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Harrell has big night, Packers beat Chiefs 24-3

Published On: Aug 31 2012 08:35:03 AM CDT
Updated On: Aug 31 2012 08:23:41 AM CDT
Green Bay Packers

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -

In their final tuneup for the regular season, the Kansas City Chiefs showed they could stop Aaron Rodgers.

They just couldn't duplicate the feat against Green Bay Packers backup Graham Harrell.

The Chiefs kept Rodgers and the Packers out of the end zone in the first quarter, then gave up three straight scoring drives after Harrell took over and the Packers won 24-3 Thursday night.

"We got (Rodgers) off the field before he could go down and score," Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel said. "And then we held our own the second time we were out there. So that's a decent judge of the capabilities of the defense."

Packers coach Mike McCarthy wanted to see more out of his No. 1 offense, even if they weren't in the game very long.

"Obviously, I wasn't very pleased with the way the game started," McCarthy said. "I thought they were moving a little quicker than we were."

But McCarthy was pleased with the performance of Harrell, who completed 13 of 15 passes for 223 yards with two touchdowns for the Packers (2-2).

Harrell's play has been scrutinized by fans and the media all preseason, and McCarthy said handling that was part of his maturation process.

"We talk about it all the time: It's nice when people say nice things about you and it's not so nice when they don't," McCarthy said. "And it's one extreme to the other, particularly at that position. That's part of the deal. I think he handled it very well."

But with the final round of roster decisions looming Friday, McCarthy stopped short of making a definitive declaration when asked if he was comfortable going into the season with Harrell as the backup.

"I think he definitely grew through the preseason, topped it off with an excellent performance tonight," McCarthy said. "But we're not going to make any roster selections here tonight."

Rookie running back Nate Eachus had 21 carries for 99 yards and the Chiefs (1-3) rushed for 247 yards.

Peyton Hillis had 46 yards on six carries, and said the offensive line showed improvement from last week.

"It was a great job up front," Hillis said. "That's where we found the holes. I think as far as coming out and trying to work the running game and try to get that accomplished, I believe we did that."

The two teams had a combined total of 22 penalties, but it seemed an indication of sloppy play rather than mistakes by the replacement officiating crew.

Chiefs starting quarterback Matt Cassel came out of the game a few plays into their second possession. Brady Quinn was 6 of 12 for 83 yards with an interception, while Ricky Stanzi and Alex Tanney struggled to move the ball.

Crennel said Quinn was "decent," with room for improvement.

"He's my second quarterback, so I'm going to ask him to step up like I would ask anyone else to step up," Crennel said.

The Chiefs put together several long drives in the first half, but had only a 26-yard field goal by Ryan Succop to show for it.

Rodgers played the first two series, but both possessions ended with punts.

"We wanted to come out while we were in the game and establish ourselves, especially since we've had a rough few weeks," Chiefs defensive lineman Glenn Dorsey said. "We wanted to come out and just lock it down, to tell you the truth."

Harrell took over early in the second quarter and seemed to gain confidence after Jermichael Finley made an acrobatic catch for a 27-yard gain.

Harrell found Tori Gurley wide open for a 54-yard gain on the next play and Green ran in for a 2-yard touchdown two plays later for a 7-3 lead.

Gurley said he wanted to do whatever he could to help Harrell's cause - not to mention his own.

"He works extremely hard," Gurley said. "I can count many days where me and Graham were the only ones here throwing balls at the facility."

Gurley is one of several Packers receivers wondering what will happen Friday.

"I'm going to go home and go to sleep," Gurley said. "Tomorrow, I'm probably going to go fishing. If you guys want to join me, we can sit out there on a lake and have us a few Gatorades and enjoy life."

Harrell had two more drives, throwing a pass to Green for a 17-yard touchdown before halftime, then finding Jarrett Boykin for a 12-yard touchdown.

Harrell, a former standout at Texas Tech, came into camp as the Packers' main backup after Matt Flynn signed a free agent deal with Seattle.

Harrell struggled coming into Thursday, playing with a second-string offense that has struggled to protect him.

"He showed me if you can keep him upright he can throw the ball," Finley said. "The Graham that I know, he can sling it. I think he got some great opportunities tonight to show what he can do, and he did that."

Added Finley, "Hopefully, he's around here in the next 48 hours."

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