Jordan Love’s Impressive Performance Leads Packers to Upset Victory over Chiefs

When the Green Bay Packers were 2-5, general manager Brian Gutekunst said Jordan Love had a “very important 10 games” coming up to finish the season. It was the kind of thing a GM says because he has to. Even if he truly still believed in Love, very few others did at that point.

It’s not like Love was playing well and the Packers were losing. He was a big part of the Packers’ terrible record. Maybe the biggest part.

When is the last time a quarterback entirely changed the narrative about his future in about a month?

Love has come alive and so have the Packers. The Packers got a huge upset, knocking off the Kansas City Chiefs 27-19 on Sunday night. The Packers held on in a wild final two minutes with the Chiefs trying to score and tie the game. Love continued his fascinating hot streak, throwing three touchdowns and looking like a totally different player than we saw the first two months of the season. The Packers are 6-6, have a very soft upcoming schedule with no teams over .500 remaining and unless there’s another 180 coming in their season, they’re likely going to the playoffs in the NFC. It’s a remarkable turnaround for the team, led by the quarterback who was struggling badly over the first two months of the season to replace Aaron Rodgers.

Of course there are other factors in Love’s sudden improvement. The offensive line has been way better. Christian Watson got healthy and has been making plays, which made it frustrating to see him leave Sunday night’s game in the fourth quarter with what appeared to be a hamstring injury. The Packers defense did a good job against the Chiefs and has looked improved.

But the most important factor in a quarterback-centric league is Love, who has gone from maybe having a foot out of the door to completely turning around his season, and the Packers’ season too.

Jordan Love has another big night

If there was one play to epitomize the change in Love and the Packers, it came on fourth-and-one in the third quarter.

First of all, a month ago Packers coach Matt LaFleur might not have had the confidence to go for it. But he did, Green Bay’s play was defended well, so Love threw one up off his back foot. And it dropped right into Romeo Doubs’ lap for a 33-yard gain. The Packers scored on Watson’s second touchdown shortly after. It was a great play by a quarterback who hadn’t made many big plays through seven games.

Love made plenty of big throws on Sunday night. The Chiefs defense is clearly the best of the Mahomes era and one of the best in the NFL, and Love was finding receivers all over the field. He played with a confidence he simply didn’t have during the 2-5 start.

If you watched Love’s first game against the Detroit Lions this season, or his three-interception fiasco against the Las Vegas Raiders, or when he and the Packers put up 17 points in a loss to the Denver Broncos or 10 points in a loss to the Minnesota Vikings, you would not have predicted Love emerging as an exciting potential cornerstone weeks before Christmas.

That’s why the Packers let it be known he still had 10 games to make an impression. It only took him five.

Chiefs rally after halftime

The Packers played a nearly perfect first three quarters. Love was dealing. The defense held the Chiefs out of the end zone in the first half. And yet, when Patrick Mahomes hit Noah Gray for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter, the Packers’ lead was just 21-19. It was a scary spot for the Packers to have Mahomes hanging around that late in the game.

The Packers needed to put away the Chiefs. In a similar spot early in the season, Love couldn’t put together the one drive the Packers needed against the Atlanta Falcons and watched the Falcons come back and win in the fourth quarter. Love is maturing, and he put together a couple of big drives to extend Green Bay’s lead.

Love got the offense going on a scoring drive that ate up a lot of time into the fourth quarter. The Packers got backed up with a second-and-16 but Love hit Doubs for 27 yards. They got into the red zone, then took a sack. The Packers had to settle for a field goal and a 24-19 lead. Mahomes had 6:03 left, needing a field goal.

That’s when Mahomes threw a big interception. He overthrew Skyy Moore and it was picked off by Packers cornerback Keisean Nixon. Green Bay picked up some first downs after that to take time off the clock. The Chiefs got a stop, but the Packers were in field-goal range and extended the lead to eight points with 1:09 left. It was a clutch 48-yard field goal by rookie Anders Carlson.

Mahomes had one more chance, though with no timeouts and needing a touchdown and two-point conversion to tie. A very questionable personal foul for a hit on Mahomes near the sideline, before he was out of bounds, gave the Chiefs 15 yards. The Packers looked like they recovered a fumble from Rashee Rice but Rice was ruled down after a review, though the Chiefs lost 15 yards and Isiah Pacheco to an ejection when he threw a punch. Then there was a questionable non-call when the Packers weren’t called for a pass interference downfield on Marquez Valdes-Scantling.

Finally, Mahomes ran out of time. He threw incomplete to the end zone on the final play. The Packers held and are back to .500. They also seem to have found an answer at quarterback.


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