GREEN BAY — Aaron Rodgers threw for 235 yards and a touchdown, Aaron Jones tied a career high by running for two scores, and the Green Bay Packers beat the Denver Broncos 27-16 on Sunday, Sept. 22.
Preston Smith matched a career high with three sacks as Green Bay got to Joe Flacco six times and forced three turnovers to lead the Packers (3-0) to the win despite being dominated in time of possession 35:34-24:26.
Rodgers found Marquez Valdes-Scantling on a 40-yard strike on the opening drive and finished 17 of 29. Jones’ touchdown runs both came from 1 yard out.
Flacco was 20 of 29 for 213 yards with an interception and no touchdowns. For the third straight game, Von Miller, Bradley Chubb and Denver’s defense failed to record a sack or force a turnover. The Broncos (0-3) fell to 0-6-1 all-time on the road against the Packers.
Following Valdes-Scantling’s first score of the season, Flacco and the Broncos’ offense spoiled a 60-yard kickoff return by Diontae Spencer, going three-and-out on their first possession.
But Denver tied it at 7 on a 1-yard run by Phillip Lindsay at the start of the second quarter. The score capped a 15-play, 75-yard drive that ate up more than eight minutes.
Mason Crosby put the Packers ahead on a 42-yard field goal with 11:19 to go in the first half. The Broncos answered about 8 minutes later with a field goal of their own.
Green Bay’s new-look defense continued its impressive start to the season. After a sack by Za’Darius Smith, his second of the year, fellow newcomer Smith followed with one of his three sacks. Flacco coughed up the ball and Rashan Gary recovered it at the Broncos 5. Jones ran it in and Green Bay took a 17-10 lead into the locker room. Jones has recorded a rushing touchdown in five straight home games.
Packers cornerback Jaire Alexander opened the third quarter by recording his first career forced fumble and fumble recovery after stripping Noah Fant on a 4-yard completion. Green Bay took advantage as Rodgers hit fullback Danny Vitale for a 27-yard gain that put the ball on the 1 before Jones ran it in for his second touchdown to make it 24-10. It was Jones’ second career multi-touchdown game. The third-year running back also had two rushing touchdowns last season against the Dolphins.
Lindsay cut it to 24-16 on a 1-yard run with about 6 minutes left in the third. Brandon McManus missed the extra point.
Crosby added a 41-yard field goal in the fourth quarter to make it a two-possession game.
Rodgers needs one passing touchdown to pass Fran Tarkanton for the ninth most in NFL history. Rodgers and Tarkanton are tied with 342 career touchdowns. Eli Manning is eighth with 362 career scores.
Broncos: DE Derek Wolfe was carted off the field in the second quarter with a right ankle injury. He did not return.
Broncos: Host Jaguars on Sept. 29.
Packers: Host Eagles on Thursday.