Rodgers Sharp; Harrell Rallies Packers to Win

Aaron Rodgers staked the Packers to a 10-0 lead and Graham Harrell led a frantic finish at Indianapolis. Harrell directed Green Bay to 11 points in the final 35 seconds of a 24-21 victory.

Aaron Rodgers looked in midseason form.

Jermichael Finley, too.

It's the rest of the Green Bay Packers' offense that looked terrible until the final moments of a 24-21 victory over the Indianapolis Colts on Friday night at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Entering the game in the fourth quarter, No. 3 quarterback Graham Harrell's first four series had more turnovers (one) than first downs (zero), and the Colts looked like they were on their way to a 21-13 win. But suddenly, Harrell got on a roll, and aided by two penalties by Chip Vaughn, he moved the Packers into position for the tie. On fourth-and-10 from the 11, Harrell bought time, almost crossed the line of scrimmage, retreated and hit rookie tight end Ryan Taylor for a touchdown with 35 seconds remaining. Harrell then hit Taylor the game-tying two-point conversion.

Coach Mike McCarthy then went for the onside kick, which was recovered by undrafted rookie M.D. Jennings at the Packers' 48. Harrell hit rookies Tori Gurley for 12 yards and D.J. Williams for 8 yards to set up Mason Crosby's 50-yard field goal as time expired.

"We came here to win games," McCarthy said. "Preseason games are tough. You try to manage the injury report as you go through the football game. It was important for us to give our football players a chance to be successful. We had a lot of ambition to win the game without going to overtime. It was a fun last 3 or 4 minutes of the game."

In potentially the No. 1 offense's last game action before the season kicks off on Sept. 8 against New Orleans, Rodgers completed 19-of-23 passes for 204 yards, including an 18-yard touchdown pass to Finley. Green Bay led 10-0, with the touchdown and a field goal on its first two no-huddle drives, but the physical and mental errors have to be a cause for concern with Rodgers and Co. likely to play little — if at all — in Thursday night's preseason finale against Kansas City at Lambeau Field.

Rodgers was sacked four times in his one half of work. Pro Bowl left tackle Chad Clifton, who has played sparingly in the preseason and barely at all in team situations at practice, was abused by Dwight Freeney. One of the sacks came on third-and-4 from the Colts' 6, forcing a short field goal by Crosby that made it 10-0.

After the Colts missed a field goal, Rodgers returned after leading the offense to 142 yards on back-to-back drives of 10 and 14 plays. But on second-and-12, Donald Driver dropped a pass and Clifton allowed his second sack — due in part to James Starks failing to chip Freeney. The three-and-out marked the first no-huddle failure of the preseason.

Morgan Burnett's overaggressive play handed the punchless Colts — playing without injured Peyton Manning — a 57-yard touchdown, but Rodgers got the Packers rolling again with the no-huddle. Jordy Nelson's 34-yard catch-and-run was sandwiched between screens of 11 and 14 yards to Starks. Rodgers hit Chastin West for a 20-yard touchdown but Clifton was flagged for holding, Tommie Harris beat reliable Josh Sitton for a sack and Crosby misfired from 41 yards.

In three preseason games, the Packers have gone no-huddle on six possessions. The results: three touchdowns, a field goal, a missed field goal and a punt.

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at

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