Monday, October 13, 2003

Kansas City 40, Packers 34. Wow, what a collapse. I can't remember the Packers under Brett Favre ever losing such a big lead so late in the game. When the Packers allow a lot of points, it usually means the Packers have had a lot of turnovers, for example allowing 30 points to Minnesota in week 1. The Packers only had two turnovers, but each turnover was huge and both led to a Kansas City touchdown. Usually one or two plays doesn't make the game against the Packers, but both teams were evenly matched (lots of offense, little defense) and those two plays were the difference. And Kansas City never led until the final play.

First Quarter: Two kickoffs by Ryan Longwell lead to two penalties. Dierdorf thought it was the Packers fear of Dante Hall which lead to both kicks, but Longwell has historically not been good on kickoffs and appearently isn't too good when trying to directionally kick. But both drives were stopped by a temporarily stout defense. In between the Packers had a great drive. Favre spread the ball to a number of receivers, and threw and easy touchdown pass to Bubba Franks. The Packers second drive led to another touchdown, and the Packers were able to run and pass successfully against Kansas City. Then the Packers stout defense abandons them as Kansas City finds out that Al Harris can't keep up with Johnnie Morton, and Marcus Anderson can't cover receivers as Tony Gonzalez blows by him for a touchdown. Ironically, I saw Keyshawn Johnson blow by former Packer safety Matt Bowen on a similar touchdown pass on Sunday, so the Packers didn't make a mistake by letting Bowen go, because he has trouble covering receivers too. Anderson seems superior to Antaun Edwards in run support, but Edwards is better in coverage (although Edwards got torched by Randy Moss in week 1, but who hasn't been torched by Moss this season). Packers 14, Kansas City 7.

Second Quarter: Dierdorf got all excited when ratings-magnet Hall almost broke a punt return for a touchdown, but a nice play by Josh Bidwell broke it up. Unfortunately, Kansas City had a nice drive anyway with Morton abusing Harris and Hall abusing Bhawon Jue (I think). The Packers respond with another excellent drive, but the memories of it get mixed in with a few of the excellent drives the Packers had this game. However, this one prevents Kansas City from retaking the lead in the first half and Ahman Green has a nifty touchdown on a screen pass. Screen passes haven't worked well this year for the Packers, nor in the entire NFL. The league seems to have caught on to them, except for Kansas City. Kansas City's defense did not look too good and Dierdorf correctly comments that Green Bay's offensive line pretty much handled Kansas City's defensive line all game. This would be a problem for most teams, but it hasn't hurt Kansas City yet. Dierdorf and Enberg compare this Kansas City team to the 1999 St. Louis team, but it isn't that good. St. Louis' offense in 1999 was one of the best ever, and while Kansas City's offense is very good, it isn't that good. Packers 21, Kansas City 14.

Third Quarter: The Packers start off the quarter with their last touchdown drive. Favre continues to spread out the ball and Green and Najah Davenport run right through Kansas City's run defense, with Davenport getting the touchdown run. Kansas City's defense continues to look more and more tired as the game goes on, but they don't allow anymore touchdowns. Kansas City's offense stalls in this quarter, because they had some big drops by Eddie Kennison, Gonzalez and Morton. Morton's drop was even challenged. Just as the Packers had worn down the Kansas City defense, however, Kansas City has worn down the Packers defense and it doesn't hold up as well. However, Nick Barnett had an awesome game. Dierdorf compared him to Brian Urlacher, and the comparison isn't far off. On one play, Priest Holmes broke through the right side on a run, but Barnett flew in from the middle of the field to trip him up and stop a big play. As the season goes on, the Packers defense will get better as Barnett improves. The Packers drive but settle for a field goal when Favre is incomplete on a rare, up to this point of the game, 3rd down incompletion. The rest of the quarter is just competing punts. Packers 31, Kansas City 14.

Fourth quarter: Hall has a successful punt return into Packers territory almost immediately, and Kansas City's offense stops dropping passes. Kansas City scores on a quick touchdown drive. Kansas City's defense looks spent as Davenport runs at will against the middle of their defense. Unfortunately, Favre makes his one mistake that cost the Packers and the pass to Donald Driver is tipped to Jerome Woods for a touchdown the other way. Favre threw the pass too high, into too much coverage, and bad things happened. Trent Green had thrown a couple passes like that this game, notably one to a receiver in the red zone that Marcus Anderson jumped in front of, but Anderson missed the interception and Green ended the game with no interceptions. Maybe Green just got lucky and Favre didn't, but there was no room for error in this game. Then the Packers offense stalls and I believe it was Jue again who gets burned on a long pass to Gonzalez, but the defense holds Kansas City to just a field goal. The Packers continue to hand the ball off and it works for most of the drive, until down at Kansas City's 23 yard line, where Kansas City stuffs Davenport and Favre throws two incompletions. Longwell kicks and still hasn't missed a kick this season. But there is too much time left (almost 3 minutes) and Kansas City has their third good drive in a row, which leads to a game tying field goal. Packers 34, Kansas City 34.

Overtime: Kansas City's offense owns the Packers defense at this point and they get the ball to start the period. Holmes has his first string of quality runs in a row, but Kansas City doesn't mix in any passes. Finally, the Packers stop Holmes, and force an incompletion which leads to a missed field goal. Darren Sharper jumped another Green pass to the sideline and if Sharper had intercepted it instead of deflecting it, it would have been returned for a touchdown. Where Favre got intercepted, Green got lucky. The Packers offense has looked good, and so does Green on his first run until he fumbles it. If the Packers got one turnover this game...anyway. Then Jue gets beat AGAIN for a long touchdown pass to Kennison. Michael Hawthorne was the fourth corner in this game and he looked good in it. I would be shocked if Jue keeps his nickel position after this game. In a game the Packers should have won...Packers 34, Kansas City 40.

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