The Green Bay Packers just wanted to see what their reserves were capable of doing.
Both sides got their wish, as the Chiefs defeated the visiting Packers, 17-13, in the final preseason game Thursday. The victory was the first for Chiefs head coach Todd Haley, after two years and five days.
Helped perhaps by Green Bay’s decision not to dress three key starters, the Chiefs took a 14-0 lead and held on against a team that many are making the favorite in the NFC.
The backup defense that gave away a victory last week against Philadelphia held fast this time and kept the Packers’ third-teamers out of the end zone in the final sloppy minutes.
“Overall, I think that’s good for our team to come out there and get a win,” Haley said. “We knew this whole preseason was about one thing, and that was being prepared for the start of the regular season. It was important for our team to continue to make positive strides and I thought we did that throughout the preseason in all areas.”
Matt Cassel and backup Brodie Croyle each directed touchdown drives for the Chiefs, who finished the preseason 1-3 after going 0-4 a year ago.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers and a host of other Green Bay starters didn’t suit up for the final tuneup of the preseason. Backup signal-caller Matt Flynn played into the third quarter and completed 23 of 37 passes for 304 yards, much of it against reserves.
“I like Matt Flynn,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “I thought Matt has put together a fine preseason. I thought he did good keeping us in good plays tonight at the line of scrimmage.
“He missed some throws early in the game. He didn’t quite have his feet set but I thought overall for his three quarters he did a good job.”
Running back Ryan Grant and cornerback Charles Woodson also did not dress for what was expected to be a rainy night but remained dry.
“Clearly a coaches’ decision,” McCarthy said. “It’s something I think about all the time. I feel we came out of the game relatively healthy.”
Held out with injuries were nine other Packers, including four other starters: linebackers Clay Matthews and Brad Jones, defensive end Cullen Jenkins and tackle Chad Clifton.
“We came into Kansas City to win the football game,” McCarthy said. “We came here to make sure we gave a lot of people as many opportunities as we possibly can. I thought we accomplished that.”
Flynn went three-and-out in Green Bay’s first four possessions.
Finally, facing a host of backups, the Packers drove from their 24 to first down at the 10. But rookie defensive back Kendrick Lewis broke up a pass on the goal line on third down and then a fourth-down pass was incomplete.
Trailing 14-3, the Packers got a 77-yard catch-and-run when backup cornerback Jackie Bates bit on a play fake and left Brett Swain wide open over the middle. Swain was knocked out of bounds at the 5. Two plays later, Kregg Lumpkin dived into the end zone from the 1. The play was first ruled no gain, but the Packers challenged and got the call reversed.
Three receivers had a big night for the Packers. Swain caught 6 passes for 130 yards, Charles Dillon caught 6 for 85 and Patrick Williams had five catches for 70 yards.
Green Bay’s Mason Crosby kicked two 41-yard field goals.
A blow to head put Green Bay long snapper Brett Goode out for much of the game.
First downs 22 16
Total net yards 433 322
Rushes-yards 20-67 32-145
Yards passing 366 177
Punt returns 3-27 3-55
Kickoff returns 4-56 3-64
Int. returns 1-9 0-0
Passes 31-55-0 15-25-1
Sacked-yards lost 1-6 0-0
Punts 5-38.6 5-45.2
Fumbles-lost 1-0 0-0
Penalties-yards 6-40 5-42
Time of possession 33:42 26:18
Green Bay 0 3 7 3—13
Kansas City 7 7 3 0—17
KC—Pope, 2 pass from Cassel (Succop kick), 2:46.
KC—Battle, 1 run (Succop kick), 3:46. GB—FG, Crosby 40, :16.
GB—Lumpkin, 1 run (Crosby kick), 10:52. KC—FG, Succop 26, 1:32.
GB—FG, Crosby 41, 6:12.
RUSHING—Green Bay: Lumpkin 11-36, Kuhn 5-20, Jackson 3-10, Flynn 1-1. Kansas City, Battle 10-67, McCluster 3-37, Jones 5-26, J.Williams 7-22, Castille 2-5, Charles 1-2, Cox 1-1, Croyle 2/-3, Horne 1/-12.
PASSING—Green Bay: Flynn 23-37-0-304, G.Harrell 8-18-0-68. Kansas City: Croyle 11-16-0-119, Cassel 4-9-1-58.
RECEIVING—Green Bay: Swain 6-130, Dillon 6-85, P.Williams 5-70, Quarless 2-20, Chery 2-18, Havner 2-14, Jennings 2-9, Lumpkin 2-9, Johnson 1-7, West 1-7, Kuhn 1-2, D.Lee 1-1. Kansas City: O’Connell 4-36, Tucker 3-16, Charles 2-26, Castille 1-43, Bowe 1-30.
, Moeaki 1-16, Gunnell 1-4, Lawrence 1-4, Pope 1-2.
MISSED FIELD GOALS—Kansas City, Succop 51 (WL).