In their first nationally televised game of the year, albeit preseason, the Denver Broncos played an acceptable first half.
Unfortunately, even in preseason, the NFL requires teams to play two halves in order to complete an entire game. This became Broncos downfall.
Call it a lack of motivation, call it a lack of preparation, call it what you may, this was certainly not what head coach Mike Shanahan had spent the past few weeks in Greeley planning for, and judging by the post-game reactions, its not exactly what the players had in mind either.
After winning the opening toss Denvers first unit moved its way into Packer territory where a Brian Griese to Eddie Kennison pass was picked off by Green Bay corner Mike McKenzie who returned it to the Packers 44-yard line.
With momentum on their side, Green Bay drove seven consecutive plays where Ryan Longwell connected on the first of five field goals, this one from thirty yards out to give the Packers an early 3-0 lead.
The Broncos second possession proved no better than their first when Rod Smith fumbled after making a 13-yard reception, giving Green Bay the ball on their own 49-yard line. Fortunately the Denver defense rose to the occasion, holding Green Bay scoreless the remainder of the first quarter.
The lone Broncos touchdown came in the latter part of the second quarter as Brian Griese led the team on an 80-yard, 15-play drive spanning almost eight minutes before he connected with fullback Patrick Hape on a one yard touchdown score, giving Denver a 7-3 lead as the first half came to a close.
Griese finished the game completing eight of 10 passes for 79 yards, one interception and one touchdown.
Green Bay battled back in the third, as Longwell hit his second field goal, this from the 31-yard line, cutting the Broncos lead to 7-6. After recovering a Mike Anderson fumble, the Packers scored again as backup quarterback Doug Pederson hit wide receiver Donald Driver for a 19-yard touchdown pass, giving Green Bay a 13-7 lead.
Longwell continued his dominance splitting the uprights from 39, 29 and 41-yards out, finishing with five field goals for the evening.
While the Ray Rhodes first team defense can hold pride in the fact that they held the Packers first unit scoreless, things took a turn for the worse when defensive end Chester McGlockton left the game with a sprained left knee, victim of an inadvertent leg whip by teammate Trevor Pryce.
McGlocktons status was not immediately known, but team officials have scheduled an MRI to be performed Tuesday in Denver.
With the third preseason game scheduled for Saturday night at Invesco Field, Denver coaches have only four days to find answers to overcoming the mental lapses that accounted for a total of four Broncos turnovers.