A game that looked like it may turn into another Packer runaway was derailed by Packer turnovers and poor execution in the second half. Green Bay led by 14 points at the half, but followed that with the poorest performance in any third quarter in memory and allowed the Colts to take the lead in the fourth quarter, 31-28.
Packer fumbles were a key to this game. The Packers followed last game’s special teams punt return TD with a special teams fumble that set up the Colts to take their first lead in the second half. Darrius Sheppard lost the ball deep in his own territory and only an heroic stand by the defense kept Indianapolis to a field goal and a three point lead.
Aaron Rodgers then revived the offense, leading them 43 yards in 9 plays to the Colts 34 yard line. On fourth and one with 3 minutes and 11 seconds left on the clock, LaFleur rejected the field goal attempt to tie the game and went for the first down. Rodgers then threw his worst pass of the game. A floater that sailed a good 10 yards over the head of the intended target, Jamaal Williams.
The Colts could not run out the clock and Rodgers and company would get another chance. The last two minutes was nothing short of a flag fest as the refs called penalties on five of the eight plays. At first, the Packers defense tried to seal the Colts victory with two defensive penalties; the first for off-sides and the second on the next play, 12 men on the field. But the Colts offense seemed to want some official attention of their own and went on to commit three penalties on consecutive plays. This not only left Indy a third and 26 that Rivers could not convert, it almost cost them the game. Za’Darius Smith knocked the ball out of Rivers hands which Christian Kirksey scooped up and ran in for a potential score. But the cruel Zebras called it an incomplete pass leaving 1:25 on the clock for Rodgers to pull out a miracle. And he almost did. A 10 play drive highlighted by a bomb to Valdes-Scantling for 47 yards produced three points, tying the score.
The defense should get some credit in this game. They held a very good QB and Colt offense in check for most of the game except when they were hung out to dry in the third quarter by the offense and special teams. The defense played nearly every snap for fifteen minutes of the third quarter and still came up with big stops in the fourth to give the offense a chance.
Overtime started with a 9 yard pass from Rodgers to Aaron Jones but ended on the next play when Valdez-Scantling fumbled a reception as he crossed the line of scrimmage. It was the third lost fumble of the game and fourth turnover for the Packers on the night. The end result left Packers fans aching for what could have been. But there is no time for unproductive regret; the Bears come to town next Sunday.