Indianapolis Colts (4-5) 31, Green Bay Packers (4-4) 26
Sunday November 6th 2016 (at Green Bay)
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Ty Montgomery (88) runs after a catch against the Indianapolis Colts in the first quarter ( Adam Wesley/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wis)
GAME RECAP (ESPN)
(GREEN BAY) - Frank Gore rushed for two touchdowns, Jordan Todman had a tone-setting 99-yard return on the opening kickoff and the Indianapolis Colts held on late for a 31-26 win on Sunday over the Green Bay Packers. Andrew Luck shook off two interceptions in the first quarter to finish with 281 yards passing and a touchdown. The Colts, who had allowed an NFL-worst 31 sacks coming into the game, gave their quarterback decent protection. All of the Packers' numerous flaws showed as they fell to .500 with a lackluster loss to the Colts at Lambeau Field. The Colts put together the type of performance in Sunday's 31-26 victory over the Packers that makes you think they can get back on track. Indianapolis (4-5) heads into a bye week with a confidence-building victory after surviving a vintage Aaron Rodgers comeback. His 3-yard touchdown pass to Randall Cobb with 3:29 left got Green Bay (4-4) within five, capping a 14-point spurt in 4-plus minutes. Rodgers finished 26 of 43 for 297 yards with three scores and an interception. The Colts held on after a clutch throw from Luck, who dodged a potential sack by blitzing safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix to throw a 20-yard pass on third-and-10 with 3:07 left. Luck also found T.Y. Hilton for a 27-yard completion on third-and-2 with 2 minutes left to put the game away. Luck finished 23 of 36, throwing both interceptions to safety Clinton-Dix. But the shifty Luck maneuvered out of other tight spots including a 7-yard scramble on a bootleg on third-and-1 with 37 seconds left in the second quarter. He deftly engineered a 15-play, 96-yard drive that ended with an 8-yard touchdown pass to Donte Moncrief with 11 seconds left to give Indianapolis a 21-10 halftime lead. The score drew a smattering of boos from Packers fans. Familiar problems surfaced early for the Packers, who lost their second straight game. The offense had trouble getting going until the frantic fourth quarter. But the defense gave up at least 30 points for a second straight game, and special teams also hurt them.
FURRY FRIEND: A persistent squirrel also livened up the crowd at Lambeau Field. The squirrel first made its appearance in the first half, then returned late in the third quarter. With the Packers driving at about the Colts 12, the squirrel dashed along the goal line, forcing the officials to call timeout. The squirrel finally went out of bounds, but not before causing a stir on social media. The Packers had to settle for a 27-yard field goal with 1:46 left to get within 24-13. No word on if the squirrel made the traditional Lambeau Leap to celebrate.
PICK TWO: The Packers scored 10 points off Clinton Dix's two turnovers, including Jordy Nelson's highlight-reel touchdown catch on a 26-yard pass from Rodgers on the last play of the first quarter. Defensive back Darius Butler tried to cut in front of Nelson but the Packers' veteran receiver was able to pull the ball in at the last second. Butler did have an interception in the third quarter.
KICKING IT OFF: Todman set the tone for the Colts' fast start after returning the opening kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown . Josh Ferguson had the block on Clinton-Dix at around the Colts 25 to spring Todman. It was the first kickoff return for a touchdown against Green Bay since Nov. 9, 2014, when the Chicago Bears' Chris Williams returned one for a score. Todman added a 61-yard kickoff return in the second quarter.
UP NEXT: Indianapolis has a bye week before returning home to face Tennessee on Nov. 20 Green Bay begins a stretch of three straight road games with a trip to Tennessee on Nov. 13.
