Peyton thrives as Broncos defense stuffs Packers

Print
  • By Jeremy Bergman NFL.com
More Columns >

Thanks to a throwback performance from Peyton Manning and an all-time dominant showing from the Denver defense, the Broncos remained undefeated Sunday night and sent the Packers home with their first loss of the season, 29-10.

1. Welcome back, old Peyton Manning. We missed you. After weeks of criticism from numerous media outlets, including this one, the Broncos gunslinger had his best game of the season -- by far. Manning finished with 340 yards, a 72.4 completion percentage and just one interception. He wasn't afraid to go deep and found Demaryius Thomas (8 rec for 168 yards) time and time again in space between a hampered Packers secondary. Manning also added a new wrinkle to his game, tossing six passes to his tight ends -- Owen Daniels and Virgil Green -- for 105 yards. For reference, Denver tight ends had caught 17 balls for just 123 yards in the team's first six games. Here's a scary thought for your Halloween hangover: a undefeated Peyton-led offense is still improving. Boo!

2. In case you didn't already know, the Broncos' stifling of Rodgers and company proved it: this Denver defense is legit, and potentially legendary. The Broncos secondary locked down the Packers' receivers to the tune of 37 yards, and a long reception of 17 yards. In total, Denver held the Packers to 140 total yards, by far their lowest total this season and their lowest since Week 13 of 2013 (126), when Matt Flynn was quarterback. They sacked Rodgers three times and forced an embarrassing safety in the fourth quarter. Against what was previously perceived as one of the best offenses in the league, the Broncos were beyond dominant, as they have been week in and week out.

3. This Aaron Rodgers-led Packers offense just ain't what it used to be. The quarterback struggled mightily through the air all night, finishing with just 77 yards passing, and the two-headed ground game -- Eddie Lacy and James Starks -- was ineffectual, per usual (47 yards on 16 carries). On the Packers' two-scoring drives, Rodgers completed just four passes, all the while being harassed by the Denver front in an ever-collapsing pocket. Other quarterbacks would have faltered and committed stupid turnovers, so to Rodgers' credit, his pocket presence kept the Packers in the game for longer than they should have been. Still, when Rodgers is throwing half of his passes off his back leg and overthrowing open receivers, then something is wrong.

4. On a night where the Broncos honored owner Pat Bowlen and their greatest runner, Terrell Davis, was present, it was only fitting that Sunday night would be Denver's breakout game on the ground. C.J. Anderson and Ronnie Hillman both got off the schneid at the right time, running for a combined 161 yards and three touchdowns, one more than their previous season total (2). Even crazier, Sunday marked just the seventh time in 10 years that Denver scored at least three rushing touchdowns. With Manning struggling in past weeks like we've never seen him struggle before, the Broncos desperately needed help on the ground -- Denver ranked 31st in rushing entering the game. The Broncos found it Sunday night; the question is can they maintain it?

5. With the win over Green Bay, Peyton fittingly tied Packers legend Brett Favre for most wins by a quarterback in NFL history (186). Manning will have a chance to set the record against his former team, the Indianapolis Colts, next week. Funny how the world works.

Print