DENVER, CO — The Denver Broncos held on late on Sunday in a fourth-quarter nailbiter against the Green Bay Packers. When Denver needed a big play late, defensively, one key young player stepped up to help the Broncos secure the win to improve to 2-5 on the year.

Denver Broncos game story vs. Green Bay Packers

Sunday’s AFC-NFC showdown between the Denver Broncos and Green Bay Packers saw it come down to the wire in the fourth quarter. For the first half of the game, the Broncos found success with the run game, but the offense had issues stalling out in the red zone.

Denver went into halftime with a 9-0 lead after three Wil Lutz field goals gave them the advantage. The Broncos’ defense was able to minimize any explosive plays from Jordan Love and the Green Bay Packers offense, holding them to 100 total yards in the first half.

Packers running back Aaron Jones returned to the lineup this week for Green Bay after missing time due to a hamstring injury. The Broncos’ defense did a solid job in the first half of containing him to 17 yards rushing on five carries.

Denver’s offense sparked in the third quarter with big plays in the run game from Javonte Williams, who had several big runs, helping set up Russell Wilson, finding Courtland Sutton for a wide-open touchdown, giving the Broncos a 16-3 lead midway through the third.

The Packers responded with a 9-play 75-yard drive that saw wide receiver Romeo Doubs haul in a strongly contested catch, maintaining simultaneous possession with Patrick Surtain to cut Denver’s deficit to 16-10, providing them with a spark.

That spark led to a huge momentum swing that saw Green Bay march downfield, scoring on 4th and goal on a wild play that saw a deflected pass bounce into the arms of wide receiver Jayden Reed to give the Packers their first lead of the game 17-16.

Lutz came up big once again with 3:50 left in the game, nailing a 52-yard field to give Denver a 19-17 lead.

On the Packers’ ensuing possession, they marched downfield past the 50-yard line to get into field goal range, but a holding call pushed them back to face a 3rd and 20. On the very next play, Broncos safety P.J. Locke came up big, intercepting Jordan Love to help secure the victory to help Denver improve to 2-5 on the season.

P.J. Locke’s journey is a testament to his patience and work ethic

During training camp, Broncos safety P.J. Locke went down during a goal-line drill. After being carted off, that specific foot injury would land him on injured reserve to start the season, guaranteeing that he would at least miss the first four games.

Denver’s safety depth was tested earlier in the year after Justin Simmons suffered a groin injury and Caden Sterns suffered a season-ending injury in Week 1. The Broncos could have used Locke in a big way, but in the grand scheme of things, he ended up being right where he needed to be.

On Sunday, everything made sense. He worked tirelessly on the side field going through the rehab process to get right and had his number called on Sunday to step in during a crucial moment.

After Kareem Jackson was ejected in the second half, Locke had to step in and play that role opposite of Simmons. In the fourth quarter, with the Packers driving to put themselves in a position to kick a game-winning field goal, Locke made the play of the game.

On 3rd and 20, Packers quarterback Jordan Love uncorked a pass deep down the right sideline where Simmons was covering over the top, and Locke jumped it underneath for a game-sealing interception.

For Denver, this was a big moment, but for Locke, it helped put into perspective how important his mindset was despite the early season adversity he faced.

“When I got on IR (injured reserve), I was discouraged,” Locke said. “‘J-Sims’ (S Justin Simmons) and ‘KJ’ (Kareem Jackson), they pulled me over and was like you have to stay engaged. Stay engaged with everybody. With the game plan, going to DB (defensive back) dinners and stuff like that. Anytime I was on the sideline, I was walking around with my iPad, following my DB coach, listening to every call on the field, seeing our team’s mentality. I think that paid dividends for me.”

Locke’s NFL journey has been filled with various highs and lows, but Sunday’s outcome showcased why he belongs.

“Honestly, I wanted to tear up,” Locke said. “Just felt like all of my emotions bottled up. I just wanted to celebrate with my guys. I finally got my first pick, many more to come. Just all of the stuff I’ve been through, at that moment I felt it.”

Broncos bits vs. Packers

Here were some keynotes and stats from the Broncos victory against the Green Bay Packers

  • The Broncos offense was 5-of-12 (41.7%) on third down vs. Green Bay.
  • Denver’s offense accumulated 145 rushing yards on Sunday, led by Javonte Williams with 82 yards on 15 carries and Jaleel McLaughlin with 45 yards on five carries.
  • Kicker Wil Lutz was 4-for-4 on field goals on Sunday and made his lone extra-point attempt.
  • The Broncos were called for eight penalties that accounted for 60 yards, and the Packers were called for seven penalties that accounted for 56 yards.
  • Linebacker Alex Singleton led the Broncos defense with 11 tackles, followed by Josey Jewell with 10.
  • Cornerback Fabian Moreau started on Sunday in place of Damarri Mathis — he finished the game with four tackles and one pass defensed.