Game Recap: Packers Crumble Against the Colts, Lose 34-31

Sarah Kelliher recaps the Packers’ week eleven loss against the Colts.    

The Green Bay Packers (7-3, 2-1 NFC North) fell to the Indianapolis Colts (7-3, 1-1 AFC South) 34-31 in a painful overtime loss at Lucas Oil Stadium Sunday. Despite leading by two touchdowns at halftime, the Packers cost themselves the game with self-inflicted mistakes and the inability to make things happen on offense in the second half.  

Green Bay’s opening drive was unfortunately just foreshadowing for what was to come for the Packers; an afternoon full of brutal turnovers. Despite opening the game with a 33-yard catch from wide receiver Davante Adams, the Packers fumbled the snap two plays later and the Colts recovered it.  

Luckily for Green Bay, safety Raven Greene fired back with a forced fumble of his own and put the ball right back in the Packers’ hands. Green Bay then found a rhythm quickly and marched down the short field for a touchdown. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers connected with tight end Robert Tonyan for the 25-yard score to put Green Bay up 7-0.

The Packers couldn’t enjoy their lead for too long though. The Colts responded by quickly making their way down the field and into the endzone after a crosser from Phillip Rivers turned into a 45-yard touchdown for wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. to tie the game at 7.

Later in the quarter, the Packers were looking to re-take the lead but found themselves at the end of another turnover. This time, Rodgers underthrew a pass to wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling and it was picked off, marking his fourth total interception on the year.

However, once again, Green Bay escaped unscathed after a turnover when Indianapolis’ 50-yard field goal attempt “doinked” off the bottom of the cross bar. Still tied at 7-7 in the second quarter, the offense ignited a new fire for Green Bay. Rodgers connected with Adams off a 20-yard pass play, running back Jamaal Williams rushed for a first down, wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown came to life off a 23-yard reception and then running back Aaron Jones rushed in the endzone for a 2-yard touchdown to give the Packers a 14-7 lead.

The offense wouldn’t have to wait long to get the ball back either. Packers defensive tackle Billy Winn tipped up quarterback Phillip Rivers’ pass and linebacker Christian Kirksey was there to intercept it and return it to the Colts’ 29. From there, Rodgers connected with Adams for a 5-yard touchdown play to extend Green Bay’s lead to 21-7. Adams’ touchdown was his 10th total on the year, the most in the NFL, according to the FOX broadcast.  

Indy was not going down without a fight though. With less than two minutes left in the half, they caught Preston Smith in coverage (your guess is as good as mine) and scored a 17-yard touchdown to cut Green Bay’s lead to 21-14.

But, 1:52 left on the clock was plenty of time for Aaron Rodgers to bring his team all the way down the field for a touchdown to put Green Bay back in front by two scores, 28-14, at halftime. Rodgers and company had an assist from a 51-yard defensive pass interference penalty before Williams found the endzone off a 4-yard pass play.  

After the first half, this was an entirely differently ball game. And, for the Packers, that meant trouble was on its way. The Colts started the second half with a monster drive consisting of multiple strong runs but, thanks to a sack from defensive tackle Kenny Clark and strong play in the secondary from safety Adrian Amos, the Packers forced the Colts to settle for a field goal and make it 28-17.

Then, the Packers offense didn’t do the defense any favors. After the defense spent what seemed like ages on the field, the offense went three and out in under a minute giving the defense virtually no time to recover. The Colts, finally wearing the Packers down, found the endzone with 1:59 left in the third quarter off a 6-yard pass play. To sprinkle even more salt in the fresh wound, Indy went for two and got it to cut Green Bay’s lead to just 28-25.

When the Packers desperately needed to put points on the board, they once again went three and out and from this point on it only seemed to get worse for Green Bay. On the Colts next drive, the tied the game off a 32-yard field goal attempt at 28. Then, when the Packers would have a chance to re-take the lead, Darrius Shepard fumbled on the kickoff return and the Colts recovered it and successfully kicked another field goal to take a 31-28 lead. The field goal marked 17 unanswered points for the Colts in the second half.

To make matters worse, when the Packers finally found something on offense and were in field goal range, they decided to go for it on 4th and 1 and drew up a disastrous pass play and turned the ball over on downs.

But, ladies and gentlemen, this one was still not over. Not even close. Just when it looked like the Colts were about to seal the deal after converting on fourth down, they committed 5 penalties in 8 plays and were forced to punt with 1:25 left. Just as it was in the first half, the little bit of clock was enough for the Packers. Rodgers connected with MVS off a 47-yard pass on 3rd and 10 and then two consecutive first down plays to Adams, before kicker Mason Crosby sent this one to overtime after his 26-yard field goal attempt was good to make it 31-31.

