Good Morning, Broncos fans! After keeping it close (and even winning one) against three sloppy teams who handed them 11 first downs along the way, reality hit hard yesterday as Denver lost in Green Bay 49-23 to the flawless Packers (box score). While the Broncos made it momentarily close in the second quarter with two Kyle Orton-to-Eric Decker touchdowns bringing them within four points of the defending champs, it was a men-versus-boys type of affair as Aaron Rodgers accounted for a whopping six TDs - four through the air and two via the ground. Green Bay's other TD came on an early pick-six of Orton by Charles Woodson which put the Pack up 14-3.
There were a few positives, as Von Miller was again a terror (two sacks, three QB hits, two TFL), Willis McGahee topped 100 yards on just 15 carries, Mike McCoy opened up the playbook a bit, Orton had three TD passes, and Brandon Lloyd broke free for 136 yards on eight receptions after his "selfish complaining" from last week (hilarious). But in addition to his fatal misthrow to Woodson, Orton also came up woefully short on a would-be 40-yard TD pass to an open Lloyd early in the fourth quarter, and instead CB Sam Shields took it back 60 yards before Rodgers connected with Donald Driver to cap Green Bay's scoring.
Yes, the mistakes were glaring - Orton's three INTs, the return unit falling asleep at the wheel and allowing the Packers to recover an early onside kick, a Daniel Fells fumble near the goal line as the Broncos were looking to keep the game respectable. But those were not the story of the game; it was a simple matter of a giant talent gap, one magnified by the absence of Champ Bailey as it frequently appeared as if the Packers were running a walkthrough on offense. It was the SB champs and their dynamic offense hosting the team which had the second pick in the draft this year (without whom the score would have been more like 70-14). What'd you expect?
John Fox says he's sticking with Orton. Don't worry, folks, we'll see Tebow eventually. Still 12 games to go...
After the game, Green Bay announced they'd given WR Jordy Nelson a three-year extension with $5M in guarantees.
The Chargers are alone in first place at 3-1 after they beat the Dolphins 26-16, who lost QB Chad Henne to a shoulder injury. Miami HC Tony Sparano is close to losing his job, but word is that he'll keep it for at least another game.
Oakland came back to earth as the Patriots whipped them 31-19 and Wes Welker caught nine passes for 158 yards and a score.
Chicago beat the surprising Panthers 34-29 on the strength of Devin Hester's record-setting 11th punt return TD and 228 yards from scrimmage by Matt Forte.
The Bengals made good on Marvin Lewis' victory guarantee in handing the Bills their first defeat of the year 23-20 on a Mike Nugent FG at the gun.
Tennessee smacked the Browns 31-13 behind three TD passes from Matt Hasselbeck among just 10 completions.
Detroit mounted a furious comeback for the second straight week in beating the Cowboys 34-30 after trailing 20-3 at halftime and 27-3 in the third quarter, turning two third-quarter picks of Tony Romo into TDs. Meanwhile, the "peerless" Joe Buck didn't even realize the game was over when Dallas turned it over on downs with four seconds left.
San Francisco defeated the "Dream Team" Eagles 24-23 in Philly as YGS All-Star Alex Smith delivered 291 yards and two TD passes.
Washington got 135 rushing yards from old friend Ryan Torain to squeak by the punchless Rams 17-10.
The Giants came back to beat the Cardinals 31-27 as Eli Manning threw two TD passes within less than a minute late in the fourth quarter. Along the way, they were gifted one of the strangest officiating calls you'll ever see as WR Victor Cruz clearly fumbled but the officials gave the ball back to the G-Men.
Atlanta barely held on to beat the Seahawks 30-28 as old friend Steven Hauschka missed a 61-yarder at the gun; Seattle had trailed 27-7 in the third quarter. Brian Burke on 4th and 8 instead of attempting the 61-yard kick.
Baltimore's defense dominated the NJ Jets, scoring three defensive touchdowns off The Sanchize.
Insider quotes from PFW.