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Jaire Alexander - Packers vs. Broncos

Green Bay cornerback Jaire Alexander recovers a fumble by Denver tight end Noah Fant in the third quarter of the Packers' 27-16 win over the Broncos on Sunday at Lambeau Field in Green Bay. The Packers defense had three takeaways in the win. 

Wisconsin State Journal columnist Tom Oates grades the Green Bay Packers' performance in their 27-16 win over the Denver Broncos on Sunday at Lambeau Field in Green Bay. 

Offense: C

Jamaal Williams had 12 carries to Aaron Jones' 10, and he did a lot more with them, too. Given a free play via penalty, Aaron Rodgers capitalized with a touchdown pass to Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Rodgers had to throw the ball away five or six times. Since he wasn't sacked, the receivers must have struggled to get open.

Defense: B-plus

The Packers gave up 149 rushing yards and missed key tackles, but three takeaways and six sacks go a long way in the NFL. Preston Smith and Za'Darius Smith combined for five sacks. Rookie Rashan Gary made his first splash with a fumble recovery and a sack. Forcing a 3-and-out after Denver's 60-yard kickoff return was huge.

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Special teams: C

Mason Crosby was 2-for-3 on field goals. JK Scott's punts averaged 53 yards. Scott's 66-yard punt was fielded inside the 5 and the subsequent penalty pinned Denver on the 3. After taking a 7-0 lead and the early momentum, the Packers allowed a 60-yard kickoff return. Tony Brown had a bad punt-return interference penalty.

Coaching: C

For the second straight game, the Packers appeared to run out of offense right about the time they ran out of scripted plays. Matt LaFleur has to start making quicker and better adjustments. Mike Pettine never did find a scheme to slow down the run but the Packers took dangerous wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders out of the game.

Overall: C-plus

It wasn't pretty and the new offense continued to experience growing pains, but the Packers defense rode to the rescue for the third game in a row. Every time Green Bay needed a big play, the defense came up with one. If the offense ever gets untracked, the Packers' 3-0 start will look even more important come December.

Bucky!

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Contact Tom Oates at toates@madison.com

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