I can think of few things more appropriate than a team, whose head coach announced earlier in the week he would be out, likely for the season, as he battles a treatable form of Leukemia, being beaten down in the first half only to come roaring back as if they were battling for their lives, to upset the Green Bay Packers 30-27.
While it may be breast cancer awareness month, it might as well be cancer awareness. There is little doubt it was exactly that for the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, adorned in pink garb playing under the slogan "Chuck Strong."
So let Chuck Pagano be the hero of the game. He is most certainly a hero of life, as is anyone that has to endure cancer of any sort.
He was surely on the minds of the players all week and during their inspirational second half comeback victory on Sunday.
Honorable mention goes to Andrew Luck and Reggie Wayne, who connected on six of seven completions during the game winning drive, including the winning score. Wayne finished with 13 catches for a career high 212 yards and the score. While Luck was 31-of-55 for 362 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT, and an 81.0 passer rating.
The zero goes to Aaron Rodgers who is just 4 of 11 on passes over 20 yards on the season. Last year he was 30 of 57. I bring this stat up because Rodgers has lost his confidence to throw the ball downfield. More precisely he has lost confidence in his offensive line.
He is so worried about getting hit he doesn't look down the field. On at least two occasions he missed seeing players deep. Jordy Nelson once and Randall Cobb once when he had the time to get them the ball. Those are the only two occasions where I could see the receivers downfield. I am certain it is happening more often.
Another second half play illustrates this. Rodgers had a full four seconds to throw the ball before he was sacked. An exasperated left tackle Marshall Newhouse threw his arms up as if to ask, "How long do I have to block for?"
Even the announcers mentioned it. Play-by-play announcer Thom Brennaman asked if the Colt secondary, who were playing with nothing but back-ups at cornerback, were covering the Packer receivers that well. To which color commentator Brian Billick really had no answer, because the answer is no. Then they proceeded to show a play where one of the deep route runners did in fact have separation.
The coaching staff is doing Rodgers no favors. They need to recognize this and adjust accordingly. Either provide more protection or stop calling the plays. Green Bay has had tremendous success using a running game with short timing routes.
Finally, Rodgers burned the teams last time out with eight seconds to go. From the Colt 33-yard line, Green Bay lined up to run one more play to try and get a field goal attempt closer than the 51-yard attempt that was ultimately taken. But, Rodgers failed to get the ball snapped as the play clock wound down wasting the final time out and forcing the long range kick.
Ultimately, the onus falls on Rodgers. Even the rookie Luck showed more poise than last season's MVP, Aaron Rodgers.
Rodgers could use a little "Chuck Strong" himself.