Rain, mud and turnovers kept the Denver Broncos in a game-long slide Sunday. And when Rich Karlis missed a 40-yard field goal in the closing seconds of overtime, they had to settle for a 17-17 tie with the Green Bay Packers.
"Rain, miserable field position. We didn't protect the ball. It was one of those things," Denver Coach Dan Reeves said after three interceptions and three fumbles.
"We turned the ball over too many times. We made too many mistakes to win the game," he said.
Denver's Dennis Smith recovered a fumble by the Packers' Kenneth Davis with 1:06 left in overtime at the Packers' 35. On second down, Bronco quarterback John Elway picked his own fumble out of the air and ran 14 yards to the Packers' 23 with 13 seconds left. But Karlis' kick on the next play sailed wide left.
"I thought I had a pretty good place picked out to kick from, but the grass was long all over. They haven't cut it for about a week," Karlis said. "Those conditions were the worst ever, it was really a nightmare."
The Packers' Al Del Greco also missed a 47-yard field goal in overtime on Green Bay's first possession.
"Nobody likes a tie, but I'll take it over a loss any day," Packer Coach Forrest Gregg said. "If we would have lost, it would have been devastating the way we've been struggling."
The Broncos are 1-0-1 and the Packers 0-1-1.
With 1:15 left in overtime, Packer linebacker Brian Noble stopped a Bronco drive by intercepting Elway's pass at the Green Bay 24 and returning it 10 yards. But Davis fumbled the ball back on the next play.
"We're definitely not satisfied with a tie, but we didn't lose," Noble said.
"It's a game we could have won and probably should have won. It was fun to play in those conditions."
Elway, who was intercepted three times, led the Broncos on an 18-play, 80-yard drive that consumed more than eight minutes of the final quarter and tied the score, 17-17. Elway was 30 of 48 for 285 yards.
Denver's Steve Sewell scored the tying touchdown from two yards out on a fourth-down reverse. The touchdown, with 5:53 left, came as a cold rain began pounding County Stadium for the third time in the game.
Both teams had even more difficulty with footing thereafter, although the rain's intensity decreased in the overtime.
Packer linebacker John Anderson came up with his second fumble recovery to stop a Bronco drive with two minutes left as Bronco tight end Clarence Kay caught a pass but lost the ball at the Packer 30-yard line. Anderson also had a pass interception.
Packer rookie Don Majkowski, making his first start at quarterback, completed 10 of 20 passes for 121 yards. He replaced Randy Wright, who was ineffective last week in a loss to the Raiders.
"This was a big confidence builder for me," Majkowski said. "I played the way I felt I could, and we almost beat Denver. We came close to winning the game, and you have to be glad with the outcome."
The Packers are 4-5-4 in overtime games, and the Broncos are 9-3-2.