That's What Cheese Said - 2021 Week 9

Hear from the head coach and key players following Green Bay's 13-7 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. 

The Packers fell 13-7 to the Kansas City Chiefs, bringing Green Bay’s record to 7-2 on the season, and there’s a lot to unpack in all three phases. Quarterback Jordan Love made his first NFL start. The defense held an explosive offense to 13 points. And special teams, well, special teams had a night they’ll want to forget all around with two missed field goals and a muffed punt that resulted in a turnover. 

“It sucks when you have to look at yourself critically and know you didn’t put your guys in the best position to go out there and win a football game that I thought our guys quite frankly deserved to win,” said Head Coach Matt LaFleur post-game. 

LaFleur mentioned the offensive breakdown of 34 passes and 25 rushes, adding that he didn’t do a good enough job setting his young quarterback up for success. The run game was working, but the Packers went away from it towards the end of the game when the team was down two scores. Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon combined for 99 yards on 20 attempts, with Jones averaging 4.4 yards per carry and Dillon averaging 5.8 yards per carry. 

Another issue facing the offense was the Chiefs’ use of all-out and zero blitzes. With Kansas City repeatedly rushing seven, Love had to get the ball out fast with a free rusher in his face. That’s something LaFleur addressed in his presser, the play calling on third and fourth downs while having no real response to the all-out blitzes. The Packers went 2-for-12 on third downs, converting only 16.7% of the time. 

“I think if we would’ve been able to hit one of those plays against the all-out, we probably wouldn’t have seen it as much,” Love said after the game. 

The team had Love’s back on Sunday, with Jones admitting the offense needed to help him out with the amount of pressure the Chiefs brought all game. “I think Jordan did a great job. He stepped up as a leader, took control of the huddle.”

“It was a great learning experience,” added LaFleur. “It was a learning experience for all of us involved in terms of what we need to do better as a staff to help prepare our players to go into an environment like that.”

The offense was held scoreless for three quarters, but finally got into a bit of a rhythm in the fourth with Love throwing his first NFL touchdown, a 20-yarder to Allen Lazard. 

“Really disappointed,” Love answered when asked how disappointed he was that his first NFL start didn’t go better after over a year of waiting. “Obviously, you never know when that opportunity is going to come, and I got it today.

“And not being able to go win that game, obviously we had a lot of chances on offense. Defense played a really good game. Gave us a lot of chances. And I think that's what’s most disappointing, is I wasn’t able to execute and as a team we weren’t able to go finish and get some more points on the board early.”

Defensively, the Packers played an incredible game, allowing zero points in the second half after falling down 13-0 in the first. 

“That was a championship-level effort, championship-level execution,” LaFleur said of the defense. 

Rashan Gary had the team’s lone sack, but the defense as a whole kept Kansas City’s playmakers at bay for all but the first drive of the game.

“Outside of the first drive, our defense did as well as you’d ever expect anybody to do,” said LaFleur. “I think anytime you hold an offense like that to 13 points, you should win the game, and obviously part of that was losing the turnover battle two-to-nothing, but I thought our defense was flying around.” 

As is the unfortunate identity of the 2021 Packers, a few more key players went down early with injuries. Cornerback Eric Stokes hurt his knee in pregame warmups and never saw action in the actual game, and defensive lineman Kenny Clark suffered a back injury mid-game and never returned. 

In Stokes’ absence, Kevin King lined up on the boundary opposite Rasul Douglas, finishing the game with one pass defensed and seven tackles. 

With Clark out and Kingsley Keke already inactive with a concussion, rookie T.J. Slaton stepped up in a big way, playing 45 snaps (69%) on defense, more than Tyler Lancaster (36) and Dean Lowry (24) who was on a snap count already. 

“I think that’s been kind of a theme, sadly, for us this year. Just kind of that next man up mentality,” said safety Darnell Savage who had one tackle for loss and two pass breakups. 

“We’ve been really just kind of focusing on the little things, you know, making teams kind work hard, not giving up deep balls, just stuff like that. I feel like that’s been the biggest part of our success.”

