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Packers vs. Broncos: Final Grades

Charles Woodson

Summary: Quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw for 408 yards and scored six touchdowns (two rushing), leading the Green Bay Packers to a runaway 49-23 victory. The Packers remain undefeated at 4-0 keeping pace with the Detroit Lions in the NFC North.

Game Balls: Rodgers (408 yards and 6 TDs); receiver Greg Jennings (7 catches, 103 yards, 1 TD); receiver Jordy Nelson (91 yards, 1 TD); linebacker Desmond Bishop (10 tackles, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble)

Injury Report: None

Passing Offense: A
Rodgers had a stellar game, completing 29-of-38 passes for 408 yards and scored a total of six touchdowns. He did throw one interception, but had a 134.5 passer rating. The Broncos doubled tight end Jermichael Finley (3 catches, 28 yards), creating open seams for the Packers wideouts to take over the game. The wide receivers accounted for 20 catches, 308 yards and four touchdowns: Jennings had seven catches for 103 yards and one touchdown; Nelson had 91 yards and one touchdown; James Jones had 48 yards and one touchdown; Donald Driver had 20 yards and one touchdown; and Randall Cobb had 75 yards. While the offensive line had a solid game in pass protection overall, right tackle Marshall Newhouse allowed two sacks by speedy Broncos linebacker Von Miller.

Rushing Offense: B
The rushing game was there when the Packers needed it, racking up 111 yards and averaging 4.0 yards per carry. Running back James Starks bounced back after a disappointing showing in Chicago with 13 carries for a respectable 63 yards. He added five catches for 38 yards. Rodgers did most of the rest, with nine runs for 36 yards and two touchdowns. Eight of Rodgers nine runs were on passing plays.

Passing Defense: C
Although the defense had four turnovers, they struggled in coverage and generated very little pass rush. While the Packers held quarterback Kyle Orton to 273 passing yards, he threw for three touchdowns against a soft pass rush. Broncos wide receiver Brandon Lloyd had eight catches for 136 yards. The biggest lapses came from Tramon Williams, Sam Shields, and Morgan Burnett.  Burnett allowed two big plays, including the 33-yard touchdown pass to Eric Decker. He also bit on the Broncos’ flea flicker that netted 44 yards. Desmond Bishop got the Packers’ lone sack. Charles Woodson had a big 30-yard interception return for a touchdown. Although he still needs to improve his tackling, Shields had a beautiful 60-yard interception return.

Rushing Defense: C
Granted, they were playing the pass most of the game, but the Packers rushing defense struggled after three outstanding outings. The Broncos got 119 yards on the ground and averaged 5.2 yards per carry. If they would have run the ball more, the score might have been closer. Running back Willis McGahee had 15 carries for 103 yards, a big 6.9 yards per carry average.

Special Teams: B
Kicker Mason Crosby’s successful onside kick in the first quarter was perfectly executed. Jordy Nelson recovered it with ease against the unsuspecting Broncos. The Packers special teams held the Broncos to a 29.2 yards kickoff return. Returner Randall Cobb averaged 29.5 yards on kickoffs and an anemic 3.5 yards on punt returns. Overall, no major gaffes and one spectacular play.

Coaching: B+
The Packers aggressive offensive game plan attacked the overmatched and undermanned Broncos defense. The result was five touchdowns in six red zone trips. The team is fortunate to get big plays on defense. Four turnovers countered the big chunks of yardage Dom Capers’ unit gave up. Unfortunately, the run defense regressed and the pass defense continued to struggle with almost no pass rush.



  1. Gubby66 October 4, 2011

    Your ratings of the pass defense is rediculus. They performed at a D level.
    The run defense did little better in allowing a 100+ yard rusher.
    We need D help fast.

  2. Randomacity October 4, 2011

    We better not have the defense of the 09 season, when the packers went 4-12.

    1. TyKo Steamboat October 4, 2011

      in ’09 we were 6-10

      1. factzone October 4, 2011

        11-6 (playoffs)

  3. iltarion October 4, 2011

    D help. You people are hilarious. This is our defense. For better or worse.

    Look at it this way once. Our pass rush could hardly get any worse; Mike Neal, Frank Zombo, and Vic So’oto haven’t seen the field yet, and we are 4-0.

    Sounds promising to me.

  4. Andy October 4, 2011

    ’09 was 11-5, ’08 was 6-10

  5. ay hombre October 4, 2011

    Our D was mediocre at best for the early part of last season as well. I seem to recall a Shaun Hill-led Lions moving the ball at will and almost beating us at Lambeau. We got better as the season went on and there’s no reason to suspect we won’t this year.

    Don’t forget Tramon was playing off coverage on Sunday because he’s not quite healthy enough to bump effectively, so he gave up some easy ones.

    I agree we could use some more pass rush, but with our offense our defense should be all about good red zone play. If we can force teams to take a couple field goals while we cash in with TD’s…we’ll be tough to beat.

  6. Randy R October 4, 2011

    iltarian…Dont act like its a guarentee, with Neal, Zombo, and So”to…that their answers for pass rush…Neal cant get on the Field..Even Harrell played 13 games in his 1st 2 seasons, and he was a injury bust……Zombo’s another back -up….So’to has no Nfl experience…..saying the D is what it is, for better or worse, is accepting failure. because were 4-0 all is cake and ice cream? I’d like to see So’to play too…MM says he’s not ready. What happens if Clifton or Stitton got hurt?…Rodgers would get killed…Sherrod your thinking?…gimmie a break, thats who would get him killed…lol………The defense is ranked 28th iltarian…but because were 4-0, that sounds promising to you? What sounds good to me is having our 5th ranked defense of last year, and a little pass rush. TT knows he fucked up with C Jenkins, and rolled the dice with Mike (i’ll never be healthy enough to play) Neal. That was a suckers bet.

  7. CaLIPACKFAN October 5, 2011

    We will get better in D as the season plays out i’m not worried at all.

  8. nurseratchett October 5, 2011

    The pass defense continues to be my biggest concern, but I agree we are improving & hoping for even more improvement quickly. Big test this week in Atlanta, although the Falcons aren’t playing so hot this season, they are still a tough team to beat at home. We’ve done it before, however, & know we can do it again.

    As far as Detroit goes, I’m not looking forward to meeting them on Thanksgiving this year. Can our O-line stop Su?

  9. travis October 5, 2011

    Detroit is gonna have some issues to deal with too. Our defense may not be up to par yet but our offense looks unstoppable to this point, and both sides are only gonna improve.

  10. Packerfan2008 October 5, 2011

    Capers will figure out the puzzle. He is a great defensive cordinator, possibly one of the best of all time. In him I will trust.