Gore, Todman power Colts, before D holds off Packers 31-26
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.