The Broncos put up 500 yards of total offense, including 160 on the ground, and harassed Aaron Rodgers all night. He finished 14 of 22 for just 77 yards.
The Broncos led 17-7 at the half, and the game didn't seem nearly that close. Manning didn't have a touchdown pass in the half, but he looked like a much younger version of himself, completing 14 of 18 passes for 212 yards and picking the Packers secondary apart at will.
The most important play of the half might have been Manning's 47-yard pass to Demaryius Thomas, a perfectly thrown deep ball that moved the Broncos inside Green Bay's 10. Suddenly, the Packers had to respect Manning's arm strength -- something that he hasn't been able to make teams do this year -- and that opened things up for offense, both on the ground and with short passes.
Thomas finished with eight catches for 168 yards.
Hillman scored twice on the ground to give the Broncos a 14-0 lead, and Brandon McManus added a 50-yard field goal.
The Broncos pass rush had been dominating Green Bay's offensive line throughout the half, forcing Rodgers to scramble and, thanks to a strong performance by the secondary, throw several passes away. However, late in the half, he helped lead an 80-yard drive that ended in Eric Lacy's 2-yard touchdown run.
That pulled the Packers within 10 points at the half, and they took the second-half kickoff into Denver territory to set up a 56-yard field goal by Mason Crosby. It looked like Green Bay was back in the game, but that feeling didn't last long. With Clay Matthews on the bench with a foot injury, C.J. Anderson blew through a hole off left tackle and sailed into the end zone for a 28-yard touchdown -- his first of the season.
McManus made it 27-10 early in the fourth quarter with a short field goal, and the Broncos added two more points when DeMarcus Ware knocked the ball away from Rodgers and Richard Rodgers was forced to dive on it in his own end zone.
Three things we learned
1) Aaron Rodgers is only human in the pocket
Denver seemed to have Rodgers moving on every first-half snap, but weren't able to bring him down. They didn't record their first sack until three minutes remained in the third quarter, and Rodgers was able to scramble twice times for 31 yards.
Broncos coach Gary Kubiak was frustrated enough to tell NBC's Michele Tafoya at halftime that he thought his defense needed to stress finishing plays in the second half, and with Green Bay looking to throw deeper as they fell further behind, they were able to do that.
2) Peyton Manning is not a nimble man
On one first-half play, Manning handed the ball to C.J. Anderson, but gamely went through with faking an option bootleg. This is probably something that the Broncos should never do again.
3) C.J. Anderson spent all season waiting for that?
After frustrating fantasy owners all season, Anderson finally scored his first touchdown of the year in the third quarter, and then he celebrated with a dance that looked like a wounded Canada Goose annoying college students.
Once again, Broncos, you should probably never do that again.
* * *
SB Nation presents: Justin Tucker gets down with his bad self after winning game