Charles flashes in Denver debut, Broncos beat Packers 20-17

Charles’ impressive Denver debut included four rushes for 27 yards, two catches and a declaration afterward by coach Vance Joseph that he’s in the Broncos’ plans this season.

Denver Broncos running back Jamaal Charles carries the ball in the first quarter of a preseason game against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field. (Ron Chenoy/USA Today Sports)
Denver Broncos running back Jamaal Charles carries the ball in the first quarter of a preseason game against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field. (Ron Chenoy/USA Today Sports)
Denver Broncos running back Jamaal Charles carries the ball in the first quarter of a preseason game against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field. (Ron Chenoy/USA Today Sports)

By Arnie Stapleton, Associated Press

Even before they showed the boxing spectacle of the summer on locker room TVs after the game, the Broncos showed some fight in their 20-17 preseason win over the Green Bay Packers — among themselves.

Cornerback Aqib Talib and linebacker Todd Davis got into a shoving match in the first half that bled onto the sidelines before tempers finally cooled.

“Nothing serious, we’re all good,” said Talib, who started the fracas with a too-hard shove of Davis as he tried to get him away from doing some jawing with the Packers. Davis took exception and hit him back.

“Nothing serious, we’re all good,” Talib said.

Jamaal Charles and Von Miller provided the other fireworks before the teams pulled up chairs to watch Floyd Mayweather Jr. knock out Conor McGregor in the 10th round in Las Vegas.

Charles’ impressive Denver debut included four rushes for 27 yards, two catches and a declaration afterward by coach Vance Joseph that he’s in the Broncos’ plans this season.

“I felt like a Bronco when I got here, but putting on that uniform for the very first time, that’s when I really feel like this is a new beginning,” said Charles, Kansas City’s all-time leading rusher who was released by the Chiefs over the winter.

The last player introduced before the game, Miller made his cameo count by sacking Aaron Rodgers for an 11-yard loss , forcing the Packers to settle for a 52-yard field goal and ending Rodgers’ night after 10 snaps (he was 3 for 5 for 12 yards).

“A-Rod, he’s a great quarterback, a Hall of Fame quarterback,” Miller said. “So, especially in the preseason if you can get some practice against that, it’s dope. It’s great.”

Miller spun past Jason Spriggs, who was subbing for injured right tackle Bryan Bulaga, and split a double team on his way to dumping Rodgers.

“It was a good move by him. He’s an athletic guy,” said Rodgers, who was harassed into the worst game of his career the last time he came to Denver in 2015. “He likes to line up on our right a lot. And we had help on the outside on that play, but he just made that quick spin move inside.

“By the time I felt it I was heading to the ground.”

After Green Bay safety Kentrell Brice returned an interception 42 yards to the Denver 2 minutes after Rodgers was sacked, backup Brett Hundley trotted out to hand off to Ty Montgomery for the touchdown plunge and a 10-0 lead.

“The plan was for Aaron to play two series,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy explained. “I was trying to get Brett as much work as I possibly could.”

“It’s the preseason. We don’t play a whole lot anymore around here,” Rodgers said. “We just kind of get in try to find a rhythm and get out.”

Miller’s day was over after Montgomery’s TD.

“You know you’re not going to be playing much anyways, so to get a sack on those few plays, it feels great,” said Miller, who called his sack dance the “sexy T-Rex.”

Trevor Siemian, in his first game since coach Vance Joseph declared him the starting quarterback over Paxton Lynch, bounced back from his interception to lead Denver on three impressive drives, Lynch came in and got hurt on his only series.

Siemian engineered a 10-play, 75-yard drive capped by C.J. Anderson’s untouched 16-yard trot but marred by the loss of top receiver Demaryius Thomas to a thigh injury. Siemian also was efficient in the 2-minute offense and Brandon McManus kicked a 28-yard field goal to tie it at 10 as the first half expired.

Siemian finished 13 of 22 for 127 yards and had one interception.

Lynch guided Denver on the go-ahead scoring drive — McManus was good from 46 yards — to start the second half. The second-year QB hurt his right (throwing) shoulder on the drive, apparently when he slid on it after a scramble. Joseph said X-rays were negative but that Lynch would go for an MRI on Sunday to confirm it’s not a serious injury.

Joseph said he’s prepared to play Kyle Sloter the entire fourth preseason game. Sloter replaced Lynch and threw a 17-yard TD pass to Hunter Sharp that made it 20-10.

Hundley’s 6-yard keeper made it 20-17 early in the fourth quarter.