The defense held the Chiefs to only 237 yards of total offense, with Travis Kelce hauling in five receptions for 68 yards and a score and Tyreek Hill catching four passes on 11 targets for only 37 yards. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes was held to 20 completions for 166 yards and the lone score, giving him a passer rating of 74.8.

“We want to win this on defense. We want to be one of them dominating defenses where both sides of the ball are really good,” said King. “Not just surviving but really thriving out there.” 

The Packers now return home to Lambeau Field to face off against the 3-5 Seattle Seahawks. Quarterback Russell Wilson has been cleared to return to the team, so he should be the starter on Sunday. In Green Bay, Aaron Rodgers is not eligible to return from the reserve/COVID-19 list until Saturday at the earliest, with LaFleur confirming he’ll be the starter if he’s healthy, even without any practice reps this week. 

LaFleur and Co. will get Love ready in person should his number be called to start a second time, while also working with Rodgers via Zoom all week to get him up-to-speed on the Week 10 game plan. 

“I was really proud of the way he played,” said LaFleur of Love in his NFL debut. “There was no flinch in his game. He showed the resiliency to battle and hang in there, and it wasn’t always easy and it was a little frustrating at times, but I thought he did a heck of a job.”

While the Packers wait to hear about Rodgers’ status for Sunday, the team is expected to activate left tackle David Bakhtiari from the physically unable to perform (PUP) list by Wednesday’s deadline, though that doesn’t give any insight into his availability against Seattle. Additionally, both Clark and Stokes aren’t said to have long-term injuries, but LaFleur wouldn’t go into detail about their status for Sunday, either. 

Green Bay will host the Seahawks at 3:25 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 14 with temperatures in the 30s as the Frozen Tundra begins to freeze.

 

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Maggie Loney is a writer for Cheesehead TV and podcaster for the Pack-A-Day Podcast and Pack's What She Said. Find her on Twitter at @MaggieJLoney.

4 points

Comments (10)

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Minniman's picture

November 09, 2021 at 01:38 pm

"LaFleur and Co. will get Love ready in person should his number be called to start a second time,"

I came across another review of Jordan Love's performance that made a really interesting point. The reviewer noted that one thing that Rodgers does peerlessly is identify the coverage - and arrange the protection (yes, we'd expect an experienced QB to do that, but according to the reviewer, he does it better than any).

This may explain - in part - why Newman had such a horrible game, and looked entirely lost on those blitzes.

FWIW, the reviewer did point out some good things that Love did, one potential Deguara missed assignment and some mechanical issues that Love will need to work on.

It was an interesting perspective........... and no promises of making megabucks from home!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4AlN9DSnVE&t=13s

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PeteK's picture

November 09, 2021 at 02:20 pm

Very interesting ,Minn. A Dusty type of breakdown, but with the blocking highlighted. It reminded me how he was made to throw off his back foot because of the intense pressure.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

November 10, 2021 at 05:08 am

I posted this same youtube review (it's by Rich Campbell, IIRC) yesterday morning in a comment. Lots of people were misled because there was heavy pressure from the left side and now this film breakdown shows that Jenkins and Runyan blocked just fine, there was just an overload allowing a free rusher.

I think the missed assignment was Dafney (#49) in the first play reviewed. And that was exaggerating the block (staying with it too long) so he didn't get far enough out into the flat. It changed the angles and spacing, though Love could have made the play work with an accurate pass.

2 points
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Minniman's picture

November 10, 2021 at 10:52 am

Thanks TGR, yes it’s Rich Campbells ‘the QB School’ channel.

I’m always interested to get different perspectives and analysis on plays (hence why I love Dusty’s posts here).

I wish that we could post images on the site (but understand why). I rewatched the Coaches film replay and saw some really interesting formations for those I’ll-fated FG’s. Basically most of the O and D linemen were involved (minus KC, EJ and Patrick), with Deguara and Lancaster sealing the ends. Apart from the questionable snaps and placements, both of these guys missed their assignments both times (I.e. at least 1 rushers blew past them both times). This has to be affecting Crosby (who by now actually seems to be getting the start of the yips).

