Saddled with another loss, Packers seeking spark
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) The Green Bay Packers need a spark after another loss at Lambeau Field.
The Indianapolis Colts jolted their confidence after a tone-setting 99-yard return for a touchdown by Jordan Todman on the opening kickoff. The Packers never quite looked like themselves until the frantic fourth quarter.
But an 18-point deficit with 9:35 left was too much to overcome in a 31-26 loss on Sunday to the Colts.
''Indianapolis jumped on us from the first play and we frankly never got it back,'' coach Mike McCarthy said.
The Packers (4-4) need to find answers quickly ahead of what could be a season-defining, three-game road swing starting next week at Tennessee. A team considered to be one of the top contenders in the NFC has a .500 record at midseason.
''We're 4-4. Played a lot of good football, that's the fact of the matter. But you are what your record is,'' McCarthy said.
He felt his team had a great week of practice leading into Sunday's game. Todman's return seemed to be a buzz-killer.
The offense overcame a slow start with two touchdowns with a 4-plus minute span of the fourth quarter. Randall Cobb's 3-yard touchdown catch from Aaron Rodgers with 3:29 left got Green Bay within five.
The Colts came up with two third-down conversions on the ensuing drive to put the game away.
If only the Packers had more energy earlier in the game.
''You kind of felt it over the entire sideline. We didn't have the same kind of enthusiasm and encouragement that we had the previous two weeks,'' Rodgers said. ''So we've got to look deep in the mirror there, because that's just not acceptable.''
Safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix had two interceptions in the first quarter, which the Packers turned into 10 points. Rodgers found Jordy Nelson for a 26-yard touchdown pass at the end of the first quarter to make it 14-10.
But Green Bay managed just 32 yards on nine plays on the next two series of the second quarter, with both drives ending in punts. The Colts ended the first half with an impressive 15-play, 91-yard drive that ended with an 8-yard touchdown pass to Donte Moncrief for a 24-10 lead with 11 seconds left in the quarter.
''We got outplayed in the first half, big time,'' veteran right tackle Bryan Bulaga said. ''We just didn't play well enough and that's pretty much all I can say.''
NOTES: Rodgers said he had his left foot stepped on ''pretty hard. I mean, that's a common frustration from time to time, just getting stepped on really badly. It's fine.'' ... Cobb, who was questionable for the game with a hamstring injury, did not play until the second half. ''I took a conservative approach with him. I was going to use him only when we needed him. Obviously, we needed him in the second half and he gave us everything he's got. Hopefully, he came out clean,'' McCarthy said. ... S Micah Hyde (shoulder) left the game in the fourth quarter. ... It was 68 degrees at kickoff, a record high for Green Bay and the warmest November home game for the Packers since 1959.
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