Green Bay is 7-1 and off to its best start since 2011.
The Packers got three touchdown throws from quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the defense held firm in the second half to propel them to a 31-24 win over Kansas City on Sunday night.
The star of the night was running back Aaron Jones. The third-year back accounted for 220 yards, including 159 yards receiving. He scored Green Bay’s first touchdown on a 4-yard pass and the club’s final one on a 67-yard run and catch midway through the fourth quarter.
Jones is just the 10th running back with at least 150 yards receiving since 2010.
“He’s an explosive weapon,” coach Matt LaFleur said. “He’s dynamic as a runner, as a receiver and as a pass protector. I think he’s a complete back.”
The game wasn’t decided until the two-minute warning. Facing a third-and-5, and with Kansas City out of timeouts, the Packers were aggressive, letting Rodgers throw the ball. It paid off as he found Jones for an 8-yard gain.
“I loved it. It’s close out,” Rodgers said of the decision to pass. “They were out of timeouts and it was time to win the game.”
Green Bay jumped out to an early 14-0 first-quarter lead and it looked like the Chiefs, without reigning NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes, would be no match for the Packers. But backup Matt Moore rallied and Kansas City scored 17 unanswered points to take a 17-14 lead.
In the second half, though, the Packers defense stepped up. They forced a punt on the first possession, got a turnover on the second and then forced another punt on the fourth possession. It would be the last time the Chiefs touched the ball.
“That’s like an all-star team over there when you look at their skill players,” LaFleur said of the Chiefs. “They are going to get their plays and they did. I thought our defense did a great job of adjusting in the second half to try to limit those (big) plays or keep them at a minimum.”
Helping matters was the Packers offense. They scored on their first three possessions of the second half before running out the clock on their fourth. Among the touchdowns was a remarkable throw from Rodgers just as he was getting hit to running back Jamaal Williams in the back of the end zone.
“I sure did,” LaFleur said when asked if he thought Rodgers was throwing the ball away. “That was one of the best — if not the best — pass I’ve ever seen live in person. That was incredible. I couldn’t believe it.”
Rodgers admitted that he threw the ball hoping Jimmy Graham would go up and get it, though he did see a guy behind the tight end.
“Luckily the guy behind him got it,” Rodgers said with a smile.
For Rodgers, it was another big night. He ended up throwing for 305 yards and has now thrown for 734 yards and eight touchdowns over his last two games.
The win leaves the Packers at the top of NFC North, one game ahead of Minnesota. They’ll be on the road once again next week as they travel to Los Angeles to take on the Chargers.