It appeared that the NFC North would go to the Green Bay Packers as they ran up their string of six consecutive wins, but in week eight they had to play the Denver Broncos, who were also undefeated.
The result was a “humbling” loss, according to Packers’ Head Coach Mike McCarthy.
Played in Denver, the Broncos wore their throw back uniforms, the same that they wore when they beat the Packers in the Super Bowl in 1997.
In this case, the Broncos offense was just too much as they outgained the Pack 500 yards to 140. Broncos’ QB Peyton Manning also tied Brett Favre’s NFL record with his 186th regular-season win.
Manning finished with 21 completions on 29 attempts for 340 yards, no touchdowns and one interception.
This game may have been Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers worst games of his career. Rodgers threw 22 times and completed 14 passes for 77 yards. Prior to this game, he had not finished with less than 142 passing yards in a game he started and finished. The Broncos defense rattled Rodgers all night and ultimately sacked him three times and hit and hurried him several more. Rodgers knew he would be punished after he suffered four hits in the first drive alone. Packers’ running back could only muster 38 yards on 11 carries, but he did score a touchdown.
Broncos’ running back Ronnie Hillman contributed two touchdowns before he had to leave the game with sore thighs. Replacement C.J. Anderson continued the assault scoring a 28-yard touchdown and finishing with 101 yards. Hillman had 60.
The Broncos’ tight ends provided Manning with options he hadn’t seen since the Broncos lost Julius Thomas and Jacob Tamme to free agency. Virgil Green caught three passes for 61 yards and Owen Daniels received three passes for 44 yards. Broncos’ wide receiver Demaryius Thomas had the best numbers for receivers from both teams. He caught eight passes for 168 yards.
The Packers’ defense has earned a reputation of being stingy this season after giving up an average 16.8 points a game. However, the Broncos scored that much in the first half. The Packers offense has also built its own reputation as being fast starters in games this season, but they were behind 14-0 at the end of the first quarter and 17-7 at halftime. BRONCOS 29 PACKERS 10
Vikings’ rookie wide receiver Stefon Diggs provided the spark as he caught six passes for 95 yards and a touchdown and running back Adrian Peterson rushed for 103 yards on 20 carries. Other contributors for the Vikings included Marcus Sherels, who returned a punt 65-yards for a score. It was his third punt return touchdown of his career. Charles Johnson leaped to take in a Teddy Bridgewater 35-yard pass that put the ball on the Bears 27. Blair Walsh kicked the winning field goal. Bridgewater finished with 17 completions on 30 attempts, a touchdown and an interception.
Bears’ quarterback Jay Cutler completed 22 passes on 33 attempts for 211 yards and a touchdown. The TD was his 137th as a Bear and tied him with Sid Luckman for the team record. Bears’ receiver Alshon Jeffery caught 10 passes for 116 yards and a touchdown. Matt Forte ran for 41 yards on 10 carries before he left the game due to an injury. Jeremy Langford replaced him and gained 46 yards on 12 carries. Eddie Royal also left the game due to an injury. VIKINGS 23 BEARS 20
The Detroit Lions fired their offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi and replaced him with Jim Bob Cooter after losing to the Vikings 28-19 last week (week seven). Cooter was a quarterback for the University of Tennessee and a graduate assistant at Tennessee for two seasons (2007-2008). He started his coaching career in the NFL in 2009 when he served as an offensive assistant for the Indianapolis Colts for three seasons (2009-2011) and the Chiefs for one season (2012) and moved to Denver in 2013. Broncos’ QB Peyton Manning claims to be a Cooter fan, having worked with him in Indianapolis and Denver.
The change didn’t work as the Lions lost to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Lions’ QB Matthew Stafford was sacked six times and that resulted in no consistency in the passing offense. Cooter’s play calling was also suspect. For example, Stafford threw a dump off pass to Calvin Johnson on a third and 27 play late in the first half.
In fairness to Cooter, he has not had time to work with the Lions offense. The team had to pack up and leave early for London where the game was played.
Meanwhile, Chiefs’ quarterback Alex Smith helped to spark the victory running the ball five times and gaining 78 yards including a career-high 49-yard run in the second quarter that set up his 12-yard touchdown run. He finished with 18 completions on 26 attempts for 145 yards and two touchdowns. Others who helped the Chiefs’ cause were running back Charcandrick West who rushed for 97 yards on 20 carries and a touchdown.
Stafford finished with 22 completions on 36 attempts for 217 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. His quarterback rating was 8.9. Joique Bell ran for 56 yards on seven carries. Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate led the Lions receiving corp. Johnson caught five passes for 85 yards and Tate caught six throws for 59.
Chiefs’ defensive backs Sean Smith and Justin Houston made the picks and Smith’s interception led to a Cairo Santos 33-yard field goal. CHIEFS 45 LIONS 10
NFC NORTH STANDINGS overall Division
GREEN BAY PACKERS 6-1 1-0
MINNESOTA VIKINGS 5-2 3-0
CHICAGO BEARS 2-5 0-3
DETROIT LIONS 1-7 1-2
NFC NORTH SCHEDULE
PACKERS @ PANTHERS SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 2015
RAMS @ VIKINGS SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 2015
BEARS @ CHARGERS MONDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 2015
Courtesy of the Denver Post