Green Bay won the overtime coin toss and would have the opportunity to put the game away which finally allowed Packers fans to take a deep breath. However, just two plays into overtime, MVS fumbled and the Colts recovered it. From there, Indy did what they needed to do and sealed the deal with a 39-yard field goal attempt to beat Green Bay 34-31.

 

What we learned: This was a total team loss for Green Bay  

After reflecting on this loss, it’s hard to put the blame on just one person or player. Sure, the MVS fumble was the dagger and Mike Pettine’s inability to read an offense has become more frustrating as the season has gone on (believe me I’m right there with you), but so many other things fell apart in this game for Green Bay too.

In addition to those two blaring errors, Shepard’s fumble on special teams when the Packers had the opportunity to re-take the lead during a time game was a killer too. The Packers going for it on 4th and 1 and deciding to pass instead of running a QB sneak or a simple rush play was also a killer. And, we can’t forget the offense not scoring a single touchdown in the entire second half too.  

This was just a brutal loss in all three phases of the game for Green Bay.

 

What went right: The Lazard effect

Despite the loss, it shouldn’t go unnoticed how important it was for wide receiver Allen Lazard to be back this week. Despite only 2 receptions for 18 yards (ESPN stats), where the Packers really missed Lazard was in the blocking game.

Lazard came through with a handful of key blocks on Sunday, most notably on Davante Adam’s first half touchdown where he cleared the lane for Adams to run through and straight into the endzone for 6.  

 

What went wrong: Turnovers   

I’ll keep this short and simple. When you have 3 fumbles and an interception on the day its hard to win a football game. Although the first half turnovers didn’t end up being costly, the second half and overtime turnovers are where Green Bay lost ahold of this game. When you have an offense as talented as this one, things like that can simply not happen. The Packers defense already struggles enough and the offense doesn’t need to make things even more difficult.

 

Offensive MVP: Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers’ MVP campaign continued Sunday. No matter how heartbroken you feel about the loss, at least you can rest assured knowing 12 is your quarterback. The veteran was 27/38 and threw for 311 yards, 3 touchdowns and 1 interception (ESPN stats).  

 

Defensive MVP: Adrian Amos

Adrian Amos continued to trend in the right direction on Sunday. He was one of the few consistent bright spots for this defense and had a handful of great pass breakups that changed the course of the game. Amos had 7 total tackles on the day, 4 of which were solo, 1 for a loss and 1 pass deflection (ESPN stats).

 

A look at some of your takeaways

  • “Too many turnovers. The Colts are a good team, but I don't like the way we lost the game.” - @GeorgeHagstrom

 

 

  • “im just sad and my heart hurts i dont have any” - @tfetttt

 

 

 

Up next, the Green Bay Packers get a visit from the Chicago Bears for a big NFC North matchup. Kickoff is set for Sunday, November 29 at 8:20 p.m. EST.  

 

Sarah Kelliher is a contributor for CheeseheadTV and a podcaster with Pack-A-Day Podcast. She can be found via Twitter @sarahkelliher4

 

3 points

Comments (26)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
Alberta_Packer's picture

November 22, 2020 at 09:07 pm

I wonder if Sarah gets an hardship allowance for having to write these recaps– especially the last 3 weeks?

Unfortunately I wasn't able to watch the first half but when I heard the Packers were leading 28-14, my first reaction was the offense was going to seize-up and the defense was going to be shredded in the second half – simply because this has been the team's m.o. all year (and they were playing a good team). I actually placed a half-time bet that the Colts would win the game. More unfortunately, I watched the 2nd half but still cheering for the Packers to win in overtime. So best not to get our Super Bowl hopes up this year? Because:
- Packers defense as effective as France's Maginot line
- 4th and 1 – a yard too far (all year)
- A.Rs. Adams fixation – while Big Bob was as free as a bird in the end zone.

I will continue to enjoy the remaining games but am now starting to think about next year's draft and free agents.

Ps. were we really going to win in overtime?

4 points
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SarahKelliher's picture

November 22, 2020 at 08:43 pm

The first sentence totally made me laugh at loud. Thanks for reading, as always. I am hoping we can look forward to the Bears game next week. Now more than ever it's become especially important.

2 points
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badaxed's picture

November 22, 2020 at 09:11 pm

I like your "maginot line" analogy. With "general Pettine" the enemy will be through, around and over our "maginot line" at will. Surely we will lose the war unless we get a "patton" type leader on defense that will not sit on their ass and attack instead of being soft like "cream puff" General Pettine.

