Packers vs. Colts Take Two: Reggie Wayne and Andrew Luck Shine for Indianapolis

Nate Dunlevy@NateDunlevyGuest ColumnistOctober 8, 2012

They don't come any more thrilling than that.

The Indianapolis Colts' 30-27 upset of the Green Bay Packers is worth a second look for sure.

Just how did the Colts climb back into a game they trailed by 18 points at the half?

Was it scheme? Was it emotion? Was it voodoo?

A second look a the game film tells the whole story.


The Real Story

After getting torched by the Packers for a half, the Colts secondary played dramatically better in the second half, paving the way for the comeback.

While Andrew Luck and Reggie Wayne will get well-deserved headlines, it was the complete transformation by the Indianapolis corners in the second half that was truly remarkable.

Both Jerraud Powers and Cassius Vaughn looked like different players in the second half, as Aaron Rodgers was repeatedly frustrated in his attempts to find open men downfield.

Rodgers regularly had to scramble and took multiple sacks late in the game simply because he had no one to throw to. In all, Rodgers had a poor game despite three touchdown throws, and the Colts rode a series of defensive stands to the comeback.

His inability to get a play off before using his final timeout likely cost the Packers crucial yardage they needed on the field-goal attempt that would have sent the game to overtime.

Offensively, there wasn't a big difference between the two halves for Indianapolis. They failed to execute in some key spots in the first half, but made the same plays in the second.

Throughout the game, the remarkable pocket presence of Luck was on full display as he bought time with his legs to hit receivers for nice gains.

And then there was the play of Wayne. The veteran was absolutely dominant, spearing huge gains all afternoon.



Obviously, Wayne and Luck get top billing, but Donald Brown was effective all game, especially on runs to the outside.

Defensively, Cory Redding had a pair of sacks, though both were aided greatly by outstanding coverage.

Vaughn's play in the second half certainly keyed the comeback, and Powers' interception came on outstanding man defense.



Once again, the Indianapolis line was terrible in pass protection as Luck was hit and sacked often.

Donnie Avery struggled to get open all afternoon, running poor routes in the process. In three of four games, he has had no more than three catches and fewer than 40 yards. His big game against the Minnesota Vikings looks more and more like a mirage.

Rookie T.Y. Hilton had several opportunities for big plays, but dropped some tough passes down the sidelines.


The Secret Play

In any close game, there are several plays that could have swung the outcome.

In the first quarter, Rodgers faced a 3rd-and-6 from his own 33-yard line. He dropped back to pass and had Jordy Nelson wide open down the right sideline.

Rodgers completely air-mailed Nelson on what would likely have been a touchdown pass.

The play was indicative of the kind of day Rodgers had overall. He left points on the field early and got frustrated late.


Coaching Notes

Bruce Arians did a fine job in his first try at being a head coach.

He incurred a 15-yard penalty challenging a touchdown that was not able to be challenged but claimed in the postgame comments he did so because he knew the result of the ensuing kickoff would be a touch back either way.

Given that the call on the field was correct, the demonstration was ill-advised.

He made the correct call in going for it on fourth and inches just over mid-field in the first quarter. The sneak by Luck failed, but the right strategic choice was made.

He went for a two-point conversion with the Colts trailing 21-19 late in the third quarter. While that might be seen as aggressive by some, it was certainly a justifiable choice. The failed conversion was moot as the Packers also failed on a two-point conversion try of their own.


Keep an Eye On

Here's where it gets interesting for the Colts. Yes, they are 2-2 on the season. However, they have already played three home games.

The next four games are all winnable as they take on the Jets, Browns, Titans and Dolphins, but the same team that stormed back to an unexpected win against the Packers is the same team that got beat by the Jaguars at home and that was down 21-3 at halftime.

Who are these Colts? Are they a sleeper playoff team? They do have eight winnable games left on the schedule.

Are they a sleeper to pick in the top 10? They did lose at home to Jacksonville who may be the worst team in football.

With the Jets coming off of Monday Night Football and clearly a mess, the Colts have chance to make a strong statement with a key road victory.

A loss, and they'll be right where everyone thought they'd be through five games before the season started.


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