It was truly a tale of two halves in the matchup between the Green Bay Packers and the Indianapolis Colts. We will get to everything in this Week 11 Recap. But the biggest remark is that the Packers that played the first half against the Colts were not the same Packers that played the second half and overtime of the same game. They entered halftime with a 14-point lead and had scored touchdowns on three-straight possessions heading into the break. Then, somehow, they managed only as many points as turnovers for the rest of the game (including a crucial turnover on downs).
Throughout the entire second half and overtime, Green Bay had only one possession that lasted longer than 2 minutes, and that drive ended with the turnover on downs in Colts territory. Indianapolis managed to take away the Packers’ usual offensive identity (efficiency, time of possession, and protecting the football) with the halftime adjustments they made.
Ugly Mistakes Cost the Packers
This was a wild, ugly game by nearly all accounts. Both teams were extremely mistake-prone. Holding penalties by the Colts’ offensive line in the 4th quarter prolonged the game (& allowed the Packers to get the ball back and take it to overtime). Rodrigo Blankenship missed a field goal that gave the Packers possession with great field position in the second quarter. Green Bay was gifted 51 yards via pass interference right before half that turned into another 7 points. The Packers, for their part, turned the ball over 4 times (most in a game for them since 2017), 3 of which gave the Colts possession inside the Green Bay 35. On the final Indianapolis possession of regulation, there were 7 total penalties called between the two teams. One could safely argue that neither team really earned a victory.
Defense Had Their Moments
Despite the mistakes, there were signs of life in the defense throughout the day. For example, despite registering only 1 sack as a unit, they drew several holding calls throughout the game. Za’Darius Smith was a half-second away from forcing a game-defining fumble on the final Indy possession of regulation. They generated 2 turnovers on the day, an interception by Christian Kirksey, and a fumble forced by Raven Greene.
The offense regularly put the defense in terrible spots on Sunday. However, the defense held up their end of the bargain more often than not. They allowed only 6 points off the offense’s turnovers, and several times held the Colts to field goals when they had traveled deep into Green Bay territory. At first glance, with 34 points given up, it would be easy to think the defense lost Green Bay this game. In reality, that was not the case this week.
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Rodgers to Adams Remains Potent
Despite the loss, the Aaron Rodgers-to-Davante Adams connection remained alive and well. Adams caught 7 of his 8 targets for over 100 yards and a score. The two opened the game with a 33-yard over-the-shoulder connection. For his part, Rodgers was efficient and effective for most of the contest. He did have some notable marks on his ledger this week, with 2 turnovers to his name (a fumble and an interception). Rodgers still completed 71% of his pass attempts for over 300 yards and 3 scores.
Week 11 was a very difficult week to find positives from, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Corey Linsley left the game early with a back injury. But before that, he flubbed a snap that turned into a turnover on the opening drive. Penalties and turnovers marred the day for the Packers as a whole. Preston Smith had 2 offsides penalties called on him in the 4th quarter. Darrius Shepherd and Marquez Valdes-Scantling both had crucial fumbles in the 4th quarter and overtime, respectively.
The chance at a 2-minute drill in the 4th was almost squandered. The Packers allowed the Colts to gain 15 yards on 3rd and 19 and subsequently convert on 4th and 4 for 13 yards. Even JK Scott was off his game, with a long of only 40 on 3 punts. None of those punts were downed inside the Indianapolis 20-yard line.
There are a couple of things of which Packer fans can be sure: 1) the coaches will be harping on protecting the ball in practice this week and 2) both the offense and defense will watch plenty of film from this game. The players and coaches need to determine how they were so easily dismantled after halftime.
It certainly feels like the Tampa Bay game should’ve been the learning experience, but there are always bumps on the road. The Packers are still in pole position in the NFC North and hold all the necessary keys to achieve the top spot in the conference. All is not lost, this is a veteran team with veteran leaders that will take this week as a way to improve.
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