GREEN BAY – A furious fourth-quarter rally by the Packers came up one possession short when Green Bay couldn’t stop Indianapolis in the final 3 ½ minutes, and the Colts left Lambeau Field with a 31-26 decision on Sunday.
With the loss, the Packers fell to 4-4 and into third place in the NFC North, one game behind first-place Minnesota (5-3) and a half-game behind Detroit (5-4).
Colts QB Andrew Luck finished 23-of-36 for 281 yards with one TD and two interceptions. WR T.Y. Hilton had six catches for 82 yards, and RB Frank Gore carried 19 times for 60 yards and two scores.
Packers QB Aaron Rodgers was 26-of-43 for 297 yards with three TDs and an interception. He also added 43 yards rushing. WR Jordy Nelson had seven catches for 94 yards and a TD, and WR Ty Montgomery rushed seven times for 53 yards.
Here’s a recap of the action.
The Packers opened the final quarter with S Morgan Burnett getting a sack of QB Andrew Luck on third down, forcing a punt. Offsetting penalties on the first punt – roughing the punter on the Packers, and holding on the Colts – led to a second punt, which was a touchback. An illegal formation penalty on Indy gave Green Bay the ball on the 25.
The Packers picked up just one first down, though, and had to punt.
The Colts got right back into scoring territory, as Luck hit WR Donte Moncrief on a 39-yard reception behind CB LaDarius Gunter. RB Frank Gore ran for 6, and then Luck found TE Jack Doyle for 12 yards for a first down in the red zone. Packers CB Micah Hyde was slow to get up and left the field with a shoulder injury.
A defensive holding call on S Kentrell Brice then gave the Colts a first-and-goal on the 9, and two runs by Gore finished off the drive with a TD. The Colts led 31-13 with 9:35 left.
The Packers got back within two scores on a 2-yard TD pass to WR Davante Adams. The drive started with a 7-yard pass to WR Ty Montgomery, with 15 yards tacked on for an unnecessary roughness penalty. QB Aaron Rodgers then hit Adams for 40 yards and WR Randall Cobb for 11 before the short TD pass. Rodgers pass on the two-point try was incomplete, so Green Bay pulled within 31-19 with 7:40 to go.
Green Bay’s defense got a three-and-out, as Luck’s third-and-6 pass to Doyle came up a yard short of the first down.
Rodgers then hit four passes in a row – 18 yards to Montgomery, 13 yards to Nelson, 9 yards to Rodgers and 3 yards to FB Aaron Ripkowski – before scrambling for 21 yards to the Indy 16. A pass to Nelson for 13 made it first-and-goal on the 3, and Cobb snagged the TD pass with 3:29 to go. K Mason Crosby’s PAT made it 31-26.
The Packers had a golden chance to stop the Colts and get the ball back right away, but S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix missed the sack of Luck on a third-and-10 blitz, and Luck hit Doyle for 20 yards over the middle to the Indy 45. The Packers used their last timeout with 3:07 left after the first down.
The Packers caught a break on the next series and got one last chance to stop the Colts. On second down, Hilton caught a 6-yard pass but went out of bounds, stopping the clock and setting up third-and-2 with 2:21 left.
Luck then hit Hilton over the top for 27 yards, and the Colts ran out the clock.
The Packers entered the fourth quarter trailing the Colts by 11 points on Sunday at Lambeau Field.
The opening drive of the second half didn’t go any better than the first half for the Packers. After moving to the Indy 32, a holding penalty preceded a sack. Then, the Packers caught a break when a roughing-the-passer penalty wiped out a Colts interception in the end zone, but Indy CB Darius Butler picked off QB Aaron Rodgers on the next play anyway, giving the ball back to the Colts.
The Packers’ defense responded with a three-and-out, and the offense got going again. Passes of 13 yards each to WR Jordy Nelson and WR Ty Montgomery was followed by a 25-yard catch-and-run by WR Jeff Janis to get into the red zone. The game was stopped briefly while a squirrel was running around at the south end of the field where the Packers were trying to score, and Green Bay’s drive also stalled. K Mason Crosby was good on a 26-yard field goal, and the Packers were within 24-13 with 1:46 left in the period.
