Instant analysis: Packers can't overcome special teams errors despite strong defense in loss to Chiefs

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Green Bay Packers coach Matt LaFleur speaks to the media Sunday, Nov. 7, 2021, after the Packers fell to the Kansas City Chiefs 13-7 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Green Bay Packers fell to 7-2 with a 13-7 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday afternoon at Arrowhead Stadium. Here are my three quick thoughts on the game:

Love’s day

Packers quarterback Jordan Love will be the focus of my column coming later Sunday. That topic was a no-brainer considering he was making his first start to end a week in which Aaron Rodgers tested positive for COVID-19 and provided his, um, thoughts on why he chose to be unvaccinated.

Love didn’t offer much to provide hope that he’s the Packers’ quarterback of the future. He finished 19 of 34 for 190 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

He struggled for most of the game before showing a few flashes in the fourth quarter. All in all, an OK starting debut but not much to give this fan base faith that he can be the guy if the Packers decide to trade Rodgers in the offseason.

Not at all special

The Packers were down 13-0 at the half and it really should have been no worse than a 10-6 deficit.

That nine-point swing is the result of a special teams performance that was abysmal.

Mason Crosby missed two field goals, one from 40 yards and the other from 37. How much of it was his fault? That’s unclear. The laces were facing out after Corey Bojorquez’s hold on both attempts. The second was blocked because the protection up the middle was awful.

And then came the topper, a muffed punt that bounced off the left foot of blocker Malik Taylor and gave the Chiefs the ball at the Green Bay 10. Taylor was on the ground and had no idea the ball was even near him. The biggest problem with the play was rookie Amari Rodgers’ failure to field the punt in the first place. Rodgers called for a fair catch on the punt but may have misjudged it, so he gave up on it and let the ball bounce. Moments later, it hit Taylor.

Rodgers muffed a punt in the second half as well but was able to recover the loose ball.

You can probably guess what Green Bay’s special teams are going to get when I come out with grades later Sunday.

Defense shines

The Packers held the Chiefs to 13 points and that number obviously would have been lower had the Green Bay special teams not gifted Kansas City a field goal. Granted, his is a scuffling Kansas City offense right now, but Green Bay also lost rookie cornerback Eric Stokes (knee) before the game and nose tackle Kenny Clark (back) during the game.

Despite being minus two starters, the Packers held Kansas City to only 237 total yards. Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes finished 20 of 37 for 166 yards with a touchdown.

Get to know all nine players taken by the Green Bay Packers in the 2021 NFL Draft.

The Packers forced Kansas City to punt on the first four possessions of the second half. But the defense couldn’t come up with a stop after Green Bay pulled to within 13-7 with 4:45 remaining.  

Facing a third-and-10 from the Green Bay 48 with under 2 minutes remaining, Mahomes found Tyreek Hill for 13 yards after Packers safety Chandon Sullivan fell in coverage.

Game over, though the defense did all it could to keep Green Bay in the game.

Contact Jim Polzin at jpolzin@madison.com.