Winters are now the team's elder statesmen. Each is beginning his 12th year in Green and Gold.
-Kick returner Antonio Chatman, making his debut, returned the Chiefs' second kickoff 31 yards - which turned out to be the longest kickoff return of the evening. Chatman averaged 25 yards for two KOR.
-With GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman adopting a conservative program for returning offensive linemen Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher to the starting lineup after suffering major injuries in 2002, veteran free agent Marcus Spriggs and second-year pro Kevin Barry opened at left and right tackle, respectively, in Monday night's game.
-Meanwhile, fourth-year pro Karsten Bailey and second-year pro Javon Walker opened at wide receiver with Donald Driver and Robert Ferguson sidelined by injury. Walker had 2 catches for 30 yards while Bailey went without a reception.
-Elsewhere, Antuan Edwards started at free safety in place of Darren Sharper, who was resting a bruised shoulder.
-Rookie defensive tackle Kenny Peterson, a Canton native and home-town hero, was cheered when he entered the game and, seconds later, was accorded a standing ovation when he proceeded to recover Kansas City quarterback Todd Collins' fumble after being sacked by Jamal Reynolds.
-Jacoby Shepherd pulled off the special teams play of the evening, from the Packers perspective, "downing" Josh Bidwell's second punt at the Chiefs' 4-yard line, racing downfield to pull the football out of the air.
-Quarterback Craig Nall, sacked on his very first play in the second quarter, bounced back to fire a 6-yard strike to Javon Walker on the next play and, on the one following, hit running back Tony Fisher with a sideline pass that Fisher promptly turned into a 28-yard gain - the Packers' longest offensive play of the game.
-James Lofton, who Sunday became the 20th former Packer to be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, was quoted in the Akron Beacon Journal Monday as saying - with respect to the uniform he might choose to wear in the Hall of Fame: "I would split it down the middle, Green Bay on one side, Buffalo on the other and a Raider emblem in the back."