KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Mike McCarthy never put a whole lot of stock in a perfect season, except as a means of gaining home-field advantage and setting the Green Bay Packers up for another Super Bowl run.
Well, they still have a chance to earn home-field advantage.
Kyle Orton threw for 299 yards to outduel Aaron Rodgers, and the Kansas City Chiefs rallied behind interim coach Romeo Crennel for a shocking 19-14 victory yesterday that ended the Packers’ 19-game winning streak. It was their first loss since Dec. 19, 2010, at New England.
“I personally always viewed the undefeated season as, really, just gravy,’’ McCarthy said. “The goal was to get home-field advantage and win the Super Bowl.’’
Green Bay, playing without leading receiver Greg Jennings and top rusher James Starks because of injuries, can wrap up the No. 1 seed in their final two games against Chicago and Detroit. But the Packers no longer have the pressure of becoming the second team in NFL history to win a Super Bowl with a perfect record, or extending the second-longest winning streak in league history.
“I think our goal ultimate goal is to win a Super Bowl. The next step is getting that No. 1 seed in the playoffs,’’ Rodgers said.
Rodgers was 17 of 35 for 235 yards and a touchdown, and he also scampered 8 yards for another touchdown with 2:12 left in the game. But the Packers (13-1) were unable to recover the onside kick, and Kansas City picked up a couple of first downs to secure the victory.
Ryan Succop kicked four field goals for Kansas City (6-8), which had lost five of its previous six games and fired coach Todd Haley last Monday. Jackie Battle added a short touchdown plunge with 4:53 to play, points that came in handy when Rodgers led one last scoring drive.
“Everybody had marked it off as a win for the Packers, but those guys in the locker room, they’re football players,’’ Crennel said. “They decided they were not going to lay down, they were not going to give up, so they went out and played a tremendous game.’’
The Chiefs were clinging to a 6-0 lead when Rodgers finally hit downfield, finding Jermichael Finley for a 41-yard gain. Three plays later, the Packers’ star quarterback hit Donald Driver in the corner of the end zone for a 7-6 lead with 8:04 left in the third.
Green Bay came into the game averaging nearly 36 points, but was held to its lowest total since beating the Bears, 10-3, in Week 17 last year.
“If you’re better on that given Sunday, you’ll get the win,’’ said Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson.