Backup quarterbacks struggle as Packers fall to Chiefs in preseason finale
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Packers coach Mike McCarthy allowed most of his starters to remain in Green Bay rather than travel for a game in which they wouldn’t play.
The list included quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who a day earlier signed a four-year, $134 million extension that could keep him with the team through the 2023 season.
Rodgers’ backups, DeShone Kizer and Tim Boyle, didn’t exactly earn their money Thursday night as they combined to throw three interceptions.
Rookie safety Armani Watts intercepted two passes, defensive back Makinton Dorleant returned another interception for a touchdown, and the Packers fell 33-21 to the Kansas City Chiefs as both teams rested their starters in their preseason finale.
Kizer started for Green Bay (2-2) and was 5 of 7 for 57 yards with a 31-yard touchdown throw to Geronimo Allison and a pick. Acquired in an offseason trade with the Browns, Kizer is expected to be the No. 2 behind Rodgers after this week’s trade of erstwhile backup Brett Hundley to the Seahawks.
“He had a high floater on the first series,” McCarthy said of Kizer’s second pass of the game that resulted in an interception. “I thought he did a very nice job, particularly on the extended play on the second series with the touchdown throw.
“The quarterback focus was to get DeShone two series. We definitely accomplished that and it’ll be a good tape to evaluate.”
Aaron Jones, who will begin the season serving a two-game suspension, ran for 34 yards and a touchdown as the Packers built a 21-10 lead. But the Chiefs’ third-string offense moved the ball at will, and Dorleant’s pick-6 early in the fourth quarter put an exclamation mark on their comeback. Dorleant played four games for the Packers during the 2016 season.
Boyle, who is expected to be part of the 53-man roster in advance of the Sept. 9 season opener against the Chicago Bears, finished 15 of 31 for 127 yards and two interceptions. His 1-yard TD pass to tight end Robert Tonyan gave Green Bay a 14-10 lead midway through the second quarter.
“Really, the focus was to give Tim Boyle as much work as possible and we definitely accomplished that,” McCarthy said. “It’ll be good tape to evaluate and learn from.”
Chad Henne, Matt McGloin and Chase Litton were all solid under center for Kansas City (2-2) while Patrick Mahomes watched from the sideline. Harrison Butker was perfect on four field goal attempts.
The Chiefs’ Byron Pringle, an undrafted free agent who’s had a strong preseason, caught four passes for 122 yards before leaving early in the second half with a hamstring injury.
From the infirmary
Among the Packers headed into the season with injury questions are linebacker Oren Burks and wide receiver Jake Kumerow, both of whom have shoulder injuries, and running back Devante Mays, who did not play against the Chiefs with a hamstring injury.
Kansas City was without strong safety Eric Berry, who has missed most of camp with a heel injury and whose status for the opener remains unclear.