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Jordan Love powers Packers past Chiefs on ‘Sunday Night Football’: How Green Bay is boosting its playoff chances

Packers quarterback Jordan Love played in Green Bay’s 27-19 win over the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday night at Lambeau Field. The 25-year-old QB completed 25 of 36 passes for 267 yards and three touchdowns.

The Packers improved to 6-6 with the win, their third in a row, while the Chiefs fell to 8-4.

The Packers never trailed in the AFC West matchup against the Chiefs. Kansas City cut Green Bay’s lead to two points after a Noah Gray touchdown run early in the fourth quarter, but failed to capitalize on its next few drives.

Packers cornerback Keisean Nixon picked off a throw from Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes with 5:14 remaining. Green Bay kicker Anders Carlson also made two field goals in the fourth quarter, including a game-clinching 48-yarder that gave the Packers a 27-19 lead with 1:09 left.

Mahomes completed 21 of 33 passes for 210 yards, with one touchdown and one interception. Kansas City running back Isiah Pacheco – who was ejected in the fourth quarter – had 18 carries for 110 yards and a touchdown in the loss.

Christian Watson exited late in the fourth quarter with an apparent injury after scoring two of Green Bay’s touchdowns. He left the field carefully, assisted by trainers, after slipping.

What happened in the last minutes?

The referees did not call defensive pass interference on two key plays, including the game’s final play in which Mahomes attempted a Hail Mary on fourth-and-10 from the 33-yard line that fell incomplete at the end of the allotted time.

Earlier, with just over a minute to play, Mahomes was hit out of bounds and a personal foul was called.

Referee Brad Allen responded to that call by stating in the pool report: “The coverage official believed the defender made late and unnecessary contact with the quarterback. So it was a call for unnecessary brutality.

When asked if there was any discussion about whether or not Mahomes was inbounds, Allen said that “internal conversations happen every play and the cover official was certain that the call had been carried out correctly.

Regarding a no-call in which the Packers’ Carrington Valentine appeared draped over the Chiefs’ Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Allen said the coverage officials “were in a good position and ruled that there was no material restriction up to ‘at the level of defensive pass interference’.

“I didn’t know catchability was involved,” Allen said. “The coverage official simply did not feel that there was a level of contact that amounted to a material restriction for defensive pass interference.”

Valdes-Scantling addressed the room, saying, “I was on the floor. … I know I tried to catch the ball and I couldn’t.

Packers eye likely playoff berth

Three weeks ago, the Packers were 3-6, facing the top five picks in the 2024 NFL Draft with the Los Angeles Chargers, Detroit Lions and Chiefs ahead. A 3-9 record wasn’t just a possibility. This seemed likely given the Packers’ poor showing, with their only win from Weeks 4-10 coming against a Brett Rypien-led Los Angeles Rams team. NOW? The Packers are 6-6 after beating these three teams.

A playoff berth isn’t just a possibility. It’s a probability. The Packers have the New York Giants, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Carolina Panthers, Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears remaining on the schedule. None of these teams are above .500. The Packers didn’t just turn their season around by beating the league’s tough guys. They have won back-to-back victories against two Super Bowl contenders.

Maybe it’s time to talk about the Packers in the same group… in fact, it might be too early for that. But what the Packers have done recently is nonetheless impressive. — Matt Schneidman, Packers writer

Love is the guy

If there was any doubt that Love was Green Bay’s guy at quarterback, he had another stellar game against one of the best defenses in the NFL. Love continues to try hard in narrow windows and make wise decisions. Will he be the man of the next 15 years like his two predecessors? Who knows? But for now, he has established himself as a guy of good faith. — Schneider

Chiefs offensive blocks

In another prime-time game, the Chiefs offense stalled at key moments in the fourth quarter when Mahomes was unable to connect on passes to two of his receivers, Valdes-Scantling and Skyy Moore . Midway through the fourth quarter, the Chiefs could have taken their first lead of the game if they scored on their drive. Instead, Mahomes missed a deep pass to Valdes-Scantling, which was open between two defenders.

On the next play, a third down, Mahomes saw his target, receiver Richie James, fall as he ran his way across the middle of the field. On the next possession, Mahomes’ pass was intercepted by Nixon when Moore, a sophomore receiver, slowed on his route near the sideline. The Chiefs’ inconsistent receivers continue to be a problem in close games, especially when tight end Travis Kelce was targeted by Mahomes in the fourth quarter. — Nate Taylor, Chiefs staff writer

Defensive concerns for Chiefs

Entering Lambeau Field, the most points the Chiefs defense had given up in a game was 24 points in a loss to the Denver Broncos. The Packers controlled the pace of the game and scored 27 points, as they were able to take a 14-3 lead in part because Love excelled against the Chiefs’ blitzes, the opposite of what happened in his first NFL start inside Arrowhead Stadium in 2021. The Chiefs, however, might have bigger defensive concerns after this game.

Safety Bryan Cook, a second-year player, suffered what appears to be a serious injury to his left ankle. Linebacker Drue Tranquill also suffered a concussion during the Packers’ first practice. One of the reasons the Chiefs had one of the best defenses in the league is because the unit was a healthy group with plenty of rotational contributors. Without Cook and Tranquill, who replaced linebacker Nick Bolton, the Packers were able to exploit backup defenders such as cornerback Joshua Williams and linebackers Jack Cochrane and Leo Chenal. — Taylor

Game Highlights

Required reading

(Photo: Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

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