Sure, Peyton Manning looked more like Peyton Manning than he had in a while last night.
But it was the Broncos pass defense which stood out last night, putting the clamps on that other former MVP quarterback.
In holding Aaron Rodgers to just 77 passing yards (50 net if you count the lost sack yardage), the Broncos secondary made a huge statement, so it’s understandable they were excited.
“We just held Aaron Rodgers to 50 yards!” cornerback Chris Harris told Peter King of TheMMQB.com. “AARON RODGERS! That’s a little shocking.”
But if you look closer at the work done by the Broncos secondary, perhaps not so much. Filled with players who can cover, they were able to keep Green Bay’s outside receivers covered, even longer than normal because they were counting on Rodgers’ elusiveness.
“The game plan was bring the heat, load the box, keep him in the pocket and force him to throw quick,” Harris said. “Wade [Phillips, the defensive coordinator] put it on us: If we let him go outside, that’s where he’s going to get us. . . .
“That’s right. We basically had to cover twice. That was the plan. First you cover your guy for two-and-a-half seconds. Then you don’t stop. You figure Rodgers is getting out on the edge, scrambling around looking for a receiver after he leaves the pocket. And we were able to hang in there. I think when you hold Aaron Rodgers to 50 yards, you know you’re capable of being great as a defense.”
The Broncos are more than capable of being one. They are one. Probably the best one in the league.
Actually, after last night, you can probably take the probably out of that last sentence.