Five Things Learned

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Five Things Learned: Colts-Packers (2020, Week 11)

What were the main takeaways from Sunday’s Indianapolis Colts 2020 Week 11 overtime victory over the Green Bay Packers? Here are Five Things Learned.

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INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Colts improved to 7-3 on the year on Sunday with their 34-31 overtime victory over the Green Bay Packers in their 2020 Week 11 matchup at Lucas Oil Stadium.

The Colts went into halftime trailing by 14, 28-14, but for a second straight week, and for the third time out of their last four games, made the adjustments needed coming out for the second half to eventually take the lead, 31-28, with 2:06 left in the game — and then things got wacky from there (see below). In the end, however, Rodrigo Blankenship knocked in a 39-yard field goal in overtime, his first-career walkoff kick, to give the Colts a huge victory over the NFC's top-seeded team.

"Wow, what a game, exciting game, great team win," Colts head coach Frank Reich said. "All week our focus was two things: play together, and then we talked about the bigger the game, the smaller you have to make your world, narrow things down – focus and make it small, then be a beast in that small world. I think that's what our guys did."

Here are the FIVE THINGS LEARNED from Sunday's victory over the Packers:

» SLOPPY SECOND QUARTER: The Colts and Packers each had touchdown drives in the first quarter, but Green Bay certainly took advantage of some sloppiness on the part of the home team — in all three phases — to take a two-touchdown lead going into the halftime break. Offensively, the Colts ran the ball eight times for just 13 yards in the second quarter; and while quarterback Philip Rivers did thread the needle on a terrific touchdown pass to tight end Trey Burton late in the period, one of his passes earlier in the quarter was also tipped at the line and intercepted, and the Packers would turn that into a touchdown a few plays later. Defensively, Indy had a hard time stopping Aaron Rodgers, who completed 8-of-9 passes in the second quarter for 82 yards and two touchdowns. And on special teams, Rodrigo Blankenship "chunked" a 50-yard field goal attempt early in the period that banged off the crossbar. The end result? The Colts went into halftime trailing the Packers — who were also getting the ball to start the second half — 28-14.

» SUPERIOR SECOND HALF: While the second quarter didn't treat the Colts too kindly, they certainly seemed to make all the adjustments needed — and then some — to take control of the game in the second half. On offense, the Colts had 216 total net yards over the final two quarters; Rivers completed 12-of-19 passes for 135 yards and a touchdown for a 101.9 QB rating and Jonathan Taylor ran the ball 12 times for 64 yards (5.3 avg.). The Indy defense, meanwhile, was downright dominant in the third quarter, forcing two three-and-outs, and then hanging on from there in the fourth quarter. The Colts' special teams units, meanwhile, would account for three Rodrigo Blankenship field goals and also forced and recovered a Green Bay fumble on a fourth-quarter kickoff over the final two quarters of regulation, leading to an eventual field goal. "It just felt like we could dominate this game, it felt like we could take control," Reich said. "We talked about, 'Let's take control of the second half. Let's take control of this second half. We have the guys in here to do it and so let's just go out and do it one play at a time.' I give the guys a lot of credit. They played hard, they never stopped believing – obviously, against a very good football team, against a very well coached team and the players just did a great job."

» WILD FINISH: Stiil, despite the fact the Colts were able to take their first lead of the ballgame, 31-28, on a Blankenship 43-yard field goal midway through the fourth quarter, and then despite the fact Indy put itself in prime position to close out the game with the ball in its hands with less than two minutes to go, the Colts just couldn't get out of their own way to end regulation. Indy actually converted a 4th and 4 from the Green Bay 36 with 1:58 left, which, one would assume, would be enough to run the clock out; but holding calls on right guard Mark Glowinski and left guard Quenton Nelson over the next few plays pushed the Colts even out of field goal range by the end of their final drive of regulation, giving Rodgers and the Packers' offense a glimmer of hope. The Indy defense, meanwhile, saw Rogers complete four passes, including a 47-yard bomb to Marquez Valdes-Scantling near midfield, on its final drive of the ballgame, and Mason Crosby would force overtime with a 26-yard field goal to tie the game at 31 at the end of regulation. The Packers received the overtime kickoff, but two plays into the drive, rookie safety Julian Blackmon had an unbelievable effort to bust through a double team and knock the ball out of Valdes-Scantling's hands, which was recovered by DeForest Buckner; four plays later, Blankenship nailed the game-winner from 39 yards out. You just kind of had to be there to appreciate just how wild this one got at the end. "Yes, from an offensive standpoint you're going, 'Gosh, we shouldn't be in this situation. We've got to finish it. We can't put our defense in this boat,'" Rivers said of the Colts' struggles at the end of regulation. "So, you certainly have those thoughts but at the same time, you're fired up. I mean, you're believing that the defense is going to get a stop and they did."

» LET THE KIDS PLAY: Sunday was a terrific day for the Colts' 2020 rookie class. Wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. led the team with three receptions for 66 yards and scored his first-career touchdown on a 45-yard catch-and-run play in the first quarter. Running back Jonathan Taylor came alive in in the second half, showing some promising signs and finishing with 22 carries for 90 yards (4.1 avg.). Undrafted wide receiver DeMichael Harris had another flash play with a 19-yard run on a reverse. 2020 fifth-round pick Rob Windsor was able to make his NFL debut at defensive tackle, and even finished with his first-career tackle early in the second half. Then there was Blackmon, who made the play of the game when he forced the fumble on Valdes-Scantling in overtime, and who continues to pad his résumé for NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. And, finally, Rodrigo Blankenship connected on 4-of-5 field goals — including the game-winer in overtime — and both extra points for 14 total points. Not bad for a bunch of rookies. "It's a heck of a rookie class," Rivers said. "I think we have a cool mix of veterans and kind of the middle of career guys and then young guys. It's a nice mix."

» NOTES OF INTEREST:

— The Colts recovered three fumbles against the Packers, which is tied for the fifth-most in a single game for the team since 1950.

— According to ESPN Stats & Info, Aaron Rodgers is 1-2 in his career against the Colts when leading by 14 or more points. He is 95-2 against all other opponents, including playoffs.

Click here to check out more stats and notes from Sunday's victory over the Packers, courtesy of Colts Communications.

See the best images from Lucas Oil Stadium as the Indianapolis Colts defeated the Green Bay Packers in Week 11.

Colts fans can catch the re-air of Sunday's Week 11 overtime win against the Green Bay Packers on WTTV4.2 this Wednesday at 8pm presented by POWERHOME SOLAR.

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