Pack wins behind 6 sacks

Joe Zenzola
September 22, 2019 - 4:55 pm
© Jeff Hanisch | 2019 Sep 22

© Jeff Hanisch | 2019 Sep 22

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By Daniel Plocher

GREEN BAY-- The Green Bay Packers moved to 3-0 on Sunday after the green and gold defeated the Denver Broncos 27-16.

The defense stepped up once again totaling 6 sacks, an interception, and two fumble recoveries against the Broncos' offense led by veteran quarterback Joe Flacco. The Broncos had 310 yards of offense, only two less than the Packers, but the takeaways by Green Bay defense was the difference in the game.

Defensively, the Packers have really stepped up so far in 2019. They currently lead the NFL in takeaways after today's performance and they have made a statement almost a quarter of the way through the season. 

The offense was a bit of a different story. They came out hot once again with nearly a perfect drive to open up the ballgame as Aaron Rodgers led the green and gold down the field on a 5-play, 75-yard drive ending with a 40-yard touchdown pass from Rodgers to Marquez Valdez-Scantling:

The first drive for the Broncos was a completely different story. Two runs gained Denver 0 yards forcing Flacco into a passing situation on third and long. The play resulted in the first sack of the game for Green Bay's defense by linebacker Preston Smith, one of his two on the game.

The ensuing drive for the Packers' offense resulted in a punt after an 8-play drive, putting the ball right back into the hands of Denver. This time it was much different for the orange and blue. The Broncos went on a long 15-play, 77-yard touchdown drive headed by workhorse running back Phillip Lindsay. He rumbled and tumbled into the endzone on a three-yard touchdown run tying up the game at Lambeau Field. 

Green Bay was quick to respond going 51 yards down the field concluding with a 42-yard field goal from Mason Crosby. The Pack regained the lead at 10-7 early in the second quarter.

But, Denver did their thing once again driving down the field on 15 plays. This time, the defense held them out of the endzone after a sack from Za'Darius Smith forced a 30-yard field goal made by Brandon McManus. Once again, the game was tied late in the second quarter.

After 30 plays over their past two drives, the Broncos would make a mistake on the first play of this important drive. Joe Flacco was strip-sacked by Preston Smith and after several moments of the ball fumbling around players from both teams, rookie Rashan Gary picked it up inside the Denver 20-yard line. 

Two plays later, Aaron Jones easily punched it into the endzone on a 7-yard touchdown run putting the Packers right back in the lead. The first of two for him on the day.

The Packers went into the half leading 17-10 thanks to some timely big plays from the defense.

That remained a constant heading into the third quarter as the Broncos started off with the football out of the break. On a third and short, Flacco completed a pass to tight end, Noah Fant. Jaire Alexander closed in quickly and took the ball right out of his hands for another turnover for the Packers' defense.  

For the second time in the game the Packers would turn a takeaway and turn it into a touchdown after a Rodgers pass to fullback Danny Vitale on a wheel route went for 27 yards deep into the redzone.

Aaron Jones would finish the job two plays later by punching in a one-yard touchdown. The Packers widened their lead 24-10.

The visiting Broncos took over after the kickoff knowing they needed to score to get back into things. They marched down the field on a 12-play drive that resulted in another short Lindsey touchdown. He'd finish the day with 21 carries for 82 yards and two scores. However, McManus missed his first extra point in his last 90 tries, and the Broncos still trailed 24-16.

Denver's defense stood strong and forced a punt, and their offense took over and started another drive off really nicely following a 52-yard reception to Cortland Sutton from Flacco. Now inside the Green Bay 40, it looked like the Broncos were on their way to put some more points on the board, and maybe tying the football game. However, the Green Bay D flexed its muscles forcing their third turnover of the game after Darnell Savage Jr. intercepted an errant Flacco pass.

The Packers would never look back despite punting on their next possession after just 5-plays. Denver would punt the ball right back after a three-and-out at the start of the fourth quarter.

Green Bay's offense would all but seal the deal after an 11-play drive that milked nearly eight minutes off the clock, and resulted with a Mason Crosby field goal that put the Packers up two possessions with only 5:49 to go.

At Lambeau Field, the Packers would win their third straight game to open up the 2019 campaign with an undefeated start to the regular season. 

Despite what some may call a poor offensive performance from the Packers, Rodgers ended the game with 235 yards and a touchdown with Valdez-Scantling pulling down 6 receptions with 99 yards. While there may be some to improve upon offensively for the Pack, the defense has helped carry this team through its first three games. If the offense can become more consistent, the Packers could be looking at a big year as they finally have a coherent defense behind Aaron Rodgers