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Inbox: All that was missing was the tunnel exit

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Margeaux from Tallahassee, FL

Wow, was that great or what!

Winless on the road no more. Thank goodness.

Eric from Stramproy, Netherlands

Well, "nothing to play for" just turned into one of the most exciting and hard-fought victories in quite a while.

I wasn’t sure how much fight the Packers had in them early in the game, the way it started and with Alexander exiting early. But they showed plenty. Pro football is still pro football. Entertaining more often than not.

Tyler from Grantsburg, WI

The last time the Packers played at the Jets, only nine points were put up, all by the Packers. Nearly identical to the 82-point overtime shootout we were treated to yesterday!

How about an NFL team going 378 days between road victories, only to have the two wins on either end both finish with overtime touchdowns by the same player? All that was missing was the tunnel exit. The touchdown was in the wrong end zone or Adams could have done it again.

David from Lake Mills, WI

"Illegal shift, all 12 players were not set before the snap." (Penalty on the Packers in OT.)

Yeah, that was a new one. The irony was the defense had 12 players on the field, but the referee didn’t know it until after the replay review. Weird.

Mike from Kansas City, MO

While it was an entertaining finish to the game, it’s awfully hard to get excited about an OT game in which the defense gave up 31 points to the lowly Jets’ offense, special teams were scorched, and the offense was fairly quiet through three quarters. I love this team but it has a big talent deficiency in key places. Home games against Arizona and the Jets would have been an afterthought in past years. Feels like we’re going to be middle of the road for a while.

Special teams have been a thorn in the Packers’ side all season long. They gave the Jets 17 of their 38 points in my book (OK, maybe 13, because the defense needs to force the field goal post-Moore fumble after the holding penalty makes it first-and-20, but still). Better special teams next season will really help this team. They’ve simply given themselves too much to overcome in that phase. As for the other phases, for everything that’s happened late in games on the road this year, to see the defense go punt-punt-punt while the offense went field goal-touchdown-touchdown was refreshing, to say the least, regardless of the opponent.

Aumed from Moorhead, MN

Would it be wrong to say this will be the game we look at as a turning point when things get better next year?

If the Packers win their road opener next year with a strong fourth quarter, you have my permission.

Jordan from Walpole, MA

Insiders, I attended the game on Sunday and it was the best game I’ve ever seen in person. One thing I’ve heard though is that the officiating was really bad. I would like to know your thoughts on how the refs preformed on Sunday.

Twenty-six combined accepted penalties on both teams for 258 total yards is a lot. It wasn’t a pretty game, but it was called pretty tightly, start to finish.

Tom from Altoona, WI

What's up with the air raid sirens at the games? It must be more annoying at the stadium than it is on TV.

Understatement of the day.

Ron from Waukesha, WI

Aaron Rodgers is the grinch that stole our 2019 season. First he drained the big bag of free-agent cash with his new mega contract. Then he stole our high edge-rusher draft pick by winning Sunday’s game. There will be no joy in Titletown next year. Only more losing, lumps of coal and sad faces. And to all a good night.

Hope you can still enjoy Christmas.

Dan from Twin Lakes, WI

With MVP talk starting to ramp up, I saw an interesting comment: "If you were able to choose one player to start a new team, AND that player would have exactly the same year he had this year for the rest of his career, AND his contract would be exactly the same as his contract for this year, who would you choose? Remember, this is a yearly award. We want to decide who’s the MVP for this year and this year only. So for me, it’s Mahomes…and it’s not even close." I have to agree. Insiders?

When you throw in the contract clause, that answer falls into the category of “Duh,” Sunday night’s result notwithstanding.

Ken from Arvada, CO

I’m a big believer that the replay and challenge protocol needs to be revised. One thing that I’ve long been in favor of is unlimited challenges for the teams if the challenge is correct, but only two incorrect challenges. Currently, the two-challenge limit does not encourage the officials to get it right, but an unlimited amount will. Plus it sends a message to the league that the officials need to be evaluated. Might some replay revisions gain traction this offseason?

