Monday, September 27, 2004

Packers 31, Indianapolis 45. This would have been a big win for the Packers, so its not surprising that they lost. It would have been an upset victory under any circumstances, but to win after all the injuries at nose tackle and cornerback would have been a big upset. Fortunately, the self-destruction occured in the first half and the Packers spent the second half proving they made the proper adjustments at halftime.

First Half: How did the run defense play? Who knows. Indianapolis didn't bother to run the ball in the first half. Defensive coordinator Bob Slovik had good reason to worry about Indianapolis's run offense, because the Packers were without any nose tackles (DT Cleditus Hunt filled in at NT), but Indianapolis's offensive coordinator Tom Moore was apparently much more interested in attacking the banged up secondary. The pass rush was good considering that QB Peyton Manning is one of the hardest QBs to sack in the NFL. They got some pressure on Manning, but it wasn't nearly enough. Troy Aikman even commented on it that Indianapolis was playing 3 WR (that is their base/opening snap offense) but the Packers only played 4 defensive backs and the Packers were getting shredded. WR Reggie Wayne and Marvin Harrison abused CB Al Harris and Michael Hawthorne, and when the Packers blitzed it left the middle of the field open for WR Brandon Stokley. The Packers offense almost kept up with Indianapolis. Favre had two long TD passes to WR Javon Walker to answer each of Indianapolis first TDs. The Packers third drive was halted by a drop by WR Donald Driver, who had two big dropped passes in the first half. The Packers had three scoring drives and one missed field goal in the first half, which would have been enough in other games. Packers 17, Indianapolis 28.

Second half: The Packers opened the half as well as it could have went. The Packers scored a TD on the opening drive and the defense actually stopped Indianapolis. Two turning points for the defense; switching to the dime and bringing in CB Jason Horton. Horton didn't play well, but he moved Hawthorne over to cover the slot receiver, where Hawthorne plays much better. Indianapolis recognized the extra defensive backs (Horton and CB Bhawoh Jue) and ran RB Edgerin James, but James never really got on track (no runs over 10 yards). James had a TD run, but that was after a few previous attempts to pound the ball in at the goal line. WR Antonio Chatman and WR Robert Ferguson had two great kick returns, probably the best two kick returns in at least the last two seasons. Hopefully the special teams continue to block that well on kicks. The Packers were stopped on three offensive drives in the second half; the first two were stopped on 3rd and long after penalties and the other was the fumble by Walker. It was the only turnover of the game, but it was huge. Its hard to blame Walker; Walker was protecting the ball, but CB Jason David perfectly ripped out the ball. Favre took a knee to the back of the leg on his last drive of the game, and hopefully that is not a lasting injury. Packers 31, Indianapolis 45.

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