Aaron Rodgers threw three touchdowns and had little trouble driving against the Indianapolis Colts' highly regarded defense for long stretches of Sunday's cross-conference affair. But four turnovers doomed Green Bay in crunch time, with Philip Rivers and Co. overcoming a multi-score deficit to steal a 34-31 victory in overtime. The Colts improve to 7-3 with the Week 11 win, while the Packers fall to the same record while remaining atop the NFC North.
Here are some immediate takeaways from Sunday's big Indy victory:
Why the Colts won
They did exactly what they needed to do: Run the ball and play good defense. Green Bay's front was no match for Jonathan Taylor and Jordan Wilkins, who combined for over 110 yards on the ground and consistently kept the ball -- and clock -- rolling in Indy's favor. More importantly, the "D," which was far from perfect and surrendered plenty of quick-strike throws from Aaron Rodgers early on, stepped up when it mattered most, forcing three fumbles and picking off Rodgers to keep Green Bay from icing away its halftime lead. The most underrated reason of all: Philip Rivers was really good. Yes, he had a few of his trademark head-scratchers, but 288 yards and three TDs in a shootout with Rodgers? He looked calm and confident in a big game.
Why the Packers lost
Their offense died at halftime. Up 21-7 and 28-14 at different points in the first half, Green Bay refused to sustain momentum in the latter two quarters by either coughing up the ball at inopportune times or collapsing on the ground, where Aaron Jones got just 10 carries. Things weren't much better on the other side of the ball. Za'Darius Smith had a nice sack that probably could've been a forced fumble and/or defensive touchdown, and the secondary had a couple of near-picks against Rivers. But it also gave up a handful of big plays and let Rivers spread the ball all over the field, with seven different Colts players hauling in at least two passes.
Tie game. Fourth quarter. The Colts had just kicked a field goal to knot it up at 28. And then, on the ensuing kickoff, the Packers' Darrius Shepherd coughed up the ball. Indianapolis took over at the Packers' 28 and proceeded to take the lead with a 43-yard field goal. Green Bay eventually sent the game to OT, but that swing of momentum tilted things permanently in the Colts' favor.
Play of the game
It's got to be Rock Ya-Sin's pick of Rodgers, with the Colts corner practically bursting through the air to steal the ball:
The Colts (7-3) will be back at home the Sunday after Thanksgiving for a Week 12 rematch with the Tennessee Titans (7-3), who just topped the Baltimore Ravens. The Packers (7-3), meanwhile, will return to Lambeau for a "Sunday Night Football" showdown with their rival Chicago Bears (5-5), who are coming off their bye week.