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Maybe Chiefs' too little, too late passing game could cost them the season

Jeremy Maclin got into the end zone en route to 141 receiving yards, but most of those came after the Packers had built a big lead. Joe Robbins/Getty Images

GREEN BAY, Wis. – The final passing stats make the Kansas City Chiefs look OK, but there’s danger in believing them. You know the saying about lies, damn lies and statistics. So fall for them at your own risk.

The Chiefs themselves? They know better. They got their long-awaited touchdown from a wide receiver and a big night from Jeremy Maclin, who had eight catches, 141 yards and that elusive touchdown Monday night.

But these things were far too little and far too late to prevent a 38-28 loss to the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field, and the Chiefs can only hope that’s not a metaphor for their season as well.

The Chiefs are 1-2 and already two games behind the Denver Broncos in the AFC West. Their assignment gets no easier on Sunday, when they play the 3-0 Bengals in Cincinnati.

The Chiefs were aware they would give up some plays to quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, which happened. But they also thought they would be able to answer big play for big play and that’s where they were surprised.

They went three plays and out on four of their first five possessions as Green Bay eventually built a 31-7 lead. From then on, the Chiefs were in desperation mode.

Maclin didn’t get his first catch until late in the third quarter. His touchdown came in the final minute of the third.

The Packers brought pressure the Chiefs couldn’t handle, at least initially. They blitzed relentlessly and quarterback Alex Smith was sacked seven times.

“Some of that was probably unanticipated, to that extent," Smith said. “They were bringing it and kept bringing it. Obviously, we couldn’t make a play against it."

By the time the Chiefs adjusted, it was too late. The situation made it look like the Chiefs, who hadn’t played for 10 days, were sluggish. That’s a notion with which running back Jamaal Charles agreed.

“They came out, looked like they outplayed us, outcoached us," Charles said. “We feel like they came out with a lot of energy. We didn’t feel like we came out with a lot of energy. They were coached very well. We didn’t expect them to come out blitzing that early.

“It just wasn’t there. I could see it wasn’t there. We would never go out there like that again. We’re going to come out very energized and very ready to play."

Charles tried to do his part. He scored three touchdowns, did the Discount Doublecheck to mock Rodgers after one and the Lambeau Leap to mock the Packers’ post-TD tradition after another.

That’s all well and good. The Chiefs will need more big games from Charles as they move along.

But big games from Charles alone haven’t been good enough to carry the Chiefs to many victories. They’ll need more from their passing game, far more than they got in the early stages Monday night.

If they don’t get that, they might be looking at more pretty stat sheets, and more defeats.