GREEN BAY, Wis. — Aaron Rodgers dissected another defense on a national stage, building a big enough cushion for the Green Bay Packers to overcome a late rush by Jamaal Charles and the Kansas City Chiefs.
Rodgers threw for 333 yards and five touchdowns, including three to Randall Cobb, and Green Bay beat Kansas City 38-28 on Monday night.
Rodgers led the Packers (3-0) on two successful first-quarter drives that ended with scoring passes to Cobb and rookie Ty Montgomery. He found James Jones for a 27-yard touchdown reception late in the second quarter for a 17-point lead at the break.
Charles rushed for three touchdowns for Kansas City (1-2), which followed its stunning, last-minute loss at home to Denver with a respectable fourth-quarter effort at raucous Lambeau Field.
Charles’ 7-yard TD with 1:25 left got the Chiefs within 10. But the end result was the same for Kansas City, which lost its second straight.
Rodgers was 24 of 35 in another masterful performance for the MVP quarterback.
The Packers controlled the line of scrimmage when it counted and got to Alex Smith for seven sacks.
Smith finished 24 of 40 for 290 yards and a touchdown.
Under pressure near his own end zone, Smith also threw an interception to Sam Shields at the Chiefs 19 with about 7 minutes left in the third quarter. Shields returned it 15 yards, and on the next play, Rodgers found Cobb for a 4-yard touchdown and a 31-7 lead.
Rodgers and Cobb hooked up for another 4-yard scoring pass in the fourth. With the score, Rodgers set the franchise record with his fourth career game of at least five touchdown passes.
Kansas City stopped its long streak of no touchdown receptions by a receiver when Jeremy Maclin hauled in a 5-yard TD pass with 56 seconds left in the third quarter to get the Chiefs within 31-14.
It was the first touchdown pass caught by a receiver since Donnie Avery had a 79-yard catch-and-run against the Indianapolis Colts in a wild card game on Jan. 4, 2014.
A week after fumbling twice, Charles had a little fun with his own Lambeau Leap into the awaiting arms of Chiefs fans following his 4-yard TD run in the fourth quarter.
Otherwise, the Packers prevented Charles from making explosive plays, limiting him to 49 yards on 11 carries.
For Green Bay, Jones finished with seven catches for 139 yards and a score. He had a 52-yard catch in the fourth quarter off a free-play situation following a defensive penalty that set up Cobb’s third touchdown catch.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP_NFL
Follow Genaro Armas at http://twitter.com/GArmasAP