Packers need everything they've got to beat Chiefs

RB Aaron Jones
RB Aaron Jones

KANSAS CITY – This one had a little bit of everything.

A monster game from running back Aaron Jones, a miracle-like touchdown pass from Aaron Rodgers, a crucial turnover by the defense, and a grunt-work drive to finish it off.

It all added up to a 31-24 victory for the Packers over the Chiefs on Sunday night at Arrowhead Stadium to get Green Bay to 7-1.

"I think we've found a way to win," Rodgers said of the 2019 Packers at the midway point of the season. "It hasn't been the prettiest the entire time. There's been some pretty moments, though."

One of those broke a 24-all tie in the fourth quarter, just two plays after the Chiefs had evened the score. A quick flip from Rodgers to Jones in the flat ruptured with some key blocks into a 67-yard touchdown that proved to be the game-winner with 8:02 left.

It turned out to be the last momentum shift in a game that had plenty, with the Packers jumping out to a 14-0 lead, falling behind 17-14 by halftime, and both teams going back and forth from there.

"That's the NFL and that's playing in a tough environment," Rodgers said. "You know there's going to be big momentum swings and luckily we had a good answer.

"We weren't expecting a touchdown on that play … but Jonesey is tough in open space."

The play was the biggest highlight of many for Jones, who piled up 226 yards from scrimmage – 159 receiving on seven catches (on eight targets) and 67 rushing on 13 carries.

Jones also recorded a 50-yard completion in the first quarter that would have been a 60-yard TD had he not stepped out of bounds on the 10.

"He was outstanding. He's an explosive weapon," Head Coach Matt LaFleur said of Green Bay's third-year running back, who now has 11 total touchdowns through eight games and 821 yards from scrimmage. "You don't find too many running backs who can go out and produce like that.

"You don't see too many running backs you and put on the outside and run a slant-and-go. He's dynamic – as a runner, as a receiver, as a pass protector. I think he's a complete back."

His backfield partner Jamaal Williams is no slouch either, as the two backs combined for four touchdowns in the Packers' fourth straight win without top receiver Davante Adams.

Williams' second touchdown of the game, which broke a 17-all tie early in the fourth quarter, was a jaw-dropper as he ran across the back of the end zone and dove to catch a Rodgers throw that flew over tight end Jimmy Graham's head.

"I saw Jimmy, and I saw somebody wrapping behind him," Rodgers said. "I was actually throwing a ball I thought maybe Jimmy could go up and get if he wanted to, and if he didn't, the guy behind him might be able to get it. Luckily the guy behind him got it."

It appeared at first that Rodgers, under pressure on third down from the 3-yard line, was just trying to throw the ball away. At least that's what LaFleur thought.

"I sure did," the head coach confessed. "That was one of the best if not the best pass I've ever seen live in person. That was incredible. I couldn't believe it.

"Just a great play and he was under duress, too. I know he ended up on the ground. Credit to Jamaal, he kept working for him. It was one of those plays that kind of leaves you speechless."

That initial go-ahead score in the fourth quarter was set up by the game's lone turnover, a strip and recovery by second-year defensive lineman Tyler Lancaster on a LeSean McCoy run. It came on the first play of Kansas City's possession after the Packers had consumed 8:33 off the third-quarter clock with a 15-play, 72-yard drive that ended in a tying field goal.

From the Kansas City 27, the Packers needed just five plays to score.

"You could argue that's the turning point in the game right there," LaFleur said. "That was a critical play in this game."

It temporarily halted a Chiefs offense, led by backup QB Matt Moore (24-of-36, 267 yards, two TDs, 107.1 rating), that put together a big second quarter with their arsenal of playmakers, led by receiver Tyreek Hill (six catches, 76 yards) and tight end Travis Kelce (4-63, TD).

Green Bay's defense held Kansas City to a field goal late in the second quarter and then got a stop and the turnover on the Chiefs' first two drives of the second half. Kansas City did respond with a score in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 24 when an illegal-hands-to-the-face penalty on cornerback Tramon Williams nullified a third-down stop inside the 10.

"That's like an all-star team over there when you look at those skill players," LaFleur said of the Chiefs, who are now 5-3 and looking to get MVP QB Patrick Mahomes back in the coming weeks. "They've got a lot of explosive speed. They're going to get their plays and they did, but I thought our defense did a great job of adjusting in the second half.

"We got hit in the mouth a little bit after getting up 14-0. But our guys are resilient and they didn't quit. We stuck together and found a way to pull it out."

The Green Bay Packers faced off against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday Night Football.

The Packers needed a gut-check drive to do so after the defense got one final stop. Backed up on their own 2-yard line with 5:04 left, the Packers pounded the ball with seven straight runs (six by Jones for 29 yards) and the Chiefs burned all three of their timeouts.

The game came down to third-and-5 at the two-minute warning, and an easy completion to Jones for eight yards sealed the deal.

"Talking on the sideline wanting to close that game out on third-and-5, and the consensus was to throw it to Jonesey," said Rodgers, who ended his night 23-of-33 for 305 yards with three TDs and a 129.0 rating. "That says a lot about the kind of player he is.

"We're finding ways to win these games. Good teams find a way to win when adversity hits."

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