Colts Lose to Green Bay Packers, 59-24, in Third Game of 2010 Preseason
As Jim Caldwell saw it, the assessment was obvious.
While there were positives in the Colts' third preseason game, too much went wrong – too many mistakes, too many turnovers, too many penalties – to be happy with what happened during a 59-24 loss to the Green Bay Packers in front of 68,987 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis., on Thursday night.
Yes, it was only preseason.
And yes, certain players did good things.
But overall, Caldwell said other things stood out far more.
"We're doing some evaluating and those kinds of things," Caldwell told Colts Radio. "That's part of the game, but we still did not play very well. You have to call it like it was, like you see it. There were too many penalties . . . We turned the ball over and gave them some opunities and short fields to score points.
"We were not as sharp and as crisp as we'd like to be across the board."
The Colts, who took a 17-7 lead in the first half, were penalized 12 times for 116 yards and also committed four turnovers to one for the Packers. Green Bay turned the turnovers into 14 points, including a fumble recovery for a touchdown.
The Packers had 33 first downs to 18 for the Colts.
"Any time you have penalties and turnovers, that's not what you want," Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, who completed 15 of 26 passes for 214 yards and two touchdowns with an interception while playing two and a half quarters, told Colts Radio.
"We just shot ourselves in the foot," Colts wide receiver Pierre Garcon told Colts Radio. "We made mistakes. We all just didn't play our best. We started off strong, but we didn't finish. It's not what they did. It was our fault, our mistakes. We'll watch the film. We'll practice on it and we'll grind.
"We're a good team. We just have to keep doing what works for us, learn from our mistakes and get better from it."
Caldwell said there were positives noticeable immediately afterward, with starting running back Joseph Addai rushing well, wide receiver Reggie Wayne having his best statistical game of the preseason and safety Bob Sanders "finding his way back to his usual form."
The Colts held the Packers to 93 yards rushing on 34 carries, and the Colts rushed for 81 yards on 20 carries, with Addai rushing for 69 yards on seven carries. Wayne caught seven passes for 96 yards and a touchdown.
"There were some positive things that happened," Caldwell said, "but overall, I just felt like we self-destructed a little bit in that game."
Caldwell said the mistakes are correctable.
"Certainly, we can get them corrected and will get them corrected," Caldwell said. "They are things we typically don't do, so we have to make certain we get those things straightened out and get back to performing like we know how."
Two of the penalties came in situations about which Manning and Caldwell each had expressed concern earlier in training camp.
The NFL this season implemented a rule mandating that the umpire – the official that often places the ball for the center snap – line up behind the quarterback rather than in the area of the linebackers, where umpires previously lined up. The rule was put in place for safety reasons to protect the umpire.
The league also mandated that quarterbacks wait to snap the ball until the umpire has lined up behind the deepest offensive player. Manning and Caldwell each had expressed concern that the added time to wait for the umpire could slow the Colts' quick-tempo offense.
The Colts on Thursday were penalized twice for snapping before the official was set.
"That's what the preseason is for, to evaluate that particular rule," Caldwell said. "It's new. It's different. The mechanics, they had talked about them and talked about changing them somewhat. The intent of the rule was in place to make sure the umpire was moved to a position where safety was not an issue. It has done that where they moved him, but it should not slow the game down. I don't think they intend to slow the game down, so that's an area that we wanted to see if their tempo was going to match ours.
"We've been functioning in that realm for quite some time. The last couple of weeks, we've run the same exact way, the same type of up-tempo game and didn't have any difficulty."
The Packers led 28-17 after a wild, back-and-forth first half that featured effective offense from each team.
The Colts took the opening kickoff and drove 70 yards on two plays, taking a 7-0 lead when Manning passed 18 yards for a touchdown to Garcon, playing for the first time this preseason. Addai's 49-yard run came on the first play of a two-play drive.
Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers' six-yard pass to wide receiver Donald Driver on the ensuing series made it 7-7, after which Indianapolis scored the next 10 points to take a 17-7 lead.
Kicker Adam Vinatieri's 41-yard field goal late in the first quarter gave the Colts a 10-7 lead, and with the Colts' defense holding the Packers scoreless on their next two possessions, Manning drove the Colts.
Early in the second quarter, Manning passed 10 yards to Wayne for a 10-point Indianapolis lead. Green Bay scored the half's final 21 points, with Rodgers passing 15 yards to tight end Jermichael Finley, Korey Hall recovering a muffed punt in the end zone and Rodgers passing three yards to wide receiver James Jones with :04 remaining in the half.
The Colts' starters played one more series in the second half, with Green Bay pushing the lead to 38-17 with a 28-yard field goal by Mason Crosby and a two-yard touchdown pass from backup quarterback Matt Flynn to fullback John Kuhn.
Curtis Painter, the Colts' backup quarterback, directed an eight-play, 80-yard drive on the ensuing series, a possession capped by a one-yard touchdown run by Donald Brown. Painter completed four of four passes for 73 yards on the drive.
For the game, Painter completed 6 of 11 passes for 97 yards with an interception.
The Packers continued a dominant performance with three fourth-quarter touchdowns, with Flynn starting the quarter with an 11-yard touchdown to tight end Andrew Quarless. Running back Kregg Lumpkin then made it 52-24 with a one-yard touchdown run before Jason Chery finished the scoring with a 75-yard punt return for a touchdown.