Ready or not, Week 1 and the defending NFC champion San Francisco 49ers are up next for the Green Bay Packers.
The Packers ended their preseason in dismal fashion on Thursday night, losing 30-8 at the Kansas City Chiefs. En route to a 1-3 record, the Packers scored just 37 points.
With Aaron Rodgers watching the game in a baseball cap and Vince Young and B.J. Coleman handling the quarterbacking chores, the Packers gained 218 yards, had 13 first downs, punted nine times and turned over the ball twice.
Mason Crosby clinched the kicking job with field goals of 48 and 45 yards in the first half. The first scoring drive — “drive” used loosely as it lasted four plays and went for 5 yards — was set up by an interception by Tramon Williams, who was making his preseason debut. The second drive of eight plays for 53 yards was the longest of the night.
Sam Barrington had the other points when he blitzed untouched to sack Tyler Bray for a safety. Brandon Smith had an interception but also was beaten for two touchdowns.
With Rodgers and his counterpark, Alex Smith, getting the night off, Bray shined on a night otherwise devoid of any stars.
The undrafted rookie out of Tennessee threw for 169 yards and three touchdowns. He hit Junior Hemingway for his first touchdown pass late in the first half, and then connected with Josh Bellamy and Frankie Hammond Jr. for touchdowns in the second half.
Young, the presumptive No. 2 quarterback, had a rough game, going 14-of-30 for 144 yards. He fumbled twice, losing one of them.
B.J. Coleman was 2-of-7 for 19 yards in three first-half series.
With most of the big names relegated to wearing baseball caps and floppy hats, the game was decided by guys hoping to make one last impact before roster cuts are due Saturday.
In the race to be the No. 3 running back in Kansas City, second-year pro Cyrus Gray appeared to move ahead of veteran Shaun Draughn. Gray gouged the Packers several times in the first half and finished with 73 yards on 13 carries.
For the Packers, safety Chris Banjo was singled out by coach Mike McCarthy. In the race to be the fifth receiver, Tyrone Walker had five catches compared to Jeremy Ross’ three, but Walker fumbled. Nobody on the offensive line showed they are worthy of being the seventh blocker behind the starting five and Marshall Newhouse.
In a bit of positive injury news for Green Bay, Williams started the game after missing most of training camp with a bruised knee. He picked off Chase Daniel on the game's first play as the Packers' starters spent a series fine-tuning for their opener at San Francisco.
Their No. 1 offense — sans Rodgers, of course — played one series but couldn't move the ball behind Young, eventually settling for Crosby's 48-yard field goal and a 3-0 lead.
Ryan Succop's two field goals and another by Crosby left the score 6-6 when the Chiefs got the ball with less than 2 minutes remaining in the first half. Bray guided them 50 yards in seven plays, and his pass to Hemingway for a touchdown gave Kansas City a 13-6 lead at the break.
The Chiefs put the game away on Bellamy's touchdown grab in the third quarter.
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.