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Instant Debate

Best game of the first half? Packers-Colts earns critical acclaim

There has been no shortage of high-scoring affairs, plus we've seen a few defensive slugfests and several last-minute stunners. What was the best game of the first half of the 2012 season?

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  • Gregg Rosenthal
  • Colts' comeback win over Packers had everything, including an inspirational subplot

Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts' comeback win over the Green Bay Packers was the best game. It had all the ingredients of a contest we'll remember for years: Luck's coming-out party, a career game for Reggie Wayne and a huge upset.

That it was also the first game for the Colts since they'd learned of Chuck Pagano's cancer diagnosis vaults it ahead of the competition.

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  • Steve Wyche
  • Lions-Titans thrilling as they come, but nothing more impactful than Tate Gate

The best game was the overtime, high-scoring, special-teams infused questionable-decision fest that ended with the Tennessee Titans defeating the Detroit Lions, 44-41, in Week 3.

The throwback lateral on a Titans punt return, dubbed "The Music City Miracle II". ... Detroit scoring two touchdowns in the final 18 seconds of the fourth quarter -- including Titus Young's Hail Mary grab as time expired -- to send the game into overtime. ... The Titans scoring five touchdowns of more than 60 yards. ... Forty-six points combined in the fourth quarter. This game was as thrilling and stomach-wrenching as they come.

The most impactful game, though, came in Seattle: Tate Gate. The Seattle Seahawks gained a victory and the Green Bay Packers were tagged with a loss when replacement officials wrongly awarded Golden Tate a touchdown catch after he snatched the ball away in a Hail Mary scrum on the game's final play. The game essentially broke the labor impasse between the NFL and game officials. It also might end up factoring into the playoff picture, having given the Seahawks a victory that could loom large and Green Bay a painful loss that could really hurt.

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  • Charley Casserly
  • Colts' Luck-led come-from-behind win over Packers on a level of its own

My choice is the Indianapolis Colts' come-from-behind 30-27 win over the Green Bay Packers. Not only was it exciting, but you had the drama of this being the Colts' first game without head coach Chuck Pagano.

Indianapolis trailed, 21-3, at the half ... only to come back and take the lead in the fourth quarter. Aaron Rodgers put the Packers ahead with 4:30 to go. Then Andrew Luck put the Colts back in the lead with a four-yard touchdown pass to Reggie Wayne with just 35 seconds left. The Packers weren't finished; they were able to get close enough for a field-goal try. But Mason Crosby missed his 51-yard attempt with three seconds left, giving the Colts a dramatic victory.

Luck threw for 362 yards and two touchdowns, running for an additional score for good measure.

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  • Jason Smith
  • Nothing made me gasp more than Jaguars-Colts in Week 3

I'm going for the game that made me gasp more than any other this year. (OK, not including New York Jets games, all of which give me heart palpitations.) In Week 3, the Jacksonville Jaguars led the Indianapolis Colts, 16-14, with two minutes left. The following all took place in those final, frantic seconds (which, for me, is the game) ...

Trying to run out the clock, Maurice Jones-Drew fumbles, but recovers. The Jaguars wind up having to punt from their own 21 with 1:46 left. Bad news. But Bryan Anger boots a 60-yarder to put the Colts back at their own 19. What a bailout. However, Luck needs just 18 seconds to get Indy in field goal position, and Adam Vinatieri gives them the lead. Game over, right? But after the ensuing kickoff, Blaine Gabbert hits Cecil Shorts on a stunning 80-yard touchdown pass for the 22-17 advantage. Game over, right? Needing a touchdown with just 45 seconds to go, Luck completes a third-and-10 pass for 36 yards to put the Colts on the Jacksonville 26. Luck has one last shot at a touchdown, but two passes to Reggie Wayne fall incomplete.

I had no rooting interest in this one, but I was up on my feet for it in the NFL Network newsroom. I walked away firmly convinced that Luck was as good as advertised coming out of Stanford. He was cool, accurate and looked like a 10-year vet leading his team in the last 120 seconds. I love seeing games that signify the birth of a new star in a sport; this was Luck's. The crazy thing? He lost.

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