KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Mike McCarthy never put a whole lot of stock in a perfect season, except as a means of gaining home-field advantage and setting up the Green Bay Packers for another Super Bowl run.
Well, they still have a chance to earn home-field advantage.
The perfect season? That’s history.
Kyle Orton threw for 299 yards to outduel Aaron Rodgers, and the Kansas City Chiefs rallied behind interim coach Romeo Crennel for a shocking 19-14 victory on Sunday that ended the Packers’ 19-game winning streak. It was their first loss since Dec. 19, 2010, at New England.
“I personally always viewed the undefeated season as, really, just gravy,” McCarthy said. “The goal was to get home-field advantage and win the Super Bowl. That’s what we discussed.
“We were fortunate enough to be in the position to possibly achieve the undefeated season,” he added, “but we still have the primary goal in front of us, and that’s to get home-field advantage.”
Green Bay, playing without leading receiver Greg Jennings and top rusher James Starks because of injuries, can wrap up the No. 1 seed in their final two games against Chicago and Detroit. But the Packers no longer have the pressure of becoming the second team in NFL history to win a Super Bowl with a perfect record, or extending the second-longest winning streak in league history.
“I think our ultimate goal is to win a Super Bowl. The next step is getting that No. 1 seed in the playoffs,” Rodgers said. “We’ve got a home playoff game – we’ve got a bye secured.”
Rodgers was 17 of 35 for 235 yards and a touchdown, and he ran 8 yards for another touchdown with 2:12 left in the game. But the Packers (13-1) were unable to recover the onside kick, and Kansas City picked up a couple of first downs to secure the victory.
“They had a good game plan,” Rodgers said. “You have to give them credit.”
Ryan Succop kicked four field goals for Kansas City (6-8), which had lost five of its last six games and fired coach Todd Haley last Monday. Jackie Battle added a short touchdown plunge with 4:53 left in the game, which came in handy when Rodgers led one last scoring drive.
“Everybody had marked it off as a win for the Packers, but those guys in the locker room, they’re football players,” Crennel said. “They decided they were not going to lay down, they were not going to give up, so they went out and played a tremendous game.”
Green Bay came into the game averaging nearly 36 points, but was held to its lowest total since beating the Chicago Bears 10-3 in Week 17 last season.
“We set the tone on both sides of the ball,” Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson said. “You don’t have to be better on paper. … If you’re better on that given Sunday, you’ll get the win.”
KC—FG Succop 19
KC—FG Succop 32
GB—Driver 2 pass from Rodgers (Crosby kick)
KC—FG Succop 46
KC—FG Succop 20
KC—Battle 1 run (Succop kick)
GB—Rodgers 8 run (Crosby kick)
|Total Net Yards||315||438|
|Time of Poss.||23:49||36:11|
RUSHING—Green Bay, Grant 12-66, Rodgers 3-32, Cobb 1-4, Kuhn 2-0. Kansas City, Jones 15-48, Battle 10-37, Breaston 1-25, McClain 4-20, McCluster 5-14, Orton 4-(minus 5).
PASSING—Green Bay, Rodgers 17-35-0-235. Kansas City, Orton 23-31-0-299.
RECEIVING—Green Bay, Cobb 4-53, Finley 3-83, Grant 3-35, Nelson 2-29, J.Jones 2-17, Driver 2-7, Kuhn 1-11. Kansas City, Breaston 4-50, Bowe 4-49, McClain 4-26, Pope 2-72, Becht 2-20, Copper 2-20, McCluster 2-11, Jones 1-27, Baldwin 1-17, Battle 1-7.
MISSED FIELD GOALS—Green Bay, Crosby 54 (WR).