KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI – It was supposed to be a prime-time showdown between the Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs, division leaders each led by two of the most talented and exciting quarterbacks in the NFL.
Aaron Rodgers and the Packers lived up to the billing.
Patrick Mahomes never got the chance.
Rodgers threw for 305 yards and three touchdowns, two of them to Aaron Jones on a big night for the Green Bay running back, and the Packers held off fill-in quarterback Matt Moore and the rest of the banged-up Chiefs for a 31-24 victory Sunday night.
“I totally trust our quarterback,” Packers coach Matt LaFleur said, “and I trust Aaron Jones as a receiver. He made some great plays all night long.”
Jones, who briefly left with a shoulder injury, had seven catches for 159 yards and added 67 on the ground — a big chunk of them in the closing minutes.
“He’s very talented,” Rodgers said, “and I think this scheme is giving him the opportunity to do a lot more out of the backfield. You know, we’re splitting him out and throwing the ball to him. We kind of caught lightning in a bottle there a couple of times. Hit him on a slant-and-go for 50 and on a screen pass for 70 or whatever. He’s a talented guy. I’m very proud of him.”
The Chiefs (5-3) hoped Mahomes could make a miraculous recovery 10 days after dislocating his kneecap in Denver in time to play. But after the league MVP was limited all week in practice, coach Andy Reid announced Friday his franchise quarterback would be inactive for the game.
Moore took the reins of the high-powered offense and fared well, throwing for 267 yards with two touchdowns and no picks in the ex-high school coach’s first start in more than two years.
Saints 31, Cardinals 9
In New Orleans, Drew Brees passed for 373 yards and three touchdowns in his first game in more than five weeks since thumb surgery, and the Saints won their sixth straight.
With few exceptions, Brees was accurate and looked composed even as his pass blocking collapsed, completing 34 of 43 passes.
Chargers 17, Bears 16
In Chicago, Bears kicker Eddy Pineiro missed a 41-yard field goal as time expired and Los Angeles hung on to pick up the victory.
Texans 27, Raiders 24
In Houston, Deshaun Watson threw for 279 yards and three touchdowns, including the go-ahead score in the fourth quarter to lift the Texans over Oakland. Houston, however, lost defensive end J.J. Watt to a season-ending pectoral injury in the second quarter.
In Other Games
Eagles 31, Bills 13
49ers 51, Panthers 13
Titans 27, Buccaneers 23
Patriots 27, Browns 13
Rams 24, Bengals 10
Colts 15, Broncos 13
Seahawks 27, Falcons 20
Jaguars 29, Jets 15
Lions 31, Giants 26
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5