Packers blow 14-point halftime lead, fall to Colts 34-31 in OT after MVS fumble
INDIANAPOLIS - Stuck between a rock and a hard place, it was the Green Bay Packers' offense that finally flinched against the top-ranked Indianapolis Colts defense Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium.
A Marquez Valdes-Scantling fumble in overtime set up sudden death, and the Colts' Rodrigo Blankenship kicked a 39-yard field goal to seal a 34-31 comeback win against the Packers. In a game that saw too many momentum swings to count, and perhaps more than one questionable penalty from the officials, the Packers’ collapse dropped their record to 7-3, knocking them out of the top spot in the NFC playoffs seeding behind New Orleans (8-2).
That they even got to overtime was an adventure that included a game-tying drive that started from their own 6-yard line inside the fourth quarter’s 2-minute warning. With the Packers facing third-and-10 from their 6-yard line, MVS had a 47-yard reception on that final drive. Yet his day will be remembered for the game-changing, overtime fumble.
Here are five observations from Sunday’s overtime loss:
When the Packers have hit their lulls this season, they’ve really hit their lulls. Such was the case in Sunday’s third quarter. They entered the second half with a two-touchdown lead, thanks to a Jamaal Williams touchdown run set up by Valdes-Scantling drawing a long defensive pass interference penalty near the goal line against Colts cornerback Rock Ya-Sin. A good quarter would have put the game away. Instead, the Packers' offense had only six plays in the period, stuck on the sidelines as the Colts put together two long scoring drives. It was tied at 28 by the early fourth quarter.
Sloppy ball security
Coach Matt LaFleur will want to work a little extra on ball-security drills this week. MVS was hardly the only issue in that department. The Packers entered with five giveaways all season, but they had four turnovers Sunday. Their first drive was promising until it ended on a fumbled snap. Aaron Rodgers (27-for-38, 311 yards, three TDs) threw his fourth interception of the year in the first half to Ya-Sin, and Darrius Shepherd fumbled a kickoff in the second half.
Adams’ hot streak continues
Davante Adams became the first NFL receiver to reach 10 touchdown catches this season with his 5-yard grab from Aaron Rodgers in the second quarter. He leads NFL receivers in touchdown catches despite missing two games and half of a third because of a hamstring injury. Adams now has caught a touchdown in five straight games. He had eight touchdowns total in those five games. He is, quite possibly, the NFL’s best receiver this season.
The Packers will want to clean some things up in their pass coverage. The Colts’ first two touchdowns came on mismatches. On the first, linebacker Christian Kirksey got stuck with covering receiver Michael Pittman Jr., who ran an underneath crosser wide open for a 45-yard touchdown. On the second, tight end Trey Burton beat outside linebacker Preston Smith down the left seam. Both plays matched a bigger defender against a faster receiver, and speed often wins in the NFL.
If you have “holding on the offense” stuck in your head the way you do with a really bad song, there’s a reason. Sunday’s game included 15 penalties, more than half (10) for offensive holding. One holding was declined, but regardless it did a lot to disrupt an otherwise entertaining game. The Colts got the short end of the stick, called for seven holding penalties.