Denver found some offense to go with a defense that rattled Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers into one of his worst games as the host Broncos powered their way to a 29-10 victory over the Packers on Sunday night.
In only the fourth meeting of teams 6-0 or better, Peyton Manning tied Brett Favre’s NFL record with his 186th regular-season win and Rodgers was limited to 77 yards passing — the lowest of his career in a game in which he wasn’t knocked out by injury.
Wearing the blue jerseys they did in beating the Packers for their first Super Bowl win in 1997, the Broncos piled it on in the fourth quarter, when DeMarcus Ware sacked Rodgers and the ball ended up in the end zone for a safety.
The Broncos improved to 7-0 for the first time since 1998, when they won the Super Bowl after finishing 14-2.
Although neither quarterback threw for a touchdown, 39-year-old Manning threw for 340 yards on 21 of 29 passing. Rodgers, who completed 14 of 22 passes, was sacked three times and the Packers (6-1) had only 140 yards of total offense to Denver’s 500.
Ronnie Hillman ran for two touchdowns and when he was on the sideline because of a sore thigh, C.J. Anderson ran through a defense missing Clay Matthews for a 28-yard score, his first of the season, to put Denver up by two touchdowns late in the third quarter.
Both Matthews and Hillman returned the next series.
Anderson ran for 101 yards and Hillman 60, and Demaryius Thomas caught eight passes for 168 yards.
Also making a sudden appearance in Denver’s offense were the tight ends — as targets. Freed up from blocking with the offensive line meshing like it hadn’t all season, they gave Manning an option over the middle he’d been missing since losing Julius Thomas and Jacob Tamme to free agency.
Virgil Green caught three catches for 61 yards and Owen Daniels had three for 44.
Manning had 212 yards passing to Rodgers’ 37 in the first half, but the Broncos had eight penalties for 69 yards to Green Bay’s one flag for five, so Green Bay only trailed 17-7 at the half.
Mason Crosby’s 56-yard field goal on the first drive after the break pulled the Packers to within a touchdown.
At halftime, the Broncos inducted ailing owner Paul Bowlen into their ring of fame. Bowlen, 71, stepped down from his daily duties running the team 15 months ago to fight Alzheimer’s and was not in attendance. Terrell Davis, the hero of the 1997 Super Bowl team that was honored before the game, said Bowlen “may not be here in body, but he’s definitely here in spirit.”
“I am so honored to accept this honor for my husband,” said Bowlen’s wife, Annabel. "… I think we can all agree that Pat’s next stop should be the Pro Football Hall of Fame.”