Rodgers rebounds with strong performance
Brett Favre’s replacement as Green Bay quarterback bounced back from a bad game at San Francisco to complete 18 of 22 passes for 193 yards and a touchdown in the Packers’ 27-24 win over Denver on Friday night.
Rodgers led four scoring drives in his five possessions and was 16-for-19 for 178 yards against the Broncos’ starters, including a 10-yard touchdown to Donald Driver on the game’s opening drive.
He added a 1-yard sneak for a score against the Broncos’ reserves to open the second half before giving way to rookie Brian Brohm.
The Packers (1-2) sorely needed this kind of night from Rodgers in the last true tuneup for the regular season. He was 9-for-18 for 58 yards last week against San Francisco and failed to get the Packers into the end zone in one half of action.
Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler was effective if not as accurate, leading Denver (1-2) to scores on all three of its first-half possessions. One was a 99-yard touchdown march that chewed up most of the second quarter, and another was an 80-yard drive in all of 16 seconds.
After completing his first dozen passes against Dallas a week ago, Cutler was wild against the Packers, misfiring on six of his first seven throws and finishing just 6-of-13 for 115 yards. But he was precise when it mattered most.
Cutler split defensive backs Al Harris and Aaron Rouse with a rope to tight end Nate Jackson that gave Denver a 10-7 lead and capped a 16-play drive that covered 99 yards and 8½ minutes.
Later in the quarter, Brandon Marshall drew a 31-yard pass interference penalty on cornerback Tramon Williams, then beat Williams for a juggling, 49-yard TD catch from Cutler, who called it a night after that toss.
The Broncos outgained the Packers 91-31 in rushing yards in the first half.
Mason Crosby, an All-America from the University of Colorado, kicked field goals of 44 and 46 yards for Green Bay, the latter pulling the Packers to 17-13 as the first half expired. He missed from 53 yards in the third quarter.
Michael Pittman gave Denver a 24-20 lead with a 10-yard touchdown catch from Patrick Ramsey midway through the fourth quarter.
Linebacker Tracy White picked off a pass from Ramsey deep in Denver territory with five minutes left, giving Green Bay possession at the Broncos’ 10-yard line and setting up Kregg Lumpkin’s game-winning TD run on fourth-and-1.
Notes:The Packers lost RG Josh Sitton to a knee injury on their second drive and WR James Jones to a knee injury in the third quarter. Sitton was starting in place of Jason Spitz, who slid to center with Scott Wells sidelined. ... The Broncos lost DE Elvis Dumervil to a finger injury, S Marquand Manuel to a thumb injury and DE Paul Carrington to a strained left calf. ... CB Champ Bailey made his preseason debut for Denver, recording one solo tackle in the first half.