The Kansas City Chiefs did the unthinkable Sunday by upsetting the undefeated Green Bay Packers. The Arrowhead crowd was boisterous and acted as it is best known for: the 12th man. (Occasionally the 13th man, but who’s counting?) The Packers came in to Kansas City riding a 19 game winning streak, not losing a game in 364 days. December 19, 2010 was the Packers’ last loss against the New England Patriots. This game proved to be a day of firsts. The Chiefs handed the Packers their first loss, Romeo Crennel got his first win as the Chiefs head coach, and Kyle Orton got his first win in his first start as the Chiefs quarterback. (In other news, the Colts won their first game of the year against the Titans.)
The Chiefs scored first on back to back drives, with Ryan Succop hitting two field goals to put the Chiefs up 6-0. Orton tallied up some decent yardage on the first two drives. The Packers went scoreless until the 8-minute mark in the 3rd quarter, Scoring on an Aaron Rodgers pass to Donald Driver to make the score 7-6. Rodgers set the franchise record for most touchdown passes in a season, passing Brett Favre’s mark of 39. The Chiefs answered on a 7 play, 43 yard drive, which ended on Succop’s third field goal of the day to put the Chiefs up 9-7. Green Bay put a decent drive together, but could not convert on a 4th down attempt at the Chiefs 39 yard line. Orton hit Steve Breaston on a 16 yard pass to start the drive, and then hit Leonard Pope on a huge 33 yard pass to put the Chiefs at the Packers 3 yard line. The Chiefs couldn’t punch it into the endzone, but managed to score a field goal, giving Ryan Succop his fourth on the day. Succop is on a 21 consecutive field goal streak, which is one field goal shy of Pete Stoyanovich’s current franchise record of 22. The Chiefs got the ball back after a five play drive by the Packers. Breaston kicked off the drive on an end around that went for 25 yards. Two passes, one to Dwayne Bowe and one to Anthony Becht, put the Chiefs at the Packers’ 5 yard line. Three plays later, Jackie Battle muscled his way through the Packers defense for a touchdown which put the Chiefs up 19-7. Rodgers then drove the Packers 80 yards for a touchdown, running it in himself for 8 yards, cutting the lead to 5 points. The Packers attempted an onside kick, although they had three timeouts and the two minute warning on their side. It did not bode well, as the kick went out of bounds, and the Chiefs converted two first downs in four plays, the final first down gained by Battle on a 15 yard run around the left side of the line. Orton downed the ball a couple times to close out the game as Crennel got a Gatorade bath on the sidelines.
“This about the most fun as I’ve had on the football field,” Orton said after his first win as the Chiefs starting quarterback. ”You go through practice and all that stuff but your teammates don’t really know you until you get in that huddle. That’s a special time for me, inside the huddle. I kind of turn into [another] person. I think everybody took it well. We had a lot of fun and battled together.”
The Chiefs dominated on both sides of the ball. Although they didn’t put up as many points as they could have, they prevented the Packers from running up the score like they did against the Raiders in Week 14. The Chiefs defense recorded four sacks on Rodgers, three of which came from Tamba Hali, the other coming from rookie Allen Bailey. Orton went 23 for 31 with 299 yards passing. Orton also completed passes to ten receivers, two for big gains to Pope. The Chiefs offense retained possession for 36:11, allowing Rodgers and the Packers outstanding offense on the field for only 23:49. The Chiefs also managed 23 first downs, which was three shy of the combined total for the Jets and Bears game.
“They know that I care about them as people and as football players and I ask them to do the best that they can do,” Crennel said in his post game press conference about his newly inherited football team. ”That’s all I can ask of them. If they do that and we end up winning games, that’s a plus and a positive. They are the ones that play the game and should get all the credit. I was just standing on the sideline, that’s all I did today. They got it done.”
The Chiefs are still in the playoff hunt. How, you ask? If the Chiefs can manage to defeat both the Raiders and Broncos to close out the season, their record will be 8-8. The Buffalo Bills will have to defeat the Denver Broncos next Sunday. The San Diego Chargers will also have to lose at least one time in the next two games, either to Detroit or Oakland. The Chargers stomped the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday Night Football. That will put the Chiefs at 8-8, Broncos at 8-8, Raiders at 8-8 or 7-9, depending on if they beat the Chargers in week 17, and the Chargers at 8-8 or 7-9 if they lose the next two games. The Chiefs would get in by comparison of the head to head matchups against the division, which they would lead at 4-2. The ONLY way the Chiefs will get into the playoffs is if they win the division. Do you folks think it is a possibility? Could the Chiefs pull a major turnaround and make the playoffs?
Personally, I think they can. As long as the Bills can pull things together and beat the Broncos in Buffalo. From what we saw Sunday, home field advantage does exist. The Chargers have been set up to fail by Norv Turner, and will most likely drop the game next week to a Detroit Lions team who came back and beat the Raiders in the last minute of the game, 28-27. Sure, the Chargers destroyed the Ravens 34-14. I’m making a bold prediction that the Lions and Bills win next week, and the Chiefs win out. From what I saw today, I believe Romeo Crennel will find a way to win with this football team. Kansas City could be in for a second straight Division championship.