The Colts drove 96 yards on the final possession of the first half to score a touchdown and take a 24-10 halftime lead over the Packers on Sunday at Lambeau Field.
To start the second quarter, the Colts were at it again on the kickoff return. RB Jordan Todman opened the quarter by returning the Packers’ kickoff 61 yards to the Green Bay 45. RB Frank Gore had a run and a reception for 11 yards apiece, but the Packers’ defense stiffened in the red zone, and Colts K Adam Vinatieri made a 28-yard field goal to extend Indy’s lead to 17-10.
The Packers blew two huge chances for big gains on their next drive. On second down, QB Aaron Rodgers was off-target on a deep ball to an open WR Jordy Nelson. On the next snap, Rodgers deep throw for WR Jeff Janis was on target, but Janis dropped it. The ball appeared to hit his facemask before his hands as it was coming down.
The Colts got just one first down before S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and LB Nick Perry combined on a third-down sack to force a punt.
The Packers got across midfield on their next drive, with WR Ty Montgomery running twice for 21 yards, and TE Justin Perillo catching a 9-yard pass. But Rodgers was sacked on third down by former Packer Erik Walden, and P Jake Schum pinned the Colts on their own 4-yard line.
The Colts got out of trouble as Luck hit WR Phillip Dorsett for 13 yards on third-and-9 from their own 5. T.Y. Hilton then added a 17-yard grab. RB Robert Turbin ran for 7 yards to convert on third-and-2, and then Luck hit passes of 12 yards to TE Jack Doyle and 9 yards to Turbin. Luck ran it himself on a read-option to convert on third-and-1 to put the ball on the Green Bay 20. A 12-yard pass to Doyle was followed by an 8-yard TD pass to WR Donte Moncrief, and the Colts had driven 96 yards in 15 plays to score with just 11 ticks left on the clock.
A back-and-forth first quarter ended with the Packers trailing the Colts, 14-10, on Sunday at Lambeau Field.
The Colts got on the board on the opening kickoff, as RB Jordan Todman returned it 99 yards for a touchdown. It was 7-0 right away.
The Packers answered with a field goal on their opening drive. WR Ty Montgomery broke off a 24-yard run on the first play, and QB Aaron Rodgers hit TE Richard Rodgers on back-to-back passes for gains of 12 and 22 yards to make it first-and-goal. A sack by LB Lavar Edwards helped stall the drive, though, and K Mason Crosby was good from 34 yards out to bring Green Bay within 7-3 with 10:46 left in the period.
Green Bay got the ball right back, as S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix intercepted Luck and returned it 20 yards to the Indy 29. DT Mike Daniels hit Luck in the pocket and that might have taken some steam off the throw.
The Packers couldn’t capitalize, though. A three-and-out was followed by Crosby missing wide left from 48 yards out, keeping the score 7-3.
The Colts got right back to work, as Luck hit WR Phillip Dorsett for 15 yards and WR T.Y. Hilton for 20 to get into scoring range. Hilton added a 5-yard reception, and then TE Dwayne Allen caught a 15-yard pass over the middle against tight coverage from S Morgan Burnett to convert on third-and-5. On first-and-goal from the 7, RB Frank Gore took a pitch to the left and waltzed untouched into the end zone for a 14-3 Colts lead with 4:28 left in the quarter.
The Packers went three-and-out, and the Colts took over on their own 13, but three plays later, Clinton-Dix got his second interception of the game when Luck threw high for TE Jack Doyle.
From the Indy 47, this time the Packers converted. Rodgers scrambled for 12 yards, hit TE Rodgers for 9 yards, and then with a free play as the Colts jumped offside, he found WR Jordy Nelson for a 26-yard TD. Nelson took the ball away from CB Darius Butler near the pylon for the score. That was the final play of the first quarter.