AFC South: Mason Crosby
What it meant: The Colts improbably found a way to honor coach Chuck Pagano, who’s in the hospital fighting leukemia. This was their first game without him, and they played very well to beat a better team and match last season’s win total at 2-2. I don’t know how they’ll present Pagano with the game ball, but it’ll be in his hospital room in short order. Anyone who’s not a Packers fan would have a hard time not feeling good about that. When Andrew Luck ran in a draw for a touchdown, he ran to the “ChuckStrong” banner along the wall behind the end zone and banged on the orange ribbon as a salute. Robert Mathis held up a white board for fans late in the game with "ChuckStrong" written on it.
What I liked: The Colts fought back from a 21-3 deficit with a tremendous rally. The defense poured it on with five second-half sacks of Aaron Rodgers. The coverage, down a couple of key cornerbacks, did respectable work. Reggie Wayne was incredibly productive with 13 catches for 212 yards and the winning touchdown. The passing game was successful in part because of solid protection that arrived in spurts and a solid day from running back Donald Brown. The running back started inside and bounced outside with success often enough to run for 84 yards on 17 carries and added a two-point conversion on the final score with 35 seconds left (complete with a Discount Double-Check celebration). Mason Crosby's 51-yard field goal attempt with eight seconds left missed by plenty.
Daring: Coming out of the two-minute warning, Luck converted a key third-and-12. With linebacker Clay Matthews in his face, Luck connected with Wayne. A bit later, Luck set up the winning touchdown with a straight-ahead scramble and head-first dive for the first-down marker that was gigantically clutch. Wayne made a fantastic turn and reach for the game-winning 4-yard touchdown catch, but wound up limping off at the end.
What I didn't like: The slow start left the Colts down 21-3 with an awful lot to overcome. I expect a self-deprecating postgame line from interim coach Bruce Arians about throwing a challenge flag on a play that was ruled a Green Bay touchdown, a play that was not challengeable. The red flag produced an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
Injury of concern: Mathis twisted his left knee in a sack of Rodgers, had it braced and attempted to return to action. But he couldn’t go, and now, with the Colts finally getting Dwight Freeney back, Mathis’ availability could be in question.
What’s next: The Colts travel to MetLife Stadium for a game against the New York Jets, who will be coming off a short week. The Colts can watch the Jets against the Houston Texans on "Monday Night Football."
GREEN BAY, Wisc. - Throw out the knee Peyton Manning just took to get the Colts-Packers game to the half and Indianapolis had only three first-half possessions.
But Mason Crosby's bad wide left miss of a 36-yard field goal at the end of the first half left the Packers up only 17-7, a lead that feels insufficient considering how thoroughly the hosts have dominated this game.
Green Bay's ahead in time of possession 20:25 to 9:35, net yards 230-88 and first downs 19-7.
These Colts look more like the team that got beat by Chicago and Jacksonville than the ones that beat Houston and Baltimore the last two weeks.
But they've got two reasons for hope after halftime: They're due another turn with the wind at their backs and they've maintained contact with a team that should have run away from them.