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Packers vs. Broncos: First Impressions

Aaron Rodgers

1. After two quarters, the rout finally took shape. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers had a big day, made precision throws for 408 yards and six touchdowns (four passing and two rushing). He spread the ball around to his receivers turning an early back-and-forth 28-17 half-time lead into a second-half runaway and 49-23 Packers victory. The Green Bay Packers remain undefeated at 4-0, keeping pace with the undefeated Detroit Lions.

2. The Packers offense was unstoppable, finishing with 26 first downs, 507 net yards, and scored five touchdowns in six trips to the red zone. The Packers receivers had a field day against the Denver Broncos secondary: Greg Jennings (103 yards and one touchdown), Jordy Nelson (91 yards and one touchdown), Randall Cobb (75 yards), James Jones (48 yards and one touchdown), and Donald Driver (20 yards and one touchdown).

3. The aggressive offensive game plan remained fairly balanced. The rushing game totaled 111 yards, averaging 4.0 yards per carry. Running back James Starks had 13 carries for a respectable 63 yards. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers had nine carries (eight scrambles) for 36 yards and two touchdowns.

4. Right tackle Marshall Newhouse struggled against speedy outside linebacker Von Miller, giving up two sacks. Yet, he played a decent game overall, subbing for Bryan Bulaga.

5. In the first half, the defense looked average, giving up 17 points, but the second half saw a stronger overall performance. In the first half, cornerback Charles Woodson had a big 30-yard interception return for a touchdown. In the second half, cornerback Sam Shields had a great 60-yard return on an interception. He still needs to improve his tackling, however.

6. Although the defense had three interceptions, they struggled against the run, tackling, and putting pressure on Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton. The Packers allowed 384 yards and a whopping 6.9 yards per play. The inconsistent pass rush was apparent, with linebacker Desmond Bishop getting the lone sack. Neither outside linebacker applied a consistent pass rush. The Packers may want to consider playing outside linebacker Vic So’oto on passing downs.

7. Late in the first quarter, kicker Mason Crosby’s onside kick was a perfectly executed, with wide receiver Jordy Nelson recovering it easily against a sleeping Denver Broncos special teams unit.

8. While the Packers held quarterback Kyle Orton to 273 passing yards, he still threw three touchdowns. Safety Morgan Burnett had a tough game, giving up a 33-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Eric Decker and biting on the flea flicker that netted 44 yards to Brandon Lloyd.

9. The Packers rushing defense had a bad day, allowing the Broncos to run for 119 yards and 5.2 yards per carry. Willis McGahee had 13 carries for 103 yards.



  1. Ryan October 3, 2011

    I still thought the defense looked better than it had in previous outings. The two biggest concerns were remain the pass defense and the pass rush. I thought the pass defense looked a little better yesterday. We definitely miss Nick Collins though.

    The pass rush continues to be soft, at best. Matthews is getting double and sometimes triple teamed. While this should (and does) effectively stop Matthews it ought to also open up opportunities for others. Orton had the ball for WAY too long in the pocket.

    Also, even not including the onside kick, the special teams looked a lot better yesterday.

  2. adam October 3, 2011

    I can’t help but think that the Pack haven’t shown the full range of blitz packages yet. We might see more vs. Atlanta, but you’ve got to think Capers is going to keep his powder dry until the playoffs.

    If Rodgers continues to run aggressively, eventually he’s going to get hurt. I think McCarthy should put a bit of a collar on him.

    I’d also like to see what So’oto’s got. The problem is that with Collins hurt, there’s more pressure on linebacker coverage skills. We don’t know how much of a liability So’oto might be in coverage.

    I like Peprah’s effort, but he’s never going to be more than just passable. I would have liked to see the Packers run MD Jennings out there for a quarter against Denver, see what he’s got.

    1. Harry Hood October 4, 2011

      I wouldn’t be too worried about Rodgers, he slid like every time. Plus he needed a big running game, it’ll make future teams be aware of this, make a LB watch him at all times. They won’t be dropping 8 into coverage, they’ll have to respect the run even more.

  3. iltarion October 3, 2011

    The Packers won a Super Bowl with Peprah. He is a young guy, which means he could still improve yet as well.

    Burnett made a rookie mistake on the flee-flicker. The TD to Decker was a nice adjustment by the WR and nearly impossible to stop.

    Hopefully the poor run defense was just an aberration. The Packers had been stuffing it all year. We will take our chances if teams want to try to beat us by passing the ball all game.

