Sunday, October 7, 2012
Wrap-up: Colts 30, Packers 27
By Kevin Seifert
A few thoughts on Sunday's events at Lucas Oil Stadium:
What it means: The Green Bay Packers fell to 2-3 after a stunning second-half comeback by the Indianapolis Colts. Ahead 21-3 at halftime, the Packers were overwhelmed by an emotional Colts team and, depending on the rest of Sunday's results, could find themselves two games back in the NFC North just five games into the season. It was the Packers' largest blown halftime lead since November 1957, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
Luck for Canton: Colts quarterback Andrew Luck dominated the Packers' pass defense as if he were a six-year veteran. He threw for 362 yards, ran for 24 more and accounted for three touchdowns. Most impressively, he took the Colts 80 yards on 13 plays in 3 minutes, 55 seconds before finding receiver Reggie Wayne for the game-winning 4-yard touchdown pass. The Colts torched Green Bay for 464 yards and 28 first downs, and a couple of key defensive plays in the red zone were the only things that kept the Colts from scoring more than 30 points. Most discouraging from the Packers' perspective was that they couldn't slow down Wayne, who is really the Colts' only threat at receiver. Wayne caught 13 passes for 212 yards, and no other pass-catcher had more than 41 receiving yards.
Long-distance miss: Place-kicker Mason Crosby missed badly on two 50-plus-yard field goal attempts, including a 51-yarder with three seconds remaining that would have sent the game to overtime. But the Packers had their porous defense and an inconsistent offense -- not their place-kicker -- to blame for this loss game.
Second-half slump: The Packers watched their halftime lead slip away to a 22-21 deficit midway through the fourth quarter. Watching the game with no volume, it sure looked like the Colts' emotions surged after Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw an interception on the opening drive of the third quarter. The Colts took over at the Packers' 39-yard line and quickly converted a touchdown, turning what could have been a knockout drive for the Packers into an energizer for the Colts. Among other things, the Packers sacked Rodgers five times in the second half.
Injury report: Three key players did not return after suffering injuries: tailback Cedric Benson (left foot), nose tackle B.J. Raji (left ankle) and tight end Jermichael Finley (shoulder). Benson and Raji suffered their injuries in the second quarter; Finley's injury was in the third. Alex Green and veteran John Kuhn filled in for Benson, who had a combined 41 rushing/receiving yards at the time of his injury. Raji's injury led to additional playing time for defensive lineman Mike Neal, who was added to the roster Saturday and had his first sack since 2010 in the second quarter.
Dirty laundry: You might have been surprised to see officials take away a sack/forced fumble by linebacker Nick Perry in the second quarter, instead ruling that Perry had roughed Luck. Replays indicated Perry's helmet hit the top of Luck's chest but not his head, even though Luck's head snapped back by the force of contact. Former NFL officiating executive Mike Pereira tweeted: "[Y]ou can't lower your head and hit a defenseless player anywhere with the crown of your helmet." The question is whether Perry hit Luck with the crown of his helmet.
What's next: The Packers have their third prime-time game in the season's first six weeks, a Sunday night game against the undefeated Houston Texans.