GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — The Green Bay Packers remain unbeaten, thanks to a career-best day from Aaron Rodgers in a 49-23 rout of the Denver Broncos on Sunday.
Rodgers threw for a career-high 408 yards, tied a personal best with four touchdown passes and ran for two more scores.
Charles Woodson ran an interception back for a touchdown for the Packers (4-0), who join resurgent NFC North rivals Detroit as the only undefeated teams left in the NFL.
Eric Decker caught a pair of touchdowns from Kyle Orton for Denver (1-3). Orton threw for 273 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions.
Backup Tim Tebow made a brief and uneventful appearance at quarterback for the Broncos early, but coach John Fox chose not to give Tebow more work when the game got out of control in the fourth quarter.
Rodgers’ 408 yards passing was a regular-season career high; he threw for 423 yards in the Packers’ playoff loss to Arizona in January 2010. Rodgers was replaced by backup Matt Flynn late in the fourth quarter.
Packers veteran wide receiver Donald Driver left in the second quarter with an apparent left knee injury, but returned in the second half — then caught a touchdown from Rodgers in the fourth quarter.
The Packers took a 21-3 lead on Rodgers’ 11-yard touchdown scramble early in the second quarter, but the Broncos briefly got back in the game as Orton threw a pair of second-quarter touchdowns to Decker.
Rodgers then shut the door just before halftime, throwing a 17-yard touchdown to Greg Jennings with 24 seconds left in the second quarter. The Packers took a 28-17 lead.
Driver got a big cheer from the crowd when he jogged out of the tunnel to start the second half, and the Packers went back to work.
Rodgers converted a third-and-13 situation with an 18-yard completion to James Jones, then went on to march the Packers to the Denver 8-yard line. Rodgers took off running and was tackled as he stretched the ball to the goal line, where officials ruled him just short.
Packers coach Mike McCarthy called for a replay review, and the play was ruled a touchdown. Green Bay took a 35-17 lead with 8:26 left in the third quarter.
Orton put together another drive as the Broncos tried to keep up, and appeared to find tight end Daniel Fells for a long gain near the goal line. But Fells fumbled the ball and Packers safety Morgan Burnett recovered, giving the ball back to the Packers.
Rodgers then hit Randall Cobb for a 61-yard completion as the rookie spun away from a pair of Broncos defenders, and the Packers finished the drive with a 16-yard touchdown pass to Jones to put Green Bay ahead 42-17.
With so much offense, it didn’t really matter that the Packers’ defense continued to be vulnerable to the pass.
Green Bay fell behind 3-0 on an early field goal drive but answered with a big play from Rodgers, who threw a 50-yard touchdown to Nelson after the receiver outran double coverage.
Then came the 30-yard interception return for a touchdown by Woodson, who plucked a pass from Orton intended for Decker out of the air and ran it back for an easy score and a 14-3 Green Bay lead.
The Packers’ next score came on an 11-yard scramble by Rodgers. Driver collided with Broncos safety Brian Dawkins on that play. Driver was down for several minutes, then left the field with assistance from his teammates.
Driver later was taken on a cart to the locker room, but came out to start the second half. He caught a touchdown from Rodgers with 7:46 left in the game.
Notes: With new NFL security measures in place, fans had trouble getting into Lambeau Field in time for kickoff. With 10 minutes left before the start, several lines of fans waiting to get in stretched deep into the parking lot. The lines had dissipated early in the first quarter. … Fells left the field with a knee injury in the first quarter, but was able to return. … Von Miller had two sacks for the Broncos.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)