Chiefs rue more penalties, miscues and questionable officiating in loss to Packers

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Chiefs could put the blame for their loss in Green Bay on Sunday night on a whole lot of people.

Packers quarterback Jordan Love, who outplayed league MVP Patrick Mahomes. The Green Bay wide receivers, who made all the plays that Kansas City's group has failed to make so much of the season.

And yes, the officials, whose questionable decisions in the final few minutes — including two pass interference penalties that were not called — might very well have altered the outcome.

Yet the Chiefs, whose 27-19 loss was their third in the past five weeks, have enough championship pedigree to carry most of the blame on their own shoulders.

Mahomes threw an interception late in the game, they still were flagged five times for 50 yards as penalties continued to be a problem, and they went just 2 for 4 when they reached the red zone.

Fix those problems and those questionable decisions by referee Brad Allen's crew might not have made a difference.

“You try to learn from it, learn from your mistakes and get better. That’s all you can do. That’s win or lose,” said Mahomes, who was just 21 of 33 for 210 yards with a touchdown and that pick.

“We haven’t dealt with a ton of losing here, but everything is out in front of you. We can still win a division, but it’s going to take us getting better and better each and every week.”

Yet as much as Mahomes wanted to immediately turn his attention to next Sunday's game against Buffalo, it is almost impossible not to reflect on just how costly the Chiefs' loss in Green Bay turned out to be Sunday night.

First, there are the standings: Kansas City is 8-4 and a game behind Baltimore and Miami, and a half-game behind Jacksonville as it prepared to play Cincinnati on Monday night, which means the Chiefs have ground to make up for the No. 1 seed.

Second, there were the injuries: The Chiefs lost linebacker Drue Tranquill to a concussion. He already was replacing the injured Nick Bolton, while starting safety Bryan Cook had to be carted off the field with an ankle injury.

“We understand everything we want is still ahead of us,” Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones said. "I got the five-minute rule: You've got five minutes to complain, you’ve got five minutes to get it all out. We’ve got an important game coming next week to Arrowhead, so watch film, see what we can get better at and let’s take this week in practice.”

WHAT’S WORKING

The Chiefs ran for 148 yards, and Isiah Pacheco had 18 carries for 110 and a score before he got thrown out of the game for throwing a punch. If the Chiefs are ever going to loosen up opposing defenses downfield, they need to prove they can run the ball. They have only topped 100 yards as a team twice in the past eight games.

WHAT NEEDS WORK

Turnovers and penalties. The ability of wide receivers to get open. Basically, the same things Kansas City has struggled with going back to a season-opening loss to Detroit. Mahomes is on pace to throw 14 interceptions, the most of his career, while his QB rating is tracking to be the worst of his six years as a starter.

STOCK UP

LB Jack Cochrane, a former undrafted free agent from FCS school South Dakota, was thrown into the spotlight when Tranquill — already the backup at their position — was placed in the concussion protocol. Cochrane responded with seven tackles, including two for a loss, and did an admirable job keeping the defense properly lined up.

STOCK DOWN

The Chiefs hoped WR Skyy Moore would take a step forward in Year 2 after coming on strong down the stretch of his rookie season. Instead, Moore had one catch for 5 yards Sunday night, ran the route on which Mahomes was picked, and has offered very little help on offense or special teams all season.

INJURIES

The injuries to Tranquill and Cook could keep them out for a while, but the Chiefs think Bolton could return this week, and that would at least help one of their positions. Bolton (wrist surgery) practiced last week, but remained on injured reserve.

KEY NUMBERS

0 — The number of misses K Harrison Butker has this season. The only kickers with perfect regular seasons on PATs and field goals are Gary Anderson in 1998 and Mike Vanderjagt in 2003. Butker has made 23 consecutive field goals, tying his own club record set in 2017, and his 13 games without a missed field goal is tied for the Chiefs record.

NEXT STEPS

The Chiefs may be struggling but they are far from desperate. That might better describe the Bills, who visit Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday coming off a bye. They are 6-6 and outside the playoffs with five games left in the regular season.

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AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/NFL