Special teams prove critical in propelling Chiefs past Packers

Packers Chiefs Football
Posted at 10:00 PM, Nov 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-07 23:00:39-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Whether it was gunner Marcus Kemp hustling downfield to down a punt at the 2-yard line, Alex Okafor blocking a field goal try or Tommy Townsend creating a turnover with a muffed punt, the Kansas City Chiefs parlayed a dominant special-teams performance to a 13-7 win Sunday against the Green Bay Packers on GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium.

“(Special team coordinator) Dave (Toub) had a nice plan,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “Tommy Townsend, this had to be his finest game. He did a tremendous job. Field position was a key and he took care of that.”

Townsend averaged 56.8 yards on six punts, placing five inside the 20-yard line and booming a season-long 64-yarder in the second half.

“Today was just one of those career days,” Townsend said.

Late in the second quarter, Townsend boomed a punt, which Packers returner Amari Rodgers kicked with a toe as he tumbled over backward.

Kemp recovered the muff and ran into the end zone, which initially led to the play being ruled a touchback.

“That’s always an incredible feeling to see your teammates react ... and I’m definitely the type to get very fired up when there’s special teams plays like that,” Townsend said.

After a Chiefs-initiated review, the play was overturned and led to a 24-yard Harrison Butker field goal.

Kansas City's other gunner, Chris Lammons, nearly recovered another muffed punt later in the game.

Earlier in the first half, Okafor got a hand on Mason Crosby’s 37-yard field-goal try, swatting it harmlessly into the air. Crosby had already missed a 40-yard try during the first quarter.

Kansas City got the ball back with 27 seconds before halftime.

Quarterback Patrick Mahomes only completed one of four passes on the ensuing drive, but a game-high 25-yard strike to tight end Travis Kelce was enough to get Butker in position for a long field-goal try.

Butker bombed through a 55-yard kick with one second remaining in the half, pumping the Chiefs’ lead to 13-0 at halftime.

“That was such a tough kick, too,” Townsend said. “It was pretty gusty today. We had gone through different scenarios all throughout the pregame. It was going to be a tough game kicking, but he just came through and absolutely crushed the ball, too. It had to be three-fourths of the way, halfway up the uprights, so it would have been good from deep.”