The Green Bay Packers head to Denver for their week seven matchup against the lowly Denver Broncos. The Packers are coming off of an embarrassing loss against the Las Vegas Raiders on Monday Night Football two weeks ago. Jordan Love’s three interceptions were the most in one game so far in his young career, and were a big reason for the loss.
The Broncos are coming into this game with a 1-4 record, and one of the worst defenses not just in the league this year, but one of the worst all time statistically. Their offense hasn’t fared much better. Last week, against the Kansas City Chiefs, the Broncos could only muster eight points.
The Broncos have struggled so far this season, averaging a little over 19 points in their five losses, while allowing just under 35 points per game. This struggling Broncos team is the perfect team for the Packers to bounce back against.
The Packers had 11 days of rest between their last game and this one, giving them plenty of time for rest and recovery. However, looking at the injury report, you’d be forgiven for believing they just played a game.
Coming into the game, the Packers have 10 players on the injury report, with De’Vondre Campbell and Jaire Alexander out. The Packers will once again be without two of their top playmakers this week.
Matt LaFleur is 2-2 off of a bye week as head coach of the Green Bay Packers, averaging 21.8 points offensively while allowing 29.3 points. With a favorable matchup against one of the worst teams in the league, the Packers have a chance to get back on track, and come out of the bye week strong.
Just like every other game this season, the Packers came out flat to start the game.
They played well defensively, only allowing three field goals and forcing two punts in the first half. The offense continued their first half struggles, punting the ball on three of their first four drives.
The fourth drive saw the Packers drive to the Denver 25-yard line, but a false start on tackle Rasheed Walker killed the drive and forced them to settle for the field goal attempt. Anders Carlson came into the game perfect on the year, but his first kick, a 43-yard attempt, sailed wide left.
The Packers went into the half down 9-0, the so-called “worst team in the league” completely dominating them.
The offense stepped it up in the second half, as they have done all year. Love led three straight scoring drives coming out of the half, a field goal and two touchdowns, one to Romeo Doubs and the other a tip-drill catch by rookie Jayden Reed.
The defense finally started to break. On their first drive of the half, they allowed a quick seven-play, 75-yard touchdown drive, capped off with an 18-yard touchdown pass to Courtland Sutton.
After the Reed touchdown gave the Packers their first lead of the game, up 17-16 with eight-and-a-half minutes remaining in the 4th quarter, the defense once again needed a stop. While they didn’t allow a touchdown, they did allow the Broncos to drive into Packer territory, setting up a 52-yard go-ahead field goal. Will Lutz drilled the kick to retake the lead 19-17.
With just under four minutes left, Love and the offense had one last opportunity to win the game. One last chance to salvage together an ugly win against a bad team. Love looked like he would do just that, after a 29-yard catch and run by AJ Dillon set them up in Bronco territory at the two-minute warning.
Two plays later, Love scrambled up the middle for another solid gain, but a holding call on guard Elgton Jenkins pushed the Packers back into their own territory. The next play, on an incomplete pass, Christian Watson suffered an apparent knee injury and left the game.
To wrap things up, on the ensuing 3rd and 20, Love launched a deep ball into double coverage intended for Samori Toure that was easily picked off by safety P.J. Locke. This Broncos ran off the final minute and 40 seconds on the following drive, sealing their 19-17 win over the Packers.
Players of the Game
- AJ Dillon: Probably the only bright spot on either side of the ball this week, AJ Dillon had a productive day. Dillon saw the bulk of the workload today, with a team-leading 17 touches. Dillon recorded 95 yards on the day, including the 29-yard catch-and-run that could’ve set up the go-ahead field goal. A refreshing performance out of a player who has had his fair share of struggles so far this season.
- WR Christain Watson suffered a knee injury late in the fourth quarter, he did not return to the game.
- TE Luke Musgrave underwent concussion protocol after a dirty hit by Broncos safety Kareem Jackson in the third quarter, he did not return. Musgrave was also seen wearing a walking boot on his left foot after the game.
- DE Devonte Wyatt was carted to the locker room with a knee injury, he did not return.
- CB Eric Stokes, who was recently activated from the PUP list prior to the game, was ruled out with a hamstring injury after the first half.
- S Darnell Savage left the game in the first half with a calf injury, he did not return.
- C Josh Myers suffered an injury in the beginning of the third quarter, he did not return.
For the second straight game, the Packers got embarrassed. There’s no other way to say it. Offensively, they can’t move the ball. Defensively, they’re on the field too long, getting gradually chipped away at until they falter.
The Packers offense is not good. Since putting up 31 against the Bears week one, the Packers offense has only averaged 18.4 points a game. Since his stellar performances to start the year, Love has struggled. In his last three matchups, Love has thrown six interceptions to only three touchdowns.
While today wasn’t a terrible game for Love, posting a 90.8 passer rating and a 77.6 QBR, it surely wasn’t a good game. We will go more in depth on Love’s performance in the next quarter season checkup following their week nine matchup against the Los Angeles Rams, but Love has continued to struggle. What makes Love’s performance worse is these past two games have been against teams with bad defenses.
Aaron Jones once again was on a snap count this week, assumedly still nursing the hamstring injury he suffered in week one. On 11 touches, Jones recorded 57 yards. Dillon played well this week as I noted, but Jones is still the all-around better player, and needs to be getting more touches as the backbone of this offense.
Defensively, the Packers are mediocre. Their “bend, don’t break” mentality works when your offense is able to put up points. Unfortunately, the defense is the better part of the team right now, and needs to step it up if the offense can’t.
So far this year the defense has held teams most of the game but broken when it matters most. Allowing the touchdown to Sutton in the third quarter for example, or the 100+ yards allowed in the fourth quarter to the Falcons in week two are examples of this. Something has to change, but it is hard to maintain a good defensive stance if the defense is constantly on the field.
As I said earlier, you’d be forgiven for thinking the Packers played a game last week. The injury plague has ravaged the team. Their injury report coming into this game was bad enough already, so adding another six players to it is even worse. To make matters worse, all six of these players are starters.
It is a realistic possibility the Packers will be without eight starters for their next matchup. This comes even after an 11-day long bye week period. Either this is a run of bad luck or the team’s medical staff needs to be improved. Regardless, it’s hard to win in this league with an injury report as bad as the Packers currently is.
The Packers drop to 2-4 on the year with back-to-back losses to two of the worst teams in the league. They return home to face another struggling opponent in the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings, pending their Monday Night Football matchup against the San Francisco 49ers, are 2-4. With how bad the Packers have been playing though, it will be a tough team to beat.