Shot with Luck, Colts rally past Packers 30-27
GREEN BAY – There is no reason to sugarcoat it.
The harsh reality is that the Green Bay Packers aren’t a very good team right now. That sobering truth resonated throughout Green Bay’s 30-27 loss to the Colts on Sunday afternoon at Indianapolis.
Good teams don’t blow 18-point halftime leads.
Good teams don’t allow a rookie quarterback to outplay their MVP.
Good teams don’t drop passes, miss assignments, abandon the running game, commit foolish penalties, surrender 27 points after intermission or mismanage the clock with the outcome in the balance. The Packers, who fall to 2-3, did it all in their discouraging loss to the rebuilding Colts.
Indeed, this was a team effort.
The Packers collectively and decidedly veered off course like Mason Crosby’s last-second field goal attempt. The Packers lost by three points but it didn’t seem that close. Not by a long shot.
For their part, the Colts and quarterback Andrew Luck blended resourcefulness and resiliency to shock the heavily favored Packers. Indianapolis receiver Reggie Wayne looked like he was having a game of catch with his little bro in the back yard. Wayne hauled in 13 passes for 212 yards and the go-ahead touchdown late in the game.
The Packers had no answer for Wayne. At times, in fact, Green Bay defensive coordinator Dom Capers didn’t seem to know the question. He reacted to Wayne’s dominance the way head coach Mike McCarthy adjusted in the first half at Seattle, which is to say, “Too little, too late.”
The Colts, 2-2, came in with a losing record and heavy hearts after head coach Chuck Pagano took medical leave earlier in the week after being diagnosed with a treatable form of leukemia.
Indianapolis left with a great many good things to build on.
The Packers left licking their wounds.
“I thought (the Colts) played well,” McCarthy said. “Obviously, it was a tough week for them. I thought they played with a lot of emotion, a lot of energy. Frankly, I’m more focused on my football team and my football team is not playing the way we are capable of playing.”
Defensive lineman Ryan Pickett, while talking with reporters after the game, was more direct: “We’re not a very good team.”
Not now the Packers aren’t.
But that doesn’t mean they can’t or won’t get it together.
That isn’t a homer’s viewpoint; it’s a historian’s perspective.
Travel back in time to Monday, Oct. 18, 2010.
Just 24 months ago, the Packers were 3-3 after back-to-back losses at Washington (16-13) and at home against Miami (23-20). The Redskins finished 6-10. The Dolphins went 7-9. Neither reached the playoffs.
The Packers proceeded to win seven of 10 and qualify for the playoffs as a wild-card team. The rest, as they say, is Super Bowl history.
Fast-forward to Monday, Oct. 8, 2012.
The Packers appear indisposed entering next Sunday night’s nationally televised game against the unbeaten Texans at Houston. It seems there are only two ways they can win at Houston: “No way!” and “No (bleeping) way!”
To read the online comment sections of Wisconsin newspaper’s sports sections is to think the Packers are coming off a 1-15 season.
The criticism is mostly misdirected or over the top. Contrary to these raging fanatics, McCarthy isn’t an idiot, Capers doesn’t need to be fired and Aaron Rodgers shouldn’t cancel his TV commercials.
Remember the good old days when every win elevated McCarthy and Rodgers that much closer to “greatness” and every loss was somehow special teams coordinator Shawn Slocum’s fault?
The Packers aren’t a very good team right now. Their offense is out of sync and their defense is in a state of flux.
The Colts didn’t expose the Packers’ shortcomings. The problems (poor pass protection, unforced errors, etc.) were painfully familiar. But that doesn’t mean the season is a bust.
Based on McCarthy’s track record, Rodgers’ brilliance and the very nature of today’s NFL, where the best teams either sustain excellence (see the 2011 Packers) or build up to it (see the 2010 Packers), the Packers will be in the playoff mix come December.
Bottom line: Either Packers fans believe or they don’t, and there are more reasons to be positive than pessimistic.
Last week’s prediction: Packers 35, Colts 10 (Colts 30, Packers 27)
This week’s prediction: Packers 31, Texans 28
Chris Havel is a national best-selling author and Packers News authority. His latest book is Lombardi: An Illustrated Life. Havel can be heard Monday through Friday from 4-6 p.m. CDT on WDUZ FM 107.5 The Fan, or on AM-1400, as well as Fan Internet Radio (www.thefan1075.com). Havel also hosts Event USA’ MVP Parties the evening before home games.