Kansas City Chiefs 19, Green Bay Packers 14
The number: 48.6 — Aaron Rodgers' completions percentage against the Chiefs. He hadn't been less than 50 percent in 24 consecutive games dating to last year's loss at the Jets, when he was a career-worst 44.1 percent. He's only had three games of less than 50 percent, with an identical 48.6 percent in the loss at winless Tampa Bay on Nov. 8, 2009. He was just 6-of-17 (35.3 percent) in the first half.
The player: Tamba Hali will get the headlines, and deservedly so, with his three sacks. The Chiefs' pass rush never let Rodgers get comfortable, which partially explains his dreadful accuracy. Give kudos, too, to cornerbacks Brandon Carr and Brandon Flowers, along with safety Travis Flowers. Due in large part to their coverage, Jordy Nelson, James Jones and Donald Driver combined for six catches (in 12 targets) for 53 yards. Jermichael Finley had grabs of 41 and 33 yards, with each setting up touchdowns, but he caught only three of the 10 balls thrown his way.
The moment: The fourth quarter started with the Packers trailing 9-7. After an incompletion to Finley on third-and-8, coach Mike McCarthy gambled on fourth down rather than having Mason Crosby attempt a 57-yard field goal to the end zone where he had missed from 58 and 53 yards in the first quarter. Rodgers had Finley open but had to throw quicker than he wanted when fill-in right tackle Derek Sherrod was beaten by Justin Houston. The Chiefs extended the lead to 12-7, with Kyle Orton's play-action fake making for an easy 34-yard completion to tight end Leonard Pope to the 2-yard line. Pope fumbled at the end of the play and the ball bounded out of bounds in the end zone. That would have given the Packers the ball at the 20. McCarthy considered challenging but thought — incorrectly — that Pope was out of bounds. The Chiefs were held to a field goal, extending their lead to 12-7 with 11:28 remaining.
The key: The Packers entered the week with a league-high 32 takeaways and 27 interceptions. When he was Denver's starting quarterback on Oct. 2, Orton threw three interceptions. On Sunday, Orton wasn't close to turning over the ball. It helped that the Packers never were close to hitting Orton, finishing with no sacks and just one quarterback hit (on Orton's first pass of the game).
Packers said: "Well, really, what was disappointing to me is that we didn't clinch homefield advantage. That was always the goal. I personally always viewed the undefeated season as really just gravy. The goal is to get the home-field advantage and win the Super Bowl. That's what we discussed as a football team. We were fortunate enough to be in a position to possibly achieve the undefeated season, but we still have the primary goal in front of us and that's to get that homefield advantage." — coach Mike McCarthy.
Chiefs said: "Nobody gave us a chance to win this game, except us. We knew we could do this. We just had to be prepared and execute. That's what we did." — inside linebacker Derrick Johnson.
Extra points: With his touchdown pass to Driver, Rodgers became the fifth quarterback with 40 touchdown passes in a season and broke a tie with Brett Favre for the franchise record. The NFL's other 40-touchdown passers: Tom Brady (50, 2007), Peyton Manning (49, 2004), Dan Marino (48, 1984; 44, 1986) and Kurt Warner (41, 1999). ... The Packers led the NFL with 52 points on their first possession of the game, 115 points in the first quarter, 248 points in the first half and 48 points on the first possession of the second half. Green Bay finished with zeroes across the board. ... The Packers had scored in every second quarter this season and been blanked in only seven quarters all season — none since the first quarter at Detroit on Thanksgiving. ... Pope, the Chiefs' tight end, had 20 catches for 150 yards all season, with a long of 31. Against Green Bay, he had two catches for 72 yards — gains of 33 and 39 yards. ... Nelson, who hadn't been guilty of a penalty all season, was flagged twice for pass interference and once for illegal motion. ... The Packers were 23-3 under McCarthy when they didn't have a giveaway. ... Green Bay had trailed for 103 minutes, 25 seconds, for the entire season, an average of 7:57 per game. On Sunday, it trailed for 52:45. ... For the first time in NFL history, a team without a loss (Green Bay) was defeated and a team without a win (Indianapolis) was victorious on the same day at least 11 games into a season. The previous two instances occurred in 1953 (Dec. 13, 1953: Cleveland, 11-0 and Chicago Cardinals, 0-10-1) and 1984 (Nov. 18, 1984: Miami, 11-0 and Buffalo, 0-11).
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.