Falling in overtime, Packers know what could've been in Indy

Breakdowns galore, missed opportunities result in tough loss to Colts

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Colts K Rodrigo Blankenship kicks a 39-yard game-winning field goal in overtime of Sunday's 34-31 Indianapolis victory over Green Bay.

It'll go down as one of the both strangest and most heartbreaking games of the Matt LaFleur era to date.

The Packers looked like world beaters in the first half, broke down in all three phases in the second half, and then miraculously tied the game, only to lose due to a turnover in overtime.

The 34-31 defeat to the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday is a tough one to swallow. In the end, two teams that are leading their respective divisions and appear playoff-bound both left Lucas Oil Stadium with 7-3 records, and a lot to process.

"It turned quickly," LaFleur said of a game the Packers led, 28-14, at halftime. "It was a tale of two halves. I thought in the first half, there was a lot of great, complementary football.

"The second half was the exact opposite and we got beat in every phase."

Aaron Rodgers' three touchdown passes in the first half and Green Bay's defense getting two takeaways helped erase two of the Packers' own turnovers to put the team in solid position.

Then it all started falling apart.

While the Colts found a run game behind rookie back Jonathan Taylor (22 carries, 90 yards) and scored points on three straight drives to tie the game at 28, the Packers went three-and-out twice on their only chances in the third quarter. Both the defense and the offense had nothing going right.

Then the special teams got in on the act as Green Bay receiver Darrius Shepherd fumbled the kickoff. The Colts recovered, kicked a field goal with nine minutes left, and suddenly the Packers were trailing for the first time all day while having run just six offensive plays in the first 21 minutes of the second half.

"You need one of the units to step up and stop the bleeding, so to speak," LaFleur said.

It looked as though the offense might finally do that, driving to the Indy 34-yard line. But a failed fourth-and-1 with just over three minutes left had the Packers in dire straits.

Only the Colts squandered their chance to run the clock out and/or add a field goal by getting called for five holding penalties (including two on the same play) with the Packers accepting three of them.

"It was a little bizarre," Rodgers said, the understatement of the day. "It was a little strange, for sure."

After the Colts forced themselves to punt, the Packers had one last shot from their own 6-yard line and 1:25 on the clock. Rodgers promptly hit Marquez Valdes-Scantling on a 47-yard bomb on third-and-10 and followed with two completions to Davante Adams (seven catches, 106 yards, TD) to get into the red zone.

Rodgers' last shot to win the game in regulation was incomplete in the back of the end zone, and Mason Crosby's chip-shot field goal sent the wild game to overtime.

"We made some plays and kind of drew a couple things up on the spot," Rodgers said of the frantic late drive. "But maybe jamming one into 'Tae there on one of the last two plays might've been a thing a do. I'll look back on that and hopefully won't rue that too much."

Lucas Oil Stadium hosted a Week 11 matchup between the Green Bay Packers and Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020.

The Packers won the coin toss in overtime but didn't have the ball long. On the second snap, Valdes-Scantling fumbled on a screen inside the Green Bay 30-yard line.

The Packers' fourth turnover of the day turned out to be one too many and marred an otherwise productive game for the young receiver, setting up the Colts' game-winning kick, and that was that.

From a meltdown to a heart-stopper to a gut punch, all in a little over two quarters.

"We're disappointed. We don't do a lot of silver-lining losses. It's about real critiques," said Rodgers, who finished 27-of-38 for 311 yards with three TDs, one interception and a 110.7 passer rating. His numbers were nearly equivalent to those of his counterpart, Philip Rivers (24-of-36, 288 yards, three TDs, one INT, 107.2 rating).

"It's about taking care of the football. I think that's where it starts and ends."

Indeed, the turnovers are the biggest statistic that stands out, but the Packers also have to figure out how a game that was going so well could go so wrong.

From 28 points in 30 minutes to three points over the final 33. From 2.6 yards per carry against Taylor in the first half to 4.8 the rest of the game. And the list goes on.

"You've got to give them credit," LaFleur said of the Colts. "We knew what we were facing.

"Again, when you lose the turnover battle like that, it's usually going to end up in a defeat."

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