Aaron Rodgersis good at throwing the football, but we knew that already.
His ability to make plays with his feet – and running backAaron Jones‘ability to catch big plays – became a key Sunday night, as they led the Packers to a 31 – 24 win over the Chiefs.
With the Chiefs trying to keep Rodgers under pressure by blitzing often, Rodgers was able to keep the Chiefs off-balance with a few nice scrambles, allowing him to do what he does best.
And when he can keep a defense guessing, he can do what he does best. A pair of runs (for 15 and 9 yards) came on the fourth-quarter possession when he threw one of his prettiest passes, which went on the stat sheet as a 3-yard touchdown toJamaal Williams.
But that required Rodgers evading a rush, running backward, and dropping the ball in the bucket as he was going down from about 28 yards away from Williams in the back of the end zone.
He could only grin when he got to the guidelines, after making one of the throws that few can.
Here are five more things we learned duringSunday Night Football:
1. The other thing Rodgers is really good at is recognizing a mismatch.
When the Chiefs tried to cover Jones with a linebacker, Rodgers made them pay.
In the fourth quarter, Jones turned a quick pass into a 67 – yard touchdown, using his speed to turn a routine play into a big one.
Jones and running Jamaal Williams each had a pair of touchdowns (two receiving for Jones, one rushing and one receiving for Williams), providing the kind of complement the Packers desperately need while they’re withoutDavante Adams.
Jones finished with 159 receiving yards , including a 50 – yarder in the first half which appeared to be a touchdown before he was ruled to have stepped out of bounds. He also ran for 67 yards.
2. Chiefs quarterbackMatt Moore‘s not one to be awed by being thrown into situations he wasn’t expecting.
The veteran backup has stepped in as a starter before, and has even done so onSNF.
In 2009 when he was with the Panthers, he led them to a win over the Brett Favre-led Vikings, throwing for 299 yards and three touchdowns.
Sunday, he was 24 – of – 36 for 267 yards and two touchdowns, a creditable performance and the kind that would beat many teams.
3. The Chiefs punted it to the Packers with five minutes and 13 seconds left, on fourth-and-3 from their own 40, down by a touchdown.
They didn’t get the ball back.
It was a curiously conservative call for a team that was missing three starters on defense.
Playing without defensive ends Chris Jones andFrank Clarkand cornerbackKendall Fuller, the Chiefs didn’t have the manpower to play the Packers straight-up, but with the game on the line, the Chiefs asked the leftovers to get the ball away from Rodgers.
They did not.
4. With or without the injuredPatrick Mahomes, the Chiefs have plenty of guys who can make plays.
Chiefs tight endTravis Kelcecontinues to make plays at a ridiculous rate.
He topped the 450 – reception mark in the first half , in his 88 th game.
That made him the fastest tight end to reach that mark in league history. The previous record was Hall of Famer Kellen Winslow, who got to 450 in his 89 th game.
Winslow, however, either couldn’t or didn’t dance like Kelce, who celebrated in style after Moore found him for a 29 – yard touchdown in the first half.
5. The Packers have two more games before their bye (against the Chargers and Panthers), but they could use a week off.
In addition to missing Adams, they were without a number of key parts with injuries during the game.
At one point, Jones was questionable to return with a shoulder injury, but he returned. Outside linebackersZa’Darius Smithand (Preston Smith) each left briefly but returned. TacklesDavid BakhtiariandBryan Bulagaeach took turns receiving medical attention on the sidelines.
They’re 7-1 and feeling pretty good about that, but clearly they’ll be feeling sore in the morning.