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3 things we learned about the Chiefs

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GREEN BAY, Wis. — The NFL, as part of its Super Bowl 50 celebration, billed Monday night’s game between the Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs as a Super Bowl I rematch.

This game wasn’t much more competitive.

Aaron Rodgers threw five touchdown passes, including three to Randall Cobb, as the Packers rolled over the Chiefs 38-28 at rainy Lambeau Field.

The Chiefs, coming off a mini-bye week following last Thursday’s shocking loss against Denver, were outclassed in every way imaginable while falling behind 38-14 early in the fourth quarter. At halftime, Rodgers had more touchdown passes (three) than counterpart Alex Smith had completions (two).

“I just think we’re scratching the surface a little bit,” Rodgers said of the 3-0 Packers. “It starts with the guys up front. They’ve been blocking really well. We have three games in, we’ve got three sacks. That’s pretty impressive. If those guys keep blocking like that we’re going to be tough to beat.”

Kansas City put an end to one ugly streak as it tried to dig its way out of a deep hole in the second half. When Smith hit Jeremy Maclin for a 5-yard touchdown late in the third quarter, it was the Chiefs’ first touchdown pass to a wide receiver since the playoff loss to Indianapolis on Jan. 4, 2014 — a streak of 18 consecutive games.

“The one positive,” Smith said. “It is nice to get the ball in his hands and get him in the end zone. We won’t have to deal with the receiver talk anymore.”

However, the Chiefs (1-2) repeatedly shot themselves in the foot. The Packers gained five first downs via Chiefs penalties in the first half alone. Early in the fourth quarter, Rodgers drew the Chiefs offside again and, as he has done repeatedly through the early part of the season, took advantage of a free play by hitting James Jones for a gain of 52. That put the Packers in position for Cobb’s career-high third touchdown reception of the night, which put Green Bay in front 38-14.

What we learned about the Chiefs:

1. Is quarterback Alex Smith good enough to get the Chiefs to a Super Bowl? It seems doubtful. At the end of Monday night, Smith put up credible numbers — 24 of 40 for 290 yards with one touchdown, one interception and an 80.2 passer rating. However, he seems to have zero desire to push the ball down the field. To be sure, he lacks a credible group of wide receivers. But 2-of-7 for 39 yards in the first half isn’t going to get it done against any team, let alone one quarterbacked by Aaron Rodgers. At the end of the first half, rather than chuck the ball toward the end zone for a Hail Mary, Smith scrambled and the clock ran out. “We need to bounce back and get better,” Smith said. “I think the bottom line is that after a game like that tonight, we all need to look in the mirror. We all need to find a way to fix this. There is a lot of football left.”

2. If outside linebackers Justin Houston and Tamba Hali aren’t going to get home repeatedly, the Chiefs secondary just isn’t good enough. Rodgers, who was sacked once and hit four times, according to the official stats, threw for 333 yards and five touchdowns. “That’s a Hall of Fame quarterback and we give him much respect,” linebacker Derrick Johnson said. “We didn’t play good today and it showed. It’s tough but it’s still early and we’re not in panic mode, but if we want to do good down the stretch, we’re going to have to play a lot better against really good defenses.”

3. Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles likes to score touchdowns. On his first touchdown, a 9-yard run that cut the deficit to 14-7, he imitated Aaron Rodgers’ “championship belt” celebration. No harm there. On the second, which trimmed the margin to a still-lopsided 38-22 with 9:56 remaining in the game, he did a Lambeau Leap. He finished the night with a career-high three scores.

Etc.:

–ILB Derrick Johnson entered the game with 995 career tackles. He added eight more to that tally, with his count of 1,003 breaking the franchise record held by Gary Spani. “First off, when you’re playing, you don’t even think about the tackle record for the Chiefs but, you know, I’ve been playing a while and having some good luck and I’m very fortunate to have a chance to break it this year. God gets all the glory for helping me get to this point.”

–OLB Justin Houston, the NFL’s reigning sack king with 22 last season, saw his streak of consecutive games with at least one sack end at eight games. Houston finished with four tackles, including one for a loss, and had one quarterback hit. The Packers mitigated the pass rush of Houston and fellow OLB Tamba Hali by using a quick-hitting passing game.


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