Pat Bowlen would have wanted it this way. On a night intended to honor the man who built the Denver Broncos into one of the top-flight organizations in professional sports, the story became much more about his team’s performance on the field than the ceremonies held in his honor.
The Denver Broncos defeated the Green Bay Packers 29-10 Sunday Night, going 7-0 for only the second time in franchise history. The last time Denver got off to a 7-0 start, John Elway rode off into the sunset as a two-time Super Bowl champion.
The Broncos offense got off to a hot start Sunday night, jumping out to a 17-0 lead mid-way through the second quarter and never looked back. Quarterback Peyton Manning went 21-of-29 for 340 yards and an interception. He looked comfortable all night, utilizing both tight ends Owen Daniels and Virgil Green to create opportunities in the middle of the field..
Demaryius Thomas had an enourmous game. He capitalized on injuries to the Green Bay secondary to the tune of eight receptions for 168 yards (21 YPC). The Packers had no answer for the three-time Pro Bowl wideout.
Manning was helped immensely by a breakout performance from Broncos running backs Ronnie Hillman and C.J. Anderson. The duo rushed for a combined 161 yards on 33 carries for three touchdowns. In total, the Broncos offense outgained the Packers by 362 yards.
Fittingly, Manning tied Brett Favre for the most wins by a quarterback in NFL history on Sunay night, getting the 186th of his career. The Broncos five-time MVP was more focused on how well his unit performed.
“We’ve been very determined,” Manning said. “We’ve been very committed to try and get things fixed, get things corrected. We had great balance tonight."
However, the real staggering performance of the night came from the Denver defense. The Broncos defense held reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers to just 77 yards passing—the lowest total of his career. It was cornerback Chris Harris, Jr. who said what was on everyone’s mind.
“As long as we can continue to play like this, we can win the Super Bowl,” Harris said.
The Denver defense pressured Rodgers all night, sacking him three times, including a strip-sack by DeMarcus Ware that led to a safety, giving the Broncos two points and an extra possession in the fourth quarter. All in all, it was complimentary footbal at it's highest level.
Gary Kubiak's squad have firmly placed themselves in the Super Bowl conversation with the way they dismantled the best team in the NFC. It wasn't just a win. It was a statement on national television.