Where was the urgency?
Quite simply, the Packers came out lacking the urgency to win, and it took far too long for them to get going.
This malaise hit every unit, with each making key mistakes which can be at least partly attributed to not bringing enough focus to their tasks.
The offense was unable to find a rhythm against a Colts defense which came in pretty awful all around (#31 in Defensive DVOA through 8 weeks; #29 against both pass and run, respectively). The running game had some decent plays (though wasn’t stuck to; probably could have helped), but Randall Cobb was inserted for a run — his first action of the game — and promptly fumbled away; it was a massive stroke of luck that Indianapolis didn’t get the recovery there. The passing game was muddled, but even when they had chances, they missed; deep throws by Rodgers to Jordy Nelson and Adams were each too long, while Jeff Janis decided to try catching the ball with his face rather than his hands on what could have been a game-changing TD. When they did manage to find rhythm and score, it was far too little, too late.
The defense came up with early turnovers, but found themselves getting beat on multiple opportunities; multiple times, the pass rush was unable to break through and take down Andrew Luck, letting him find guys open towards the middle of the field to save drives. Even with great field position on their side on multiple occasions, they let the Colts take long drives for scores, and failed to stop the Colts on third down (allowed 7-14 to be converted) to let those drives continue.
The special teams was an absolute mess as well. The opening kickoff was bad enough (with each segment of the plan failing), but they also let up a 61 yard return in the first half to go with the opening TD. They hit the Colts punter on his third attempt, and were only saved from themselves by a Colts penalty forcing a re-kick. Even the usually-reliable Crosby missed his second field goal in the past three games.
Whether it be that the team was just knocked off their feet early (bad) or completely overlooked their opponents (really bad), it was disheartening to see the Packers not bring the kind of energy or focus to come out fully prepared to compete and win this game. This sort of thing has hit even the most successful teams at times of course (Pittsburgh has a running tally of losses to teams with terrible records under Mike Tomlin, and New England seems to drop a clunker every year to a subpar opponent), but when the standings are so muddled and the team is struggling to find any sort of consistency game to game, you can’t come out just expecting to win; you’ve got to put in the work on the field to actually secure the victory.
Whatever the issue was this week, the players and coaches better come out more alert and ready, or the playoffs — much less a deep run — are a pipe dream.