Green Bay Replay: Packers 34, Colts 14
The Packers don't play another game until Nov. 2, which means that fans across the state can use next Sunday to install storm windows, hang Halloween decorations or get an early jump on Christmas shopping.
No matter the task, the Packers made life more enjoyable for their fans by taking an impressive 34-14 victory over Indianapolis Sunday afternoon at Lambeau Field.
Here are some notes, stats and observations from the game, which left Green Bay with a 4-3 record and a share of first place in the NFC North Division:
Another 'A' for Aaron: Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, bothered by a sprained right shoulder, has turned in several solid outings in his first year as a starter but still plays as though he has something to prove.
Rodgers wasn't spectacular Sunday (21 for 28, 186 yards, one touchdown, no interceptions), but he out-played his counterpart, Peyton Manning (21 for 42, 229 yards, no touchdowns, two interceptions and a horrific 46.6 quarterback rating).
Not many quarterbacks at any experience level can claim to have outplayed Manning.
'A' for Aaron, Part II: Green Bay safety Aaron Rouse, whose playing time increased when Atari Bigby went down with an injury, dropped what should have been an interception and then snagged one and returned it 99 yards for a touchdown, tying the team record set by Tim Lewis in 1984.
Second to none: The Packers' secondary was tremendous. They played in the nickel package for most of the game, a move designed to neutralize the Colts' no-huddle offense.
Veteran cornerback Charles Woodson, who has been brilliant for most of the season, harassed Reggie Wayne all over the field. Linebacker Brandon Chillar shadowed tight end Dallas Clark.
Safety Nick Collins, who returned another interception for a touchdown, continues his transformation from underachiever into prime-time playmaking stud. It wasn't that long ago that it seemed embarrassing that the Packers assigned Collins the number of former standout LeRoy Butler. If Collins keeps it up, he's going to earn a trip to the Pro Bowl and a very lucrative contract extension.
On top of the ball, under the radar: An easily overlooked play in the victory: Korey Hall's fumble recovery on the opening drive. He saved Ryan Grant from embarrassment and set up a field goal. In the second quarter, DeShawn Wynn recovered a Will Blackmon fumble on a punt return.
Flag football: The Colts were plagued by 12 penalties (and a few non-calls that didn't go their way). Packers cornerback Tramon Williams tried to even the ledger. He was whistled for unnecessary roughness for a shove out of bounds, an illegal block in the back and an illegal contact penalty that bordered on pass interference.
Oops: Green Bay kicker Mason Crosby, normally impervious to pressure and concentration lapses, hooked a 36-yard field goal attempt at the end of the half.
Windy City: It was hard to tell how just how windy the conditions were at Lambeau Field -- until the referee tried to make some calls and the wind whipped through his microphone.
Maybe CBS should use sideline reporters to let us know ... on second thought, scratch that.
Marking a milestone: Packers receiver Donald Driver pushed his career reception total to 532 and moved passed James Lofton (530) and into second place on the all-time receiving list. Sterling Sharpe leads with 595.
Waiting game: The replay delays on the Colts' final scoring drive seemed a little bit ridiculous. The NFL should think about instituting a "mercy" rule for plays like that, provided they don't affect the over-under.
Get your kicks: Packers coach Mike McCarthy doesn't seem like a fan of "gadget" plays, so it was nice to see him order an onside kick after the opening drive ended with a field goal. Unfortunately, the strategy failed because the Packers couldn't field Crosby's dribbler before it skipped out of bounds.
But, it was a cool try.
Speaking of cool, Packers defensive lineman Johnny Jolly blocked a field goal attempt. That's not a gadget play, but Green Bay seldom executes it while the Bears and Vikings appear to be experts.
As for the punting game, Derrick Frost found a way to stay out of the spotlight. He didn't have to punt until the fourth quarter, and then had two touchbacks.
On the run: CBS announcers Jim Nantz and Phil Simms talked about Mike McCarthy's urging running back Ryan Grant to lift his knees and run like he did last season. Grant seemed to explode more into the line.
Didn't you used to be? Packers defensive end Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, who has drawn criticism for his lack of production this season, pressured Manning at one point.
Of course, he was offside on the play.
Back to work: The Packers had better enjoy their vacation. When they return to work, they face five games in November: At Tennessee; At Minnesota; Chicago at home. At New Orleans on "Monday Night Football" and home against Carolina.
Drew, didn't George Teague return a pick 101 yards against at the Silverdome in a wild-card playoff game against the Lions in January of 94? Rouse- Lambeau Record. Teague- Packers Record?
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