Failure to convert
Despite the early hole, Green Bay had some great chances to make something happen offensively.
They scored a field goal on the first drive to get to 7-3, and then the defense stepped up. Twice in the next three drives, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix came down with interceptions of Andrew Luck to give the Packers an opportunity to jump up on the scoreboard.
Unfortunately, they didn’t fully take advantage of the good fortune provided by Clinton-Dix.
On the first of those picks, Green Bay began the drive on the Indianapolis 29; from there, the expectation should be a touchdown in practically all cases, with a field goal being a disappointment.
Despite the excellent starting position however, the drive went nowhere.
Aaron Rodgers hit Davante Adams for a 2 yard gain on first down. He went back to him on second down, but this play lost 3 yards. Rodgers looked for Richard Rodgers (who saw a surprising amount of usage in this game) on third down, but they were unable to connect; this left Green Bay with a long field goal attempt.
Even with the disappointment of failing to jump ahead on a TD in great field position, the expectation of some kind of points still seemed likely; Crosby had missed only one field goal all season, and that was a block. He seems to officially have joined the large group of kickers struggling to hit their chances now though, missing on the 48 yard attempt.
Green Bay would convert their second INT into a TD, but the failure to convert on the first one left them down on the scoreboard; after the missed field goal, Indianapolis had good starting field position (their own 38) and used it to go for another TD.
After the two INT-preceded drives were completed, Green Bay found itself down 14-10 when they should have been at either 14-13 or even up 17-14 — and this is assuming Indianapolis still scores their TD without the great starting spot.
There was obviously plenty of time left at this point, but this could have been an entirely different outcome had these early turnovers both become points.
Having a TD on that first drive puts the Packers in the driver’s seat, and would have had the offense in a situation where they can turn to the running game more often — something which worked well when they did use it.
Even the field goal could have been an immense help late. Assuming the other scoring stays the same, the team would still have needed to go for two late in their comeback; if the defense had managed to stop Indianapolis on one of their final two third down tries, Green Bay would have only needed a field goal to win the game from there, rather than a touchdown.
This is far from the only reason the team lost, but the path this game could have gone on had that first INT-preceded drive produced points stands as a massive missed opportunity which could have given the Packers what they needed to curb the early tide of the contest.