4 points
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Alberta_Packer's picture

November 22, 2020 at 10:06 pm

Patton - "oui". Pettine - "non."

2 points
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JohnnyLogan's picture

November 22, 2020 at 10:29 pm

Pettine is no Patton he's closer to Petain, leader of the traitorous Vichy regime. Petain, a great WWI general, was a relic by WWII. Pettine was never great and is still a relic. But the blame has to go to LaFleur for putting up with this bad scheme defense. P. Smith in deep pass coverage?... Pettine should have been symbolically executed immediately after that play.

4 points
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Alberta_Packer's picture

November 23, 2020 at 11:18 am

So Patton, "oui." Pettine, "non." Petain, "non."

Further your point about Petain (being a relic) - the criticism regarding the French army was they were always one war behind other countries regarding their military tactics and strategy - reminding me of the Capers defense and ...

1 points
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Jared's picture

November 22, 2020 at 09:24 pm

Yes, it’s hard to imagine how we will screw up this years 1st round pick.

1 points
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Big_Mel_75's picture

November 23, 2020 at 08:43 am

Hard to imagine? When was the last 1st round pick you were excited for? I was soo hoping for Pat Queen this year to get Jordan Love... We have a 30+mil a yr QB for a few more years so you waste your draft pick on Love.... GB has whiffed on way more 1st round picks then hit.

0 points
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KenEllis's picture

November 22, 2020 at 08:40 pm

No worries Sarah.

We fought hard. We only lost by 3. We like our guys. It is still all there in front of them.

Vikes and Lions also lost today.

Only spoiled Packers fans expect to get to a Super Bowl with Rodgers at QB.

Let's all start celebrating another NFC North Title (and quick playoff exit) again in 2020 and get ready to do it all again in 2021.

9 points
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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

November 23, 2020 at 04:24 am

Deleted. I think I failed to pick up the tone from the printed word. I am a pretty literal person so sometimes I need a sarcasm font. I am happy with numbers because they are, well, numbers.

-1 points
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TarynsEyes's picture

November 22, 2020 at 08:51 pm

Don't know what was talked about at half time, but what ever it was it brought the team together, as in lose together, and certainly not the direction needed with a 28-14 lead.

Don't care one bit about Rodgers personal accolade possibility for MVP, unless it brings the 'Team' to the SB, and that should be the only item for praise going forward. An MVP with no SB is like a Division title without an SB. Runner-up bs. Champions get awards, losers get nothing.

13 points
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JohnnyLogan's picture

November 22, 2020 at 10:33 pm

Mahomes just led the Chiefs to a winning TD and made it look easy. I don't remember the last time Rodgers made it look easy when this team was down late in the game. He's won, but it's never easy. His lack of urgency on the last drive of the 4th quarter was infuriating. They had plenty of time to take some shots for a TD but Rodgers just stood at the line looking over the D letting the clock wind down. You just never see him hurry up. He has to play faster.

5 points
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TarynsEyes's picture

November 22, 2020 at 10:58 pm

Rodgers is Captain Jack Sparrow, riding his sinking ship to port standing atop the main mast pole and stepping ashore while the ship sinks, and willing to play and accept his personal award and strutting about with his plumage spread wide for his crew and fans to admire from the bottom of the sea.

Mahomes plays to win for his team and fans with vigor. Rodgers plays like he suffers from drinking vinegar, and it seems he does for half the game in many games.

4 points
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Lphill's picture

November 22, 2020 at 08:56 pm

Can't punt, can't gain a yard , can't get off the field on 3 rd down.

8 points
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Packers0808's picture

November 22, 2020 at 09:12 pm

Something wrong with play calling when two times in a row call pass play on 3rd and one! Are our running backs really that weak or untrustworthy!? When you have a porous defense you better get one yard to keep the D off the damn field!

5 points
5
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nostradanus's picture

November 22, 2020 at 09:24 pm

The season is a journey, still in first at 7 & 3

Defense wasn’t great but wasn’t the reason they lost.

Fumbles by MVS & Shepherd in scoring territory were killers.

This is a very good Packers team, enjoy Rodgers while he’s a Packer, he will be gone too soon

Packers will make the playoffs then who knows, they didn’t look all that great mid season during the Super Bowl run but got hot in the playoffs

Again it’s a journey, beat da Bears keep the faith

That is all

0 points
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Jared's picture

November 22, 2020 at 09:27 pm

Not sure which game you watched!!

2 points
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Alberta_Packer's picture

November 22, 2020 at 10:00 pm

I like your glass-half-full, forward-looking philosophy. However I must assign 50% of the loss to at least 50% of the defense (the usual suspects). But with you on beating da Bears.