                      INDIANAPOLIS     GREEN BAY
First downs                     22            25
Rushes-yards                 28-85        19-116
Net Passing yards              270           289
Passing (Att-Comp-Int)     36-23-2       43-26-1
Sacked-Yards Lost             2-11           3-8
Punts-Average               4-55.5        4-48.3
Fumbles                        1-0           0-0
Penalties-Yards               4-35          4-25
Time of Possession           30:03         29:57
INDIANAPOLIS - 14  10   0   7 - 31
GREEN BAY    - 10   0   3  13 - 26
1st - IND - Jordan Todman, 99-yard kickoff return (Adam Vinatieri kick) INDIANPOLIS 7-0
1st - GB - Mason Crosby, 34-yard field goal INDIANAPOLIS 7-3
1st - IND - Frank Gore, 7-yard run (Vinatieri kick) INDIANAPOLIS 14-3
1st - GB - Jordy Nelson, 26-yard pass from Aaron Rodgers (Crosby kick) INDIANAPOLIS 14-10
2nd - IND - Vinatieri, 28-yard field goal INDIANAPOLIS 17-10
2nd - IND - Donte Moncrief, 8-yard pass from Andrew Luck (Vinatieri kick) INDIANAPOLIS 24-10
3rd - GB - Crosby, 27-yard field goal INDIANPOLIS 24-13
4th - IND - Gore, 4-yard run (Vinatieri kick) INDIANAPOLIS 31-13
4th - GB - Davante Adams, 2-yard pass from Rodgers (Pass failed) INDIANAPOLIS 31-19
4th - GB - Randall Cobb, 3-yard pass from Rodgers (Crosby kick) INDIANAPOLIS 31-26
INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS
RUSHING
GREEN BAY - Aaron Rodgers 6-60, Aaron Ripowski 6-34, Don Jackson 4-10, Knile Davis 3-4
ATLANTA - Terron Ward 6-46, Devonta Freeman 11-35, Matt Ryan 2-9
PASSING
GREEN BAY - Aaron Rodgers 38-28-246 4 TD
ATLANTA - Matt Ryan 35-28-288 3 TD
RECEIVING
GREEN BAY - Davante Adams 12-74, Jordy Nelson 4-94 1 TD, Jeff Janis 4-30 1 TD, Trevor Davis 3-24 1 TD, Geronimo Allison 2-21 1 TD, Knile Davis 2-4, Aaron Ripowski 1-(-1)
ATLANTA - Mohamed Sanu 9-84 1 TD, Austin Hooper 5-41, Devonta Freeman 4-23 1 TD, Taylor Gabriel 3-68 1 TD, Julio Jones 3-29, Jacob Tamme 2-19, Justin Hardy 1-13, Terron Ward 1-11
NFC NORTH DIVISION STANDINGS
Minnesota 5  3  0 .625 155  126
Detroit   5  4  0 .556 205  206
GREEN BAY 4  4  0 .500 198  187
Chicago   2  6  0 .250 131  179

AROUND THE NFC NORTH - WEEK 8
Sunday November 6th
Detroit 22, MINNESOTA 16 (OT) - Matthew Stafford says he would like to avoid being down late in the fourth quarter at all costs. The Detroit Lions quarterback sure looks comfortable in those situations this season. Maybe because he has had plenty of practice. Stafford threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to Golden Tate, who vaulted into the end zone in overtime to give the Lions a 22-16 victory over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. After Matt Prater kicked a 58-yard field goal as time expired in the fourth quarter to force overtime, Tate finished the opening drive when he ran through arm tackles by Xavier Rhodes and Harrison Smith and leaped in for the winning score. "Our guys have been able to do it. Not just do it once or twice, they've been able to do it a number of times," Lions coach Jim Caldwell said of his team's ability to come back from fourth-quarter deficits in all five of their victories. "I do think they have the level of comfort with it. It's a tough situation to be in, but they don't flinch and we haven't had any crucial mistakes in that period of time." Stafford completed 23 of 36 passes for 219 yards, two touchdowns and an interception for the Lions
Frank Gore scores the Colts’ second touchdown of the first quarter. (Photo: Dylan Buell, Getty Images)
A squirrel runs past the goal line during the 3rd quarter (Mike De Sisti/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wis)
(5-4), who have won four of their past five games. Tate had 11 catches for 79 yards. Sam Bradford completed 31 of 40 passes for 273 yards and a touchdown for the Vikings (5-3), who started the season 5-0 but have imploded since coming out of the bye. Stefon Diggs had a career-high 13 catches for 80 yards. "For the first time in three weeks this team fought like I expected them to fight," Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said. "If we continue to do these kinds of things, we'll win football games." Tyrunn Walker blocked a field goal, Kerry Hyder had two sacks and the Lions stuffed the Vikings on fourth-and-1 at the Detroit 5-yard line in the fourth quarter to keep them in position to rally late. After enduring a tumultuous week , the Vikings took a 16-13 lead with 23 seconds to play on a 1-yard run by Rhett Ellison. But Stafford hit Andre Roberts for 27 yards to set up Prater's game-tying kick. In overtime, Stafford hit Eric Ebron for 17 yards on third-and-3, Marvin Jones drew a pass interference call on Rhodes and Tate polished off the stunner with a hard-nosed catch-and-run down the sideline. "It was kind of planned," Tate said of his flip. "He just kind of accelerated it a little bit."