The Green Bay Packers fell to the Indianapolis Colts 30-27 on Sunday.
The Second Most Important Statistic
The Packers defense came up with four interceptions during their week two match-up against the Chicago Bears, but the unit has since failed to come away with another turnover.
That streak was broken on Sunday when rookie Casey Hayward ran stride for stride alongside Colts’ receiver Reggie Wayne and pulled down an interception, but on the ensuing drive, the Packers offense stalled and failed to convert the turnover into any points.
For a defense predicated on creating turnovers, the Packers live and die by forcing the opposition into mistakes. Despite multiple opportunities on Sunday, the unit wasn’t up to the challenge.
Rookie linebacker Nick Perry forced a fumble after annihilating Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, but Perry led with the crown of his helmet, drawing a personal foul penalty, and negated the turnover.
For the second week in a row, two Packers’ defensive backs collided with each other to break up a potential interception.
Tramon Williams had his second potential pick overturned by an official review. The replay showed that he allowed the pass to hit the ground after Colts quarterback Andrew Luck threw it directly into Williams’ hands.
With under five minutes to play in the fourth quarter, veteran Charles Woodson let another potential pick slip away. Instead of an interception sealing the game for the Packers, Andrew Luck and the Colts marched down the field and completed the comeback.
Already without Greg Jennings, who was inactive with a groin injury, the Packers lost another pass catcher early in the third quarter. Jermichael Finley’s right shoulder slammed into the Lucas Oil Stadium turf after an incompletion and he was unable to return.
After the game, he assured reporters that he would be back next week.
“I’ll be back in Houston for sure,” Finley told Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
There was no post-game word from Cedric Benson, however, after the offense lost the running back to a left foot injury in the second quarter. After leaving the field under his own power, Benson was carted off the field and did not return.
ESPN’s Stats and Info quantified Benson’s absence. With Benson still in the game, the Packers averaged 6.5 yards per play and dropped back to pass 53% of the time. After he went down, the offense averaged 4.2 yards per play and was forced to dropback 77% of the time.
The defense suffered a substantial loss as well. B.J. Raji injured the same ankle he hurt in the preseason as he was being blocked away from the play. After the game, Raji was terse with his description of the injury.
“I rolled my ankle, wasn’t able to come back. There’s nothing more to say,” he told reporters.
With four starters missing, the team dwindled away an 18-point halftime lead.
It Wasn’t All Bad
After the first half, the Packers looked to be headed towards an easy victory. The team went into the locker room with a 21-3 lead, the offense was in sync and the defense was playing inspired football.
In a brutal second half, backup running back Alex Green provided the lone spark for the Packers offense. Prior to Sunday’s game, the second year player had logged two career carries for a total of two yards. After Benson left the game, Green’s workload increased.
Finishing the day with 55 yards on 9 carries, Green made his mark in the fourth quarter. The second year pro burst through a hole on the left side of the line, made a cut to his right and put together a 41-yard scamper that set up the Packers only points of the second half.
Not The Packers’ Day
Simply put, the Colts’ second half was better than the Packers’ first half. Good teams win games they are supposed to win, and after blowing an 18-point halftime lead, the Packers 2012 squad is searching for its identity.
With misses from 52- and 51-yards, kicker Mason Crosby picked a bad time to miss his first field goals of the season, but this loss isn’t on the special teamer. The brunt of this defeat is on the ineptitude of the offense and defense.
The Packers face the undefeated Houston Texans on the road next Sunday night. Green Bay hasn’t lost two games in a row since coming up short against the Lions and Patriots in weeks 14 and 15 of the 2010 season, and the Packers will look to avoid that fate as they head into Houston next weekend.
Max Ginsberg is a regular contributor at CheeseheadTV, blogs at PurplePantsGreenJersey.com and can be reached via Twitter @MaxGinsberg or at maxginsberg[at]yahoo.com.
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