1 points
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badaxed's picture

November 22, 2020 at 09:27 pm

Out coached on all fronts. Colts came out in second half and ran down the packers throats. Three man line with dime package stops nothing. Having 91 cover a tight end is ridiculous.Pettine's mask is fogging his brain. Does not have a clue how to use a defense. fire his ass now.
Special team's are special needs .the colts do not need to kick deep when they know you can only return from the 5 yard line to the 14 yard line .pathetic.
Ultimately all this mismanagement is the responsibility of the head coach.
If changes are not made expect to see more of the same crappy coaching and playing in the near future.

7 points
8
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Wilment's picture

November 22, 2020 at 10:04 pm

You cannot turn the ball over four times against the number one defense and win. The run game is sporadic. Our punter seems to be broken. This kid was booming the ball and now we are seeing consistent kicks of forty yards. Has anyone ever seen a more bizarre drive than the last possession by the colts in regulation? How many flags were tossed? Disappointing because a win tonight would have made a statement, and put the packers up three games over the bears with six to play. They better start getting it right. They are getting healthy, and many faces out there wont be here next year, may be the last shot for this group. GO PACK.

3 points
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JohnnyLogan's picture

November 22, 2020 at 10:44 pm

This is not a good team and not a team that's fun to watch. One great player on defense, Jaire, two good players, Z. Smith and Clark, and the rest are either average or awful. Add in Pettine, who is basically Capers part 2, old and clueless, and there isn't a chance in hell they get to a SB. LaFleur is becoming the bigger problem though. He's not the OC he's the head coach, responsible for all three phases of the game, but he seems not to have any say in defense or special teams. He has to stop defending them. He needs a wartime consigliere because he sure can't win a war against a tough enemy. He and Rodgers just cave once the other team punches them in the mouth. P. Smith being beat for a TD, 25 yds downfield, should be remembered in the same way as 4th and 26. What the hell was Pettine thinking?

3 points
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Mojo's picture

November 22, 2020 at 11:59 pm

Rodgers clocked the ball twice during the final drive in regulation. For both of them, I thought they had plenty of time to get to the line quickly and run a play. Especially the second one. When it ended up being fourth down they had to kick the FG.

Who knows what might have been if they didn't waste a down.

2 points
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PackersWinning's picture

November 23, 2020 at 03:53 am

Great article, Yea...we played the 4-7. On 3rd and 16. 7 people deep not one closer than 15 yards from the line of scrimmage. River Audi led to a screen and our 3 first round draft choices and high priced free agent DB squad got crushed. Help wanted ...D Coordinator who doesn’t play prevent deference at the start of the 3rd quarter.

1 points
2
1
NickPerry's picture

November 23, 2020 at 05:26 am

Wisconsin Football (The Packers & Badgers) will RIP your heart out almost every time...

I thought the clock management on the Packers last drive in regulation was poor. WHY in the world call your only remaining TO right after the long pass to MVS? Why not run up and clock it there and save the TO for, well I don't know maybe when you have 1st and goal?

I can still see Big Bob OPEN in the end zone on the Packers final 3rd down play in regulation...UGH! Note to AR...It's okay to look for someone OTHER than DA on an important 3rd down play.

HOW in the hell wasn't there a penalty on the Colts when they almost tore Aaron Jones head off of him. The dude was turned SIDEWAYS and his head went in a strange direction...All SURE signs of a facemask...WTF!!!

Glad I played Jonathon Taylor in Fantasy. The "Experts" all said not to. Silly Rabbits...This is Mike Pettines scheme. The one that doesn't CARE about stopping the run, and ain't all that great against the Pass either!!

The Bears SUCK!

2 points
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Tundraboy's picture

November 23, 2020 at 08:32 am

And the Defense needs to step up when the O falters as today , and especially when it turns into "one of those oh shit days"(fumbles)

Wait, who am I kidding, this defense doesn't know how to step up. No question this team has more talent than is being shown. it's not being used right. Bye bye Pettine. We have nothing to lose by canning him now absolutely nothing.

2 points
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scullyitsme's picture

November 23, 2020 at 11:55 am

It’ll be interesting to see the off season, assuming they head to the the same demise as most of us expect. I suppose they could catch lightning in a bottle, not likely though. Will LaFleur learn from his predecessor and not keep underperforming coaches too long? Will we all see obvious needs on this team and once again watch the top brass do nothing about them? Seriously, it’s been 10-20 years plus of ground hog day, we caught lightning once. It’s getting embarrassing.

1 points
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