Last season the Broncos defense gave up plenty of yards at big times in games. With that said, Sunday’s loss to the Packers felt a lot like 2010 again.
The Broncos gave up career highs for Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, as he threw for a career-high 408 yards and four scores and added two touchdowns on the ground in the Packers 49-23 win over the Broncos.
Greg Jennings caught seven balls for 103 yards and a score, while Jordy Nelson added 91 yards receiving and a touchdown on five catches for the Packers, who are right in step after winning Super Bowl XLV at 4-0.
James Starks ran for 63 yards on 13 carries in the victory.
“I thought our tempo offensively was a little bit slow today,” Rodgers said. “We had some good openings, and we got things going but I thought our tempo was a little bit slower than maybe we’d like, kind of in-and-out of the huddle. The big turning point of the game was obviously the end of the second quarter and into the third quarter where we scored in the two-minute drive, got the ball and sustained about a six and a half minute drive I think and scored.”
Kyle Orton went 22-of-32 for 273 yards and three touchdowns for the Broncos (1-3), but threw three interceptions.
Brandon Lloyd led all receivers with 136 yards on eight catches, while Eric Decker added two touchdowns and 56 yards on five grabs.
Willis McGahee gained 103 yards on the ground on 15 rushes.
“I thought our offense was pretty impressive other than the turnovers,” Broncos coach John Fox said. “It just wasn’t our quarterback, it was all of us. When you play a team like the Green Bay Packers and you give up an onside kick and have the takeaways, you are not going to fare very well, and we didn’t. We haven’t played a team like this to date, and they are pretty special.”
The Broncos marched 78 yards on 12 plays on their second possession, and Matt Prater booted a 27-yard field goal to give Denver a 3-0 lead. Lloyd caught four balls for 35 yards, while McGahee added a 28-yard run on the drive.
The Packers responded by scoring 21 straight points.
Rodgers connected with Nelson on a deep pass down the middle for a 50-yard score, while Charles Woodson returned an interception 30 yards for a touchdown to make it 14-3.
Green Bay then recovered the onsides kickoff. Rodgers scampered for an 11-yard score early in the second quarter to conclude a seven-play, 53-yard drive to make it 21-3.
Orton found Lloyd twice more for 62 yards on Denver’s ensuing possession, before Decker found the end zone for a five-yard score to cap off a four-play 69-yard march.
Later on in the quarter, Decker pulled down his second touchdown, this time a 33-yard catch to make it 21-17.
The Packers answered and went 80 yards in 2:57 to put another touchdown on the board with 24 seconds left until halftime. Rodgers found Jennings on a short slant for a 17-yard score. The Green Bay signal caller threw for 227 yards and two scores on 16-of-21 passing in the first half.
Rodgers continued to pick apart the Broncos defense to start the third as he led the Packers 80 yards in 12 plays for another touchdown. He finished off the possession with an eight-yard touchdown run.
The Broncos were driving deep in Packers territory on their ensuing possession, but Daniel Fells put the ball on the ground after a 22-yard reception. Desmond Bishop stripped him from behind, and Morgan Burnett recovered the loose ball at the four. Rodgers made the Broncos pay as he hooked up with James Jones on a 16-yard score to make it 42-17.
Rodgers threw his fourth touchdown pass in the fourth to make it 49-17, this time connecting with Donald Driver from eight yards out.
Orton found Fells for a seven-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter to conclude the scoring. The Broncos were unable to convert the two-point conversion.