DENVER — Staring down another fourth-quarter deficit, the Broncos played some of their best football in the biggest moments of their Week 7 home matchup with the Green Bay Packers.
After parlaying a 9-0 halftime lead into a 16-3 advantage, the Broncos allowed a pair of second-half touchdowns that gave the Packers a 17-16 lead with 8:31 to play. Denver responded, though, with a 41-yard scoring drive that culminated in a 52-yard Wil Lutz field goal to retake the lead for good. After the Packers moved the ball into Denver territory, P.J. Locke came up with a game-sealing interception.
"The ability to kind of get on to the next play, put the adversity behind you — it's going to come in each game," Head Coach Sean Payton said. "The teams that have that trait generally fare better. I was glad to see us do that. We had some tough breaks, tough calls, but you have to keep playing. [I'm] glad we ended up with a win."
The breaks Payton referenced included a pair of Love touchdown passes. On the first, cornerback Pat Surtain II appeared to have simultaneous possession of the ball in the end zone, but the Packers were awarded a score. On the Packers' ensuing drive, a fourth-down pass into the end zone bounced off Romeo Doubs' hands and into the hands of Jayden Reed.
Denver, though, found a way to rally — and improved to 2-5 on the season in the process.
These are the players and plays that made the difference in the Broncos' home win over the Green Bay Packers.
The Broncos' win wasn't sealed until the final moments, when Locke raced over to undercut Love's pass that was intended for wide receiver Samori Toure. The interception — which came on a third-and-20 play — secured a win for Denver that looked tenuous just moments earlier. The Broncos allowed running back A.J. Dillon to advance to the Denver 44-yard line with 2:22 to play, and the Packers needed just a few more yards to get within range for a potential game-winning field-goal attempt. On first-and-10, though, Zach Allen and Jonathon Cooper helped to hold Dillon to no gain and set up second-and-10. Then, on the next snap, Elgton Jenkins was whistled for a holding call that pushed the ball back into Green Bay territory. After a Love incompletion, the Packers faced a critical third-and-20. Love had time to throw and launch the ball deep, but Locke made perhaps the play of his young career as he raced over to secure the win.
"P.J. is a tremendous player, and that was a big-time play," cornerback Pat Surtain II said. "It was a game-sealer. We expect that for him. I'm happy for him, getting his first career pick, which is huge for him, and I only know how happy he is. I'm happy for him. It's a great play by him."
The Broncos' defense continued its strong recent play, as the group held the Packers scoreless in the first half of Sunday's win. Denver's defensive performance marked the first first-half shutout for the team since a Week 9 win over the Cowboys in 2021, and it was the Broncos' first first-half home shutout since Week 3 of that same season. In the opening two quarters, the Broncos held the Packers to 100 yards and allowed just two first downs over the Packers' first three drives. Green Bay moved the ball a bit in the second quarter, but a missed field goal kept the Packers off the board. Denver's defense allowed 17 points in the second half, but the unit's strong start was enough to help the Broncos earn a win.
Wide receiver Courtland Sutton made his share of plays on Sunday, but none was as impressive to watch as his third-quarter touchdown grab.
After motioning over to the left side of the line of scrimmage into a bunch formation, Sutton allowed Adam Trautman and Marvin Mims Jr. to clear out and create space for him to loop underneath. Sutton ran a wheel route out of the backfield and was all alone to haul in his fifth touchdown of the season.
The impressively designed play gave Denver a double-digit lead.
"That was great coaching — a good call by Coach [Payton]," Wilson said. "I wanted to get him isolated. Courtland did a good job of getting open there. I think the receivers did a good job too of helping him. I think the big thing is the guys up front giving me enough time to drop back and read it all out, go through my reads and then hit Courtland for a huge touchdown, which is another big moment."
• From 2020-22, wide receiver Courtland Sutton recorded four total receiving touchdowns. Through seven games this season, Sutton is already up to five touchdowns. He caught six passes for 76 yards and a touchdown on Sunday and made a series of key catches for first downs on third-down opportunities.
"There's a lot of confidence in his catch radius, and there are some matchups that get created when he's on the field," Payton said Sunday. "[I'm] proud of him, and he played extremely well."
• Kicker Wil Lutz made all five of his kicks on Sunday and was 4-of-4 on field goals. He made attempts from 32 yards, 29 yards, 35 yards — and the game-winner from 52 yards out with 3:50 to play. Since early season struggles against the Raiders, Lutz has made all 22 of his kicks.
"I think he's a young, potentially really good kicker — possibly a great one down the road," Payton said. "I like his makeup; it's why we brought him here. I've seen him do it. Obviously, that's a big kick. He's had a handful of them. Chicago was very similar. Proud of him and good to see how he's hitting it. He's flushing it well."
• Safety P.J. Locke stepped in for Kareem Jackson and recorded his first career interception to earn the win for Denver.
"I know he knows that was a big play," safety Justin Simmons said. "Everyone knows a big play, but I hope he gets the credit he deserves on that play, because that was a heck of a play that not a lot of guys can make."