Originally posted on Fox Sports Wisconsin  |  Last updated 10/3/11
Rushing Offense: B With Ryan Grant out of the lineup with a bruised kidney, James Starks started at running back and finished with 63 yards on 13 carries. Starks' highlight run came late in the first quarter when he broke loose near the sideline and lowered his head into Broncos cornerback Andre Goodman to gain an extra few yards at the end of the play. Starks was animated after the 16-yard gain and said afterwards he wanted to make a statement in this game. But the real story of the day on the ground was Aaron Rodgers as the Packers' quarterback ran for two touchdowns. It was the first two rushing-touchdown performances of Rodgers' career and the first time since Brett Favre in 1995 that a Green Bay quarterback had two running touchdowns. "I try to enjoy those times to make it look semi-athletic," Rodgers said. If Rodgers runs this often every week, he's putting himself at risk of injury. Divisional opponents are not going to take it easy when they see the Super Bowl MVP out of the pocket and exposed. Passing Offense: A Even with the career day that Rodgers had running the ball, he was even better throwing it. His 408 yards passing was the highest regular season total of his career and his four touchdown passes went to four different receivers. Even without Jermichael Finley having a big game (3 catches, 28 yards), Packers receivers had a field day against the Broncos. Greg Jennings caught all seven of the passes he was targeted on for 103 yards and one touchdown. Jordy Nelson had five catches, 91 yards and one TD. James Jones caught three balls for 48 yards and one touchdown. And Donald Driver, fighting through a knee injury, had three catches and one touchdown. Although rookie receiver Randall Cobb didn't score, he had 75 yards on two catches. Rushing Defense: C Green Bay entered the game as the NFL's No. 1 rushing defense but gave up 103 yards to Willis McGahee. It was nowhere near the performance that the Packers had one week earlier against Matt Forte and the Chicago Bears. This week was a significant step backwards for a defensive front that seemed impenetrable the previous two games. Passing Defense: B Denver quarterback Kyle Orton is an average NFL quarterback and aside from Brandon Lloyd and the emerging Eric Decker, the Broncos don't have much in the receiving department. Orton threw for 273 yards and three touchdowns, two of which were caught by Decker. Lloyd had a game-high 136 yards on eight catches, his biggest game since October 2010. None of that is positive for the Packers passing defense. However, Charles Woodson once again came up big with an early interception that he returned for a touchdown. Plus, Sam Shields and Charlie Peprah intercepted Orton. Green Bay's pass rush was practically non-existent for most of the game until the team's lone sack was made by Desmond Bishop in the last play of the third quarter. The Packers are making the key plays and forcing critical turnovers but still giving up too many yards. Special Teams: A The Packers pulled off a surprising onside kick in the first quarter that Nelson recovered. This led to a touchdown on Green Bay's ensuing possession to take an early 21-3 lead. As a result, Denver had to play from behind early on and alter their offensive gameplan accordingly. It was a gutsy call by coach Mike McCarthy, but one that paid off big time. Overall: A- The win keeps the Packers as one of only two remaining undefeated teams in the league. And, for the first time in the 4-0 start, Green Bay won by a big margin. Rodgers was phenomenal and the defense forced turnovers in big moments. Even in a blowout victory, giving an 'A' would be ignoring that the Broncos are a weak opponent that put up too many rushing yards and had too many big pass plays. Facing the Atlanta Falcons on the road next week will be a much bigger challenge for the Packers. If the defense struggled against Orton and McGahee, Matt Ryan and Michael Turner could have big games in Week 5.
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