I’m not sensing that, but I’ve long been a proponent of a two-strikes-and-you’re-out format.

Dan from Minneapolis, MN

I don't know if expanding the playoffs is a great idea, but do you think one or two wild-card spots could be seeded regardless of conference, creating potential for interconference playoff matchups? This would also help with any perceived disparity between the NFC and AFC.

I’ve seen this suggested a lot, and it just wouldn’t make sense to me to play 12 of 16 games within your own conference and then begin the playoffs against the other conference. Maybe I’m missing something, but it would go against the tenor of the whole season.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

Can we at least slow down the “Rodgers is done” hype train?

Everyone needs a hot take to make it in this business these days, apparently. For the record, I entered it in 1995 and have no interesting in caving to the pressure now.

David from Green Valley, AZ

If Aaron's rushing TD in OT had not been nullified by a penalty would that have been a record of most rushing TDs by a QB in one game?

I don’t know if a Packers QB has ever rushed for three TDs in one game. I’ll have to dig into that this week. If Rodgers’ third TD had stood, he’d have been the first Packers player to rush for three TDs in a regular-season game since Ahman Green in 2002.

Judi from Caledonia, WI

I'm wondering, if Cobb is not re-signed is there a textbook slot receiver currently on the roster? One who exhibits the quickness needed? Usually those guys are smaller and it seems the WRs we have are bigger with an impressive catch radius. Could one or more compete for that position?

To use your word, Cobb is the only “textbook” slot receiver the Packers have. Rodgers has certainly expressed as much, that it’s not the same with others in that role. Regardless of what happens with Cobb, I wonder if Allison or Kumerow isn’t given a look there next year. We’ll see what 2019 brings.

Brett from Lakewood, CO

We as the Inbox need to collectively work on our onomatopoeic word choices. The words "bonk" and "boink" have been suggested as the sound the football makes when it hits the uprights, but the sound is clearly a "dong."

I’ve personally always been a fan of “donk.”

Packers WR Davante Adams celebrates his birthday on Dec. 24.

Chuck from Santa Ana, CA

Glass half empty: It took overtime to beat a 4-10 team. Special teams have been awful all year long. Fifteen players, including many starters, on IR. Coach fired. Only one road win.

Glass half full: Incredible amount of experience for a ton of very young players, some with great talent. Some core high-end players – Rodgers, Adams, Bakhtiari, Linsley, Clark, Martinez, etc. No give up. Opportunity for a great draft. With the right coach hired, this could be very special. Go Pack Go!

There’s work to do, but the opportunity will be there in the offseason, particularly in the draft, to get some quality work done. The Packers must take advantage.

Bill from Raleigh, NC

Hi Mike, a great comeback win, but it's the same OL/DL story. The Jets had four sacks and 12 QB hits. We had two sacks and two QB hits. What makes those numbers even harder to believe is that we ran the ball well enough and they didn't. Our first four 2019 draft picks need to be OL and edge rushers. Yes, I'm drafting out of need. Keep AR upright (not a laser reference) and pressure the other QB … and we'll have a successful season.

The Packers’ defensive line has held up admirably against the run lately, but it’s lost a steady pass rush without Clark and Daniels, and lack of inside push makes it tougher on the edge guys. I think we’re seeing the lack of depth and rotation with the edge rushers as the season winds down as well. Those guys have played a ton of snaps. I also think the offensive line not only has been dealing with many moving parts, but some guys who are playing are really gutting it out health-wise. All that said, I don’t disagree with your view of draft priorities, because you never have enough quality players up front on both sides of the ball, though they aren’t the only areas to address.

Jeff from Kenosha, WI

When are big decisions made by the league? Certainly something needs to be done to standard refs’ calls. But what about increasing game-day rosters to accommodate injuries? I’d also like to see 18 games, with teams playing everyone in their conference and twice in their division. Eliminate two of the televised preseason games.

Roster size and schedule length are issues that would have to be collectively bargained between the owners and players