Actual Score: Broncos 31, Packers 24
JANUARY 25, 1998 (QUALCOMM STADIUM)
PACKERS 20, BRONCOS 14
It was over when… Ryan Longwell increased the Packers lead to 6 points with a 54 yard field goal with 9:30 remaining in the game. The Broncos re-took the lead with 4:00 left when John Elway connected with Rod Smith on a 55 yard touchdown pass. The Packers offense opened the drive at the -27 with a 4 yard run by Dorsey Levens and a 5 yard pass completion to Robert Brooks. Faced with a 3rd and 1, Kevin Traylor penetrated the line of scrimmage, forcing Dorsey Levens to stop and change direction resulting in a 3 yard loss. On fourth down, Brett Favre evaded the rush and fired a bullet to Mark Chmura for an 11 yard gain and a fresh set of downs. Three plays later, the Packers were faced with a 3rd and 7; however, the Broncos were flagged for illegal contact resulting in a 5-yard penalty and automatic first down. With less than a1:15 remaining, Brett Favre threw a laser for a 19 yard completion to Antonio Freeman on a skinny post pattern to reach the 32 and immediately called timeout. On the next play, Antonio Freeman caught a shallow crossing pattern and outran the Broncos secondary for a 32 yard touchdown with 49 seconds remaining. Two plays later, Doug Evans intercepted John Elway’s pass to seal the victory.
The Packers defense carried the day. Determined to shut down the vaunted Broncos running game, they played disciplined, gap control defense which denied Terrell Davis any cutback lanes all afternoon. They limited the Broncos zone rushing attack to 2.5 yards per carry, only allowing 86 rushing yards on 35 attempts. Playing man-to-man coverage throughout the afternoon, the Packers secondary only allowed John Elway to complete 46.4% of his pass attempts for a QB rating of 38.7.
In a very evenly played game where only 4 net yards (Packers – 258 & Broncos – 254) separated each offense, turnovers proved to be the difference in the game. The Packers were plus 5 in the turnover department, their defense forced 4 fumbles and recovered 3 of them. They also intercepted John Elway 3 times and returned 1 for a touchdown.
Terrell Davis gained 10 yards, then fumbled; Earl Dotson recovered and fumbled after an 11 yard return; Shannon Sharpe scooped up the loose ball and ran for a 61 yard touchdown for Denver’s first touchdown…Antonio Freeman caught a 19 yard pass and headed for the goal line, however he was stripped of the ball resulting in it bounding out of the end zone for a touchback…Four plays later, a Packers defensive lineman deflected a John Elway pass resulting in Donald Evans intercepting it for a 20 yard touchdown…A holding penalty negated a 42 yard interception return by Packers linebacker Brian Williams…Dorsey Levens had back-to-back runs of 21 and 17 yards in the third quarter…Doug Evans registered a sack and had 2 interceptions to spearhead the Packer defense…Terrell Davis uncharacteristically fumbled three times.
Green Bay 0 3 7 10 – 20
Denver 0 7 0 7 – 14
GB- FG Longwell 28, 6:00
Den – Sharpe 61 fumble return (Elam kick), 5;00
GB – Evans 20 interception return (Longwell kick), 9:30
GB – FG Longwell 54, 9:30
Den – Smith 55 pass from Elway (Elam kick), 4:00
GB – Freeman 32 pass from Favre (Longwell kick), 0:49
First Downs………. 12 17
Rushed – Yards….. 24-100 35-86
Passing Yards…… 163 172
Sacked- Yards Lost . 1-5 1-4
Return Yards………. 67 95
Passes…………… 17-36-0 13-28-3
Punts ……… 10-46.8 8-44.5
Fumbles-Lost…… 1-1 4-3
Penalties- Yards…….. 11-80 8-70
Time of Possession….. 28:37 31:23
GBP: Favre 17-36-0-163
DEN: Elway 13-28-3-172
RUSHING— GBP: Levens17-60, Brooks 1-24, Favre 6-16
DEN: Davis 29-78, Hebron 2-(-1), Griffith 1-2, Elway 3-7
GBP: Brooks 2-10, Freeman 6-94, Henderson 1-3, Levens 2-15, Mayes 1-4, Chmura 5-37,
DEN: Smith 4-90, McCaffrey 3-28, Sharpe 4-50, Davis 1-4, Griffith 1-0