Broncos Packers Football

Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio watches from the sidelines during the first half of an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Matt Ludtke)

Paul Klee’s five quick observations from historic Lambeau Field on Sunday:

1. Catch the fall colors. Our aspens should be changing soon. Throw some streamers on the South Platte as the Brown trout enter spawning mode. Take the kids on a hike, since there’s nothing quite like Garden of the Gods. Tired of all the losing, Broncos Country? Can’t blame you. Sundays are better spent at church than surviving this tired act. Make it seven straight losses — for the second time in 31 games — and Denver still hasn’t won at Lambeau (0-6-1).

2. The Broncos stayed at a hotel in nearby Appleton. They could’ve stayed home. When Aaron Rodgers ripped off a 75-yard touchdown drive on Green Bay’s first possession — in barely the time it takes to stomach a butterburger across the street at Kroll’s, 2 minutes, 44 seconds — the loss was on. The Packers got zero pushback from Vic Fangio’s defense on the first drive. Now the narrative is more than a tad bizarre: 12 quarters, no sacks, no turnovers. For a 'D' that costs $87 million, more than all but one team? Talk about a bad investment return.

3. The Broncos are getting a raw deal from NFL officials. When Emmanuel Sanders was flagged for a phantom holding penalty, was the league delivering payback for Vic Fangio’s "awful officiating" jab? It’s moments like Sunday when you wonder if the NFL is on the up and up. Royce Freeman’s TD run should’ve made the score 14-10, Broncos. Instead, the back judge tossed a penalty flag at Sanders after Freeman was six steps into the end zone. Garbage.

4. If Von Miller appeared any less interested, he’d be asleep. Anyone seen the $17.5 million man? The precursor to another invisible performance arrived in the first quarter. On third-and-15 for the Packers, Miller was told to contain Aaron Rodgers instead of getting after Green's Bay star quarterback. Right on, Rodgers must have thought. Rodgers promptly completed a 28-yard first-down pass to Trey Marshall. And Miller raised his hand, asking for a sub. No. 58’s gone missing. Anyone seen him?

5. Believe it or not, the Broncos are making progress. Problem is, they started from rock bottom. The Broncos strung together consecutive drives of at least 15 plays. Last season they had only one of those. Phillip Lindsay finally looked like rookie Phillip Lindsay, Courtland Sutton was feeling his oats (and deserves more targets). Even embattled cornerback Isaac Yiadom made a defensive stop on third down. But a loss is a loss is a loss. As the sky dumped buckets of rain on Lambeau Field, the locals celebrated a tension-less win over the Broncos. The Broncos slumped toward the tunnel at 0-3. Their next three are now must-wins: Jaguars, at Chargers, Titans.

(Contact Gazette sports columnist Paul Klee at paul.klee@gazette.com or on Twitter at @bypaulklee.)

Load comments