Alex Smith failed to ignite Chiefs' passing game until too late


GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Kansas City Chiefs had an idea they would allow some plays to Aaron Rodgers and the Packers -- and they did. But the Chiefs thought they would make some plays of their own, and though the game was within reach, they were sorely disappointed.

The Chiefs didn’t handle Green Bay’s pressure well, and quarterback Alex Smith often didn’t have time to get the ball down the field. He was sacked eight times in Kansas City's 38-28 loss to the Green Bay Packers on Monday night at Lambeau Field.

Even when he did have time, Smith completed just one pass longer than 9 yards before the Packers had built a 24-point lead midway through the third quarter. Smith didn’t complete a pass to a wide receiver until late in the third quarter, when he found Jeremy Maclin for a 31-yard gain. Two plays later, Maclin scored the Chiefs’ first touchdown by a wide receiver in 18 games on a 5-yard catch.

Smith and Maclin connected on a 61-yard pass in the fourth quarter. But even a couple long passes and a touchdown were little consolation for the Chiefs. Their passing ineptitude for most of the first three quarters had put them in such a hole that even a streak-ending touchdown or a few long passes could change the bigger picture.

What it means: The Chiefs are 1-2 and already two games behind the Denver Broncos in the AFC West. Their division deficit could get worse before it gets better -- assuming it ever does. The Chiefs are at 3-0 Cincinnati next week. They don’t have many soft spots on their upcoming schedule, and they gave up a home game in November to the NFL’s London project. They’ll play the Detroit Lions on Nov. 1 at Wembley Stadium instead of Arrowhead Stadium.

What were they thinking? The Chiefs' refusal to throw down the field on third-and-4 from their 28 with less than five minutes left in the first half was mystifying. They were trailing 17-7 and needed to extend the drive, not only for points but also to keep the ball away from Aaron Rodgers. Smith instead lateraled to De’Anthony Thomas coming out of the backfield, and he was smothered for a loss. The Chiefs punted, and the Packers drove for a touchdown that gave them a 17-point halftime lead.

One reason to get excited: At long last, the Chiefs were able to get Maclin involved in the third quarter. Maybe that’s the momentum they need to ignite their passing game.

One reason to panic: The passing game shouldn’t take almost three quarters to establish itself. The Chiefs didn’t give themselves a chance by going three-and-out on four of their first five possessions.

Ouch: The Chiefs lost starting cornerback Phillip Gaines to a knee injury in the first quarter.

Pass defense streak snapped: Rodgers, who threw for 333 yards, busted the Chiefs’ streak of 22 straight games without allowing a 300-yard passer. That was the longest current streak in the NFL.