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Instant Reaction: Broncos avert second half meltdown to defeat Packers 19-17

The Denver Broncos defense came up big at the end of the game and avoided a second half meltdown to secure a 19-17 victory over the Green Bay Packers.

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Denver Broncos Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

After leading for the entire game, the Denver Broncos defense and offense struggled the entire second half. But a game-sealing interception by P.J. Locke secured them to a 19-17 victory against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.

Had it gone the other way, it would have been the first time in the franchise's history where they had started off 0-4 at home. With that in mind, here are a few instant reactions from this afternoon’s festivities.

Broncos Red Zone Offense and Second Half Struggles Continue

The Broncos had three trips into the red zone to start the game, but all of them resulted in Wil Lutz field goals under 35-yards. The Broncos offense amassed 209 yards in the first half, 90 of them on the ground, but only came away with 9 points. That’s not going to be a recipe for success against much better teams that are coming up on the schedule.

They started off the second half hot with a drive that resulted in a touchdown pass from Russell Wilson to Courtland Sutton but struggled the rest of the game. A late fourth quarter drive was enough to get them into field goal range for Lutz, who drilled the game-winning field goal from 53-yards out.

Woes in the red zone have plagued the Broncos throughout the course of the season. It’s safe to say a few games could have very well gone the other way had they been more efficient in this regard. It’s an area that continues to be their bane and something that needs to be improved upon if they want to be successful moving forward.

Vance Joseph’s Defense Was Strong Despite Second Half Mishaps

For a second-straight week, Vance Joseph’s side of the ball came to play. The Broncos defense held Jordan Love to just 47 yards in the first half of the game and only 100 total yards offense as a whole. They limited Love’s production to 21-for-31 for 180 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception.

It wasn’t until the third quarter of the game where Denver’s defense finally allowed a touchdown and another late in the fourth quarter on a fluke play on fourth-and-goal. Prior to that, they had held opposing offenses to field goals or worse in eleven-straight red zone appearances prior. At the end of the day, Joseph’s defense did what it needed to do to secure a victory.

If there was one critique it would be their pass rush, who failed to get after Jordan Love and didn’t register consistent pressure throughout the game. On a side note, I thought Fabian Moreau played very well replacing Damarri Mathis as the start opposite of Patrick Surtain II. That’s definitely a development to keep in mind as the season goes on.

Broncos Tank on Hold—For Now

For fans hoping for the Broncos to embrace the tank, a loss today to the Green Bay Packers would have been monumental. The New England Patriots, Chicago Bears, and New York Giants who were all 1-5 entering today's game secured victories over their opponents.

Denver could have had a big jump on the second spot, but today’s victory have them picking fourth according to Tankathon. By the end of April, we will get to know for sure just how much this win set the Broncos back, but as I’ve said for a few weeks—it doesn’t seem likely that this Broncos team is going to be bad enough for a Top 3 pick. As the season rolls on, expect a few more victories and for them to be selecting in the six to twelve range in this years draft.

That isn’t a good thing considering they need a long-term option at quarterback, but that part of the draft has experienced a lot of movement over the past three years. If the Broncos can’t get themselves a blue-chip prospect at a position of need—trading down appears to be the next best option.


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