The defense was bad. The offense was worse. The Green Bay Packers simply could not find their groove in Colorado as the Denver Broncos handed them their first loss of the season with a 29-10 thrashing.
In a battle of undefeated teams, Denver outmatched a Packers’ team that failed to establish a rhythm on offense or stop the Broncos’ attack on defense. At the end of the day, Denver had racked up 500 yards to just 140 from Green Bay.
The teams exchanged punts to begin the game before Denver started to move down the field with relative ease. Peyton Manning took the Broncos down the field on its next two drives, with each drive capped off by Ronnie Hillman rushing touchdowns. The Packers quickly found themselves down 17-0 after the Broncos added a field goal, but cut into the lead late in the second quarter after Eddie Lacy found the end zone for the first time since Week 1.
The Packers narrowed the deficit to just seven after a Mason Crosby 56-yard field goal on the first possession of the second half, but Denver responded with yet another rushing touchdown, this time by C.J. Anderson, to bring the score to 24-10.
After yet another punt, Green Bay went down by three scores following a Broncos’ field goal. The icing on the cake for the Packers’ lackluster performance came on the ensuing drive. Demarcus Ware came off the edge to sack Rodgers and force a fumble, which resulted in a Green Bay safety and the final points in the 29-10 game.
Rodgers finished with just 77 yards passing, the lowest mark of his career in which he threw at least twenty passes. Meanwhile, Manning defied his critics by throwing for 340 yards against a Packers’ secondary that lost Sam Shields and Quinten Rollins early in the game.
The battle of the ground game did not fare much better for the Packers. Lacy led Green Bay with 38 yards and the Packers’ only touchdown, as the team managed just 90 total yards on the ground. On the other side of the field, Anderson rushed for 101 yards and a touchdown while Hillman added 60 yards and two scores of his own.
Demaryius Thomas led the Broncos’ aerial assault, accounting for 168 yards on just eight receptions. For Green Bay, Randall Cobb’s paltry 27 yards led the team.
The Packers simply could not muster any pressure on Manning, giving him ample time to find open receivers. Manning and the Denver receivers exploited the middle of the field throughout the night, and the Packers simply did not find an answer.
While Green Bay failed to really pressure Manning, Rodgers found himself under duress for most of the game. He was sacked just three times, but that number could have been much higher if not for Rodgers’ elusiveness in the pocket. The Packers struggled to move the ball all night, and both their scores came on drives that were extended by third down penalties called against the Broncos.
The Packers looked bad on both sides of the ball, and the team will have to simply move on after the embarrassing loss. The Broncos have the league’s best defense for a reason, and Green Bay still has a very optimistic season ahead of them. The loss dropped the Packers to 6-1, but Green Bay remains in first place in the NFC North with a one game lead over the Minnesota Vikings.
The Packers will have to regroup before traveling to Charlotte to face the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers currently occupy the NFC’s top seed, and Carolina is the lone undefeated team remaining in the conference following Green Bay’s loss. Despite their brutal trip to Denver, a win next week would put the Packers back in the driver’s seat for the number one seed in the NFC.——————
Sean Blashe is a Packers fan who grew up in Bears territory and is currently a journalism and history major at Marquette University. Sean is a writer with PackersTalk.com and you can follow him on twitter at @SeanBlashe .