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Three Keys Unlocked: Denver 29, Green Bay 10

DENVER --Any questions?

All the doubt about the quality of the Broncos' undefeated start will vanish in the wake of the comprehensive 29-10 flogging of the Packers at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on Sunday night.

The offense was balanced and kept Green Bay off-balance. Playfakes, bootlegs, wide-open receivers on crossing routes that took advantage of the Packers' willingness to drop their safeties in coverage to respond to receivers on deep routes.

"We knew they were going to be playing man [coverage]," said TE Virgil Green. "On a lot of those crossing routes, you could just see the man coverage, single safety, and you give those guys a move at the line of scrimmage, and you've got a chance. I think everybody did a great job, not just in the pass game, but the running game, as well."


How did the Broncos fare in the pregame Three Keys?

1. Limit the giveaways.

Denver nearly escaped with its first giveaway-free game of the season, but failed to do so when Damarious Randall intercepted Peyton Manning's pass for Andre Caldwell in the fourth quarter.

But that was it, and with the score 29-10 at the time of the pick, it didn't matter.

The Broncos didn't force any turnovers of their own -- although DeMarcus Ware's strip-sack fumble that led to a safety effectively was a turnover because of the change of possession that it forced.

The loss was only the fourth for the Packers in their last 58 games with a positive turnover margin.


  1. Sustain coverage downfield.**


No, strike that. What the Broncos' secondary did was believable, strictly because of the quality on the back end. Three Pro Bowlers and a second-year, No. 3 cornerback playing at a high enough level that he demands to be used more will do that.

Aqib Talib, Chris Harris Jr. and Bradley Roby were in man coverage for much of the game and rarely gave the Packers' wide receivers any openings.

With receivers unable to fight their way into space, the Packers struggled, and Aaron Rodgers endured one of the worst games of his career, settling for checkdowns and dumpoffs. He finished with just 77 yards on 14-of-22 passing.

3. No freebies.

Aaron Rodgers drew just two offside penalties and one too-many-men on the field infraction -- and two of those three combined infractions came on the same play.

The relentless defense did not let up when those infractions came, and the Packers did not capitalize; they took the penalties. Good downfield coverage took care of the rest.

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