The game really wasn’t as close as the final score indicated. The Packers had a 31-7 lead late in the third quarter, and while Kansas City attempted to comeback, they were never really in a position to win.
Here are the five biggest takeaways from Green Bay’s 38-28 victory over Chiefs:
1. Aaron Rodgers is making it look too easy
It’s incredibly rare that a two-time NFL Most Valuable Player finds a way to get even better, but Rodgers is doing just that.
It was a five-touchdown performance from Rodgers against Kansas City, giving him the franchise record in games with five-plus TD passes. Rodgers had been tied with Brett Favre at three. There’s no question that Rodgers benefitted from a great performance by Randall Cobb on Monday night, but that only further shows the trust and chemistry between the two of them.
Rodgers is also changing the way the quarterback position can be played. His ability to draw defenders offside and capitalize on it with big plays is something he’s mastered. In fact, according to ESPN Stats & Info, while Rodgers has two touchdowns on offside plays this season, the rest of the NFL has zero. Rodgers’ pre-snap checks and reads are so well executed that it would seem he’s getting the information directly from opposing defensive coordinators.
Regardless of whether you’re a Packers fan, everyone should enjoy what is happening on the field with Rodgers. Right now, he is playing at a level that has him trending towards being the greatest quarterback ever.
2. Injuries mounting
Wide receiver Jordy Nelson and inside linebacker Sam Barrington are already out for the entire season. Right tackle Bryan Bulaga will likely miss another month.
Now, Davante Adams could miss some time after further injuring his ankle during the first quarter of Monday’s game.
That’s not it for the Packers injuries, either. Safety Morgan Burnett has missed two of three games with a calf injury that won’t go away. Tight end Andrew Quarless suffered an injury in Monday’s game that could keep him out. Plus, defensive lineman Datone Jones, fullback Aaron Ripkowski, safety Sean Richardson, inside linebacker Jake Ryan, cornerback Demetri Goodson and outside linebacker Mike Neal are all dealing with injuries.
Is there any point at which Green Bay can’t withstand any more injuries? Aside, of course, from losing Rodgers. The Packers are getting closer every week to finding out if they truly can continue winning with the "next man up" philosophy as long as that next man up isn’t replacing Rodgers.
3. James Jones proving to be best value in the NFL
The New York Giants released Jones during their final roster cutdown in early September. Now, the Giants are holding tryouts this week as they search for a wide receiver to help them. Based on the way Jones is playing during his Packers reunion, anyone else think Tom Coughlin is seriously regretting that decision?
Jones caught seven of the eight targets sent his way Monday night, finishing with 139 receiving yards and one touchdown. He looks like he never left Rodgers’ side. For the season, Jones currently has 12 catches for 219 yards and four touchdowns.
After being cut by Oakland and New York, Jones is on a one-year, minimum-salary contract of $870,000. It’d be difficult to find a better value in the league so far this year.
4. Holding up well against another top running back
After being destroyed by Matt Forte in Week 1, Green Bay’s run defense has recovered very well.
Marshawn Lynch was held to 41 yards on 15 carries (2.7 average) in Week 2. On Monday night, Jamaal Charles had 49 yards on 11 carries (4.5 average). Charles scored three touchdowns, but those trips into the end zone did more for fantasy football owners than it did the Chiefs’ chances of winning.
After Forte’s 141-yard performance against the Packers, defensive coordinator Dom Capers would likely have been thrilled if told his group would hold Lynch and Charles (two of the best running backs in the NFL) to a combined 90 yards.
5. Joe Thomas’ rise
Thomas was on the verge of earning a sport on Green Bay’s active roster in 2014 as an undrafted rookie before a knee injury ended those hopes. Back for another try in training camp this year, Thomas performed well. But with the Packers having invested draft picks in Ryan, Carl Bradford and Nate Palmer in consecutive years, Thomas found himself as the odd man out during cutdowns.
A week ago, Thomas was on the Dallas Cowboys’ practice squad. But when defensive lineman Josh Boyd was placed on injured reserve, Green Bay decided to sign Thomas to its active roster. Not only was Thomas on the game-day roster Monday night, he played nearly 40 snaps and finished with a sack and four tackles.
Most importantly for the Packers’ defense, having Thomas on the field as the dime linebacker allowed Clay Matthews to pass-rush from the outside. That was something Matthews didn’t do a single time in Week 2.