Patrick Mahomes threw for a touchdown and the Chiefs’ defense throttled Rodgers’ replacement, second-year quarterback Jordan Love.
Love, who was making his first career regular season NFL start, threw an interception as well as a late touchdown to give the Packers hope.
2018 NFL Most Valuable Player Mahomes and his array of offensive weapons were able to run out the remainder of the fourth quarter though to clinch a vital victory as the struggling Chiefs search for some consistency.
But it was the Chiefs’ defense that was the star of the show, stifling the Rodger-less Packers, something Chiefs coach Andy Reid praised afterwards.
“I thought our defense did a nice job. We didn’t hold back,” Reid told the media. “Guys played hard and aggressive, and you’ve seen things happen when teams are favored. You have to bear down every week the best way you can.”
To put the inexperienced Love under pressure, the Chiefs chose to blitz at a higher rate than normal, at a 54.3% rate, the highest in a game for the Chiefs since 2018.
And after the defeat, Packers head coach Matt LaFleur put some of the blame for Love’s struggles on his shoulders.
“Within plays, there are longer developing plays, and if you can’t protect, it’s kind of hard to throw from your back,” LaFleur told the media.
“There were a couple plays where he got out of some stuff … but I’m disappointed that we didn’t deal the ball faster and call things that might show a little bit quicker for him.”
Lacking a punch
Missing the NFL’s reigning MVP, it wasn’t surprising the Packers looked slightly toothless.
Last week, it was announced Rodgers would miss the game against the Chiefs as he was placed in the NFL’s Covid-19 protocols.
Although LaFleur declined to comment on whether Rodgers had tested positive or had been vaccinated, appearing on “The Pat McAfee Show” on Friday, Rodgers said he had contracted Covid-19 and that he is unvaccinated against the virus.
Having previously announced back in August that he was “immunized,” Rodgers went on to say on Friday that he was “in the crosshairs of the woke mob right now” over his vaccination status and that the media was on a “witch hunt” to find out which players were vaccinated.
Rodgers said he did not get vaccinated because he has an allergy to an ingredient in the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines and was scared about the possible side effects from the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
The 37-year-old’s handling of the situation has led to criticism directed at the star quarterback.
“This is a huge unforced error by a man who has transcended football and wants to have a career … whether it’s hosting ‘Jeopardy!’ or on other parts of our culture,” CNN sports analyst Christine Brennan told “The Lead with Jake Tapper.”
“What a shock, what a surprise that this is the guy we thought was so smart and well-read, and it turns out that he doesn’t even have the courage or the guts to say he wasn’t vaccinated, probably because he was fearful of that ‘woke mob.’”
Rodgers could return for the Packers’ next game against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. According to the NFL’s Covid-19 protocols, an unvaccinated player must quarantine for 10 days from the date of his positive test.