INDIANAPOLIS — At some point — maybe a week or month from now — not many people will remember how the Indianapolis Colts beat the Green Bay Packers when they look at the Week 11 results.
That’s probably a good thing, because the Colts did everything to give the Packers the game on Sunday.
Holding penalty after holding penalty. Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers being Aaron Rodgers in leading the Packers down the field in less than 90 seconds to tie the game to send it to overtime.
But the Colts’ defense, which was impressive for most of the second half, redeemed itself by forcing a fumble in overtime, and Indianapolis didn’t squander its opportunity this time.
Rookie kicker Rodrigo Blankenship made a 39-yard field goal four plays later to give the Colts a 34-31 overtime victory over the Packers. The Colts scored 20 of the final 23 points of the game.
The Colts will gladly take it, but it shouldn’t have been this difficult. They had a chance to seal the game when they had the ball in Green Bay territory with 1 minute, 58 seconds left and a 31-28 lead.
Milking the clock ended up being a challenge for the Colts. They were called for five penalties, only burned 25 seconds off the clock and ended up punting while leaving Rodgers one timeout remaining.
But that doesn’t matter. The Colts won the game and are 7-3.
The victory was the Colts’ most noteworthy since they beat Kansas City in Week 7 last season. That’s a span of 19 games, if you’re counting.
The Colts badly needed this victory in more ways than one. It helped them remain in first place in the AFC South after Tennessee went on the road to beat Baltimore. It also showed that the Colts are capable of beating a Super Bowl-contending team.
Yeah, the Titans are a good team, but they’re not mentioned in the same class as the Packers. The Colts and Titans will meet for the second time in three games on Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Troubling trend: Getting called for penalties wasn’t just an issue for the Colts on their final offensive drive of regulation. It was a problem all game. The Colts were called for nine holding penalties. That was the highest number of holding penalties in a game since Philadelphia did that in a game during the 2003 season. Colts All-Pro guard Quenton Nelson struggled for most of the game, as he was called for three holding penalties.
Ground game going: Colts coach Frank Reich altered his offensive approach in the second half. He didn’t try to get his team back in the game by trying to get into an air show against Rodgers, because the Colts couldn’t go toe-to-toe against the Packers in the air. The Colts kept their patience and pounded the ball on the ground over and over again. The Colts rushed for 97 of their 140 yards in the second half and overtime. Rookie running back Jonathan Taylor rushed for 90 yards on 22 carries.