Green Bay looked great in the first half as they jumped out to a 14-0 lead over the Colts. The Packers took a 21-3 lead into halftime and it looked like they would cruise to an easy victory.
But then the second half was played.
It became immediately clear that the Colts were fired up for the start of the second half. They intercepted Aaron Rodgers during the Packers first drive of the second half and then never looked back.
After the interception, the Colts then scored 19 unanswered points and took a one-point lead over the Packers late in the fourth quarter. The Packers answered quickly with a two-play drive that featured a 40-yard run by backup running back Alex Green and a touchdown pass from Aaron Rodgers to James Jones. But that lead wouldn’t hold.
The Colts put together one of the most impressive drives you will probably see all season, 13 plays, 80 yards and the go-ahead touchdown. Luck and the Colts completed third downs of nine, twelve and seven yards to keep the drive alive. Reggie Wayne, the MVP of the game, had five catches for 64 yards and the game-winning touchdown on the drive.
Wayne had himself a career game. 13 catches, 212 yards and the one touchdown that really mattered. He also had an amazing one-handed catch early in the game, which will be in constant replay on Sportscenter.
Reggie Wayne’s impressive one-handed catch early in the game set the tone for his performance today. He finished with over 200 yards receiving and had the go-ahead touchdown catch. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
In the second half you could have easily mistaken Andrew Luck for a ten-year veteran, instead of a rookie starting his fourth game. He tossed two touchdown passes and only one interception in the second half and the interception didn’t even come back to hurt them. Luck finished with 362 yards, two touchdowns and just the one interception.
He was very poised in the pocket and did a great job of escaping when the Packers brought pressure. His big pass on third and twelve right before the two-minute warning, in which he somehow found the strength to shake off Clay Matthews, was one of the biggest plays of the game.
The Colts defense also deserves heaps of credit. The Packers offense had little trouble moving the ball in the first half but couldn’t get anything going during the second half. The Colts had the Packers receivers shut down and were putting pressure on Rodgers consistently. It was an impressive turnaround from the first half.
Another thing the Colts did better than the Packers in the second half was protect their quarterback. The Colts were in Rodgers’ face all second half, meanwhile the Packers couldn’t get close to Luck. The Packers sacked Luck four times in the first half but didn’t get to him once during the second half. The Colts offensive line gave Luck more time to find Wayne, which he did, over and over again.
But even after all that the Packers still had a chance to win the game. With less than a minute to go the Packers were driving the ball and set up for a field goal attempt with eight seconds left. Unfortunately, the kick was wide right and that was the end of the game.
Mason Crosby reacts after missing a field goal in the final seconds of the game that would have tied the game up and forced overtime. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Trying to break down this game is actually very simple. The Packers outplayed the Colts in the first half and the Colts greatly outplayed the Packers in the second half. The Colts coaching staff pressed all the right buttons at halftime and made perfect adjustments, while on the other side it looked like the Packers fell asleep.
Aside from the loss, the Packers have other things to worry about. Cedric Benson, BJ Raji, and Jermichael Finley were all lost to injury this game. While it remains to be seen how serious these injuries were, both Benson and Raji were carted off the field, which is never a good sign.
From here the Packers need to regroup and do it fast. They have a lot of things to work on and have to face the Houston Texans on the road next week, which will not be an easy game.
Things are starting to get a little uneasy for the Packers but there is still time to turn this season around.
Five things we learned from this game
The Packers still have a lot of work to do – While it is difficult to imagine a team that went 15-1 could struggle so much this season, it has become a disturbing reality. The defense is still struggling, the offensive line can fall apart way to fast, and the passing game isn’t what it was. Too much to fix and not enough time. The Packers are racing against time to get it all together.
Reggie Wayne is still great – Wayne showed today why he is still one of the best receivers in the game. 212 yard and the winning touchdown catch and he was Luck’s go to target all game and was there when the rookie quarterback needed him. Even as his career gets closer to completion he can still put up big numbers.
Luck was worth it – While the Colts and their fans had to suffer through the terrible season they had last year to get him, Luck was worth it. He looked like a seasoned veteran this game, especially in the second half and he will only get better. The Colts will be a real good team in no time.
The injury bug is really hurting the Packers season – Three more Packers left the game today with injury and the Packers may leave Greg Jennings off the field until he becomes completely healthy. You never want to blame your play on injuries but they certainly are not helping the Packers.
Mike McCarthy got out coached today – McCarthy has done a good job of coaching and usually makes great adjustments for the team to follow but today he was outcoached in the second half. It seems the Packers didn’t make any adjustments and didn’t really try much new until it was too late. It seems Wayne was single covered the whole game, even though he was destroying the secondary. It’s odd when a team has such a big lead at half and comes out so flat in the second half, and some of that falls on the coach.
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