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NitschkeFromTheGrave's picture

November 09, 2021 at 03:17 pm

“I was really proud of the way he played,” said LaFleur of Love in his NFL debut. “There was no flinch in his game. He showed the resiliency to battle and hang in there, and it wasn’t always easy and it was a little frustrating at times, but I thought he did a heck of a job.”

Cough, cough.... choke, choke. I guess he has to say that when the camera is on and the mic is hot.... Truth is he had the lowest QB rating of any for week 9. In my opinion, he didn't bring much game and I don't think many on the field (are side or their side) respected his level of play that warranted any heightened alerts. He ran the plays like a good fill-in would. Did anything about his play stand out? Did anything in his play cause you to think, "hey, we got something here...?" He ran the plays, the rest was kind of meh....

4 points
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Irish_Cheesehead's picture

November 09, 2021 at 06:39 pm

Looks like Rodgers disagrees with you.

https://youtu.be/miZOZ5YBh2k

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NitschkeFromTheGrave's picture

November 10, 2021 at 10:27 am

Irish, you are kidding right? What did you think Rogers was going to say? He's not going to criticize a teammate for all the world to dissect his comments, cmon man......

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croatpackfan's picture

November 09, 2021 at 05:26 pm

It is interesting that the lowest QBR had Arrogant Lying Diva in the first week this season. I remember many of you were finding excuses for that performance. Through his press conference after that game he confirmed that OL was OK (I do not think so!). Jordan Love did not have at all OL from center to to right side. At the moment OL started to play (in the second half of the 4th Q) Jordan Love led Packers to touchdown. If 2 FG was on target, we would watching OT. So, AR with team that in the 1st week had only 2 important players missing (Z & David), scored just 1 FG, and threw 2 INT. I say Jordan Love played better in this game at KC home than AR against Saints on neutral field.

As I agree with many that Jordan Love still have a lot to learn, I do not consider him as bust, at least not after that sh*t game played by OL and some of the Packers catchers (WR & TE/FB).

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Reghamster's picture

November 09, 2021 at 06:08 pm

I agree with Croat! To put things in perspective Love outplayed Rodgers in their respective first starting games as rookies . Love had a 69 qb ranking and Rodgers was 39. Rodgers had 2 interceptions and no tds . Threw for less yardage and had a lower completion percentage. As Croat points out Rodgers and the Packers only got 3 points against the Saints and were shellacked at a neutral site. Also last week Love out performed Allen of the Bill's ( 9 to 6 against the Jaguars !!!!) and Prescott and Dallas who were losing 30 to 0 before the 4th quarter. Love is and maybe ( likely) will never be as good as Rodgers . But he is not to blame for the loss at the Chiefs . Rodgers and MLF are.
The verdict is still out about Love but he showed some potential in the 4th quarter. I would only add that besides the 2 missed field goals one should mention the muffed punt that led to 3 points for K.C. We could have easily won the game due to our stellar defense and a decent game ultimately by Love at the end . So go away reactionary haters. If the Packers had won would everyone be hating on Love... I doubt it.

3 points
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canadapacker's picture

November 09, 2021 at 06:46 pm

Apparently AR is really disappointed with the reaction to his not being vaccinated and is very upset with the backlash ( according to People magazine). But that is old news because now he is apparently partly apologizing ""“I made some comments that people might have felt were misleading. And to anybody who felt misled by those comments, I take full responsibility for those comments,”"""

Baby steps I guess - hopefully his ego will not get in his way to finally admitting to his misinformed opinion of the ramifications of his sidestepping the vaccination process. As a team leader and as somebody that supposedly is in a position to show leadership he has failed in this task. Can he recover? - certainly - but first fully accept fully the errors in judgement. I mean really apologize by just saying that I am sorry that I didnt fully disclose my status. Case closed.

Now on to Love - getting tired of the positive spin from last game - he played no better nor no worse that a guy who was not a top pick. If somebody wanted to watch somebody play really well it was the Chicago rookie Fields - that guy has all of the tools. Hopefully for us that Nagy will screw him up as bad as he did Trubisky

2 points
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