Packers pull out last-second win as Peyton watches from sideline

The Green Bay Packers scored a touchdown, and converted a two-point conversion, an onside kick and a 50-yard field goal in the last 35 seconds to beat the Colts, 24-21.

Veteran quarterback Kerry Collins was signed this week in case Peyton Manning isn’t ready to play in Week 1. Collins didn’t play tonight, which left Curtis Painter with the opportunity to showcase his talent in hopes of winning the backup quarterback position.

Painter and the Colts got the ball first, but despite a couple solid runs from Joseph Addai, the Indy offense stalled.

Although Green Bay’s first drive resulted in a 3-and-out, their second drive would prove to be much more efficient.

Aaron Rodgers directed a 10-play, 81-yard drive, mostly without a huddle and from the shotgun. The drive resulted in an 18-yard touchdown pass from Rodgers to TE Jermichael Finley.

Early in the second quarter, the Packers were threatening to score another touchdown, after Rodgers hit WR Donald Driver for a 12-yard gain on 4th-and-8. However, a 3rd down sack by the Colts’ pro-bowl DE Dwight Freeney forced Green Bay to settle for a 26-yard field goal.

Things got worse when Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri missed a 39-yard field goal attempt late in the first half. But with 5:33 remaining in the first half, Painter recognized a broken coverage, and hit a wide-open Reggie Wayne in-stride, for a 57-yard touchdown.

After a 36-yard pass to Pierre Garcon, Painter connected with WR Chris Brooks for a 7-yard touchdown with 26 seconds remaining in the first half.

At halftime, the Colts led the Packers, 14-10. Painter was 11/21 for 171 yards and 2 touchdowns (93 of those yards came on two passes).

Rodgers halftime stat line was more impressive, even though his team was trailing. Last year’s Super Bowl MVP completed 19/23 passes (82.6%) for 204 yards and 1 touchdown. He was also sacked four times by the Indianapolis defense.

Green Bay turned up the pressure in the third quarter, sacking Indianapolis quarterbacks twice, once by Vic So’oto (who caused a fumble, which was recovered by Jarius Wynn) and again by Jamari Lattimore. So’oto and Lattimore were both undrafted rookie free agents.

Crosby added a 32-yard field goal with 8:35 remaining in the third quarter, making the score 14-13 in favor of Indianapolis.

When Graham Harrell entered the game for the Packers, he was facing a one-point deficit. What didn’t help his cause was when he threw an interception to Colts DB Mike Newton, who returned it 39 yards to the GB 3-yard line.

Dan Orlavsky wasted no time capitalizing on his third-string counterpart’s mistake, when he threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to David Gilreath on the very next play.

The Colts then led 21-13. As a matter of fact, after Painter’s touchdown pass to Brooks in the second quarter, they led for the next 29:51.

That’s when things got interesting.

Colts reserve DB Chip Vaughn was flagged for two penalties (unnecessary roughness, taunting) on back-to-back plays, giving Green Bay 30 extra yards on their second to last drive.

Then with 35 seconds remaining, Harrell scrambled around and completed an 11-yard touchdown pass to TE Ryan Taylor. Harrell found Taylor on the next play as well, for a successful 2-point conversion, tying the game, 21-21.

Perhaps in an effort to avoid overtime, Packers head coach Mike McCarthy called an onside kick, which his team recovered at their own 47-yard line.

Five plays later, Crosby hit the game-winning 50-yard field goal at the end of regulation.

Green Bay is now 2-1 in the preseason, and will play their final 2011 preseason game Thursday night at 8:00, when they host Kansas City.

Indianapolis falls to 0-3, and will wrap up this preseason with a trip to Cincinnati, Thursday night at 7:00.

Game notes

  • The Packers scored 11 points in the final 35 seconds of tonight’s game.
  • In week 3 of last year’s preseason, Indianapolis lost at Green Bay, 59-24.
  • Since 2005, the Colts have lost 25 of their last 29 preseason games (including their last 8 in a row).
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