    The Packers beat any NFL team by at least 2 scores when Rodgers plays like that. He was unstoppable, and like Brett was for a couple seasons, A-Rodge is the best player in the NFL right now.

  4. adam October 3, 2011

    I agree that Rodgers is the best player in the NFL. Not even close., which is why I hate to see him running up the middle and not sliding.

    I like Peprah, but the absence of Collins creates certain problems for the linebackers which didn’t exist before. I think you’re seeing those effects show up in the run defense stats. I don’t have a solution, but turns out the defense is going to miss Collins big time. I would go so far as to say they can’t beat New England without him.

  5. iltarion October 3, 2011

    Packers stuffed the Bears’ running game without Collins. Athletically, Burnett brings all the same things Collins did.

    The Packers would beat the Patriots by 2 scores.

  6. Vijay October 3, 2011

    Who cares when your offense is unstoppable…well, ask the Patriots about that one…

  7. DoubleDave October 3, 2011

    Adam, the Pack still has the second best run defense in the league. Also, So’oto did have a nice pick six in the pre-season. Why not give him a chance and see what he’s got, esp. if we’re complaining about the need for more pass rush.
    The Patriots wouldn’t stand a chance against what the Packers brought yesterday… please.

  8. Randy R October 3, 2011

    iltarion…the Bears game is over, this is about the Denver game. The O line is still weak, and i dont see it improving..The line gives Rodgers about 2 seconds, thats why he has to run, orton gets 4 or 5 seconds because we cant win the battle up front, on either side of the ball. Thats why A Rodgers is the leagues TRUE MVP. He makes everything happen, in spite of the lines. Imagine if we didnt have Rodgers?….4-12, maybe. The defense (ranked 28th) is still horrible, partly because of the non existant pass rush. Special teams was horrible in return coverage, say what you want…I live in the real world. Run defense was weak. On the other side, 3 picks, 1 for a pick 6. Nice runs by Starks, good rebound last week. Lets face it…..Thank Rodgers and the receivers, because without those guys, this team would suck. If our line gave Rodgers, 4-5 seconds like Brady’s line gives him, Rodgers would break every passing record in the NFL.

    1. Harry Hood October 4, 2011

      Negative Nancy!

    2. iltarion October 4, 2011

      Rodgers IS the MVP. No argument there.

      The run defense is ranked 2nd in the league.

      Their 28th overall ranking is partially a result of every team we’ve played so far this year being behind in the 2nd half. All 4 QBs collected yards in basically junk time.

      Pass rush is poor. No doubt. Matthews isn’t getting home. Walden is a non-factor, and Raji hasn’t come close to replacing Jenkins as a pass rusher. On the other hand, the Bears max protected for much of the game and the Broncos also did a fair amount of that.

      The O line has played well to this point. Yeah, Newhouse struggled a little against Von Miller, but there is a reason NEWHO– — USE IS A BACKUP. Miller was still prevented from taking over the game. The Broncos have a good run defense and two excellent pass rushers. Sometimes you have give the other guys some credit. You know, in the real world.

      The Packers rank 15th in rushing. They ranked 8th in sacks given up and 2nd in QB hits given up.

      Those numbers about speak for themselves. Especially impressive when you consider every team the Packers play are desperate to get to the QB. Keep in mind that some of those sacks are because A-Rodge tries to run his way out of trouble instead of throwing the ball away.

      “Without… Rodgers and the WRs… this team would suck.” That is pure brilliance, man. Without the best QB in the league and the best WR core in the league we wouldn’t be as good. I’m glad you are around to tell us these things. Take the starting QB and WRs away from any team and you’d get suckage.

  9. adam October 4, 2011

    Back to So’oto. If he were to play as he did against the Chiefs, that would change the whole dynamic of the Packers pass rush. I think the return of Neal will help, as well. However, I do not believe Capers is not going to show the rest of the league what he’s got just yet. Last year, every regular season game as crucial, and so Capers had to unleash the dogs. This year, he’s got the luxury of playing for January.

  10. Randy R October 4, 2011

    iltarian…You say….

    The O line has played well to this point. …But you didnt mention time to pass for Rodgers, or isnt that the O lines responsibilty?
    …..The O line has no depth….Newhouse is a back up you say…Thanks for enlightening us with the obvious!!!…Great job..My 8 year old knows that….iltarian?…Do you watch the games?…or the O line…ever time out how many seconds untill Rodgers HAS to unload, or run away from trouble?…Rodgers throws the ball away enough. When you have potentially the best QB in the league (ever)…You protect him and give him time…2 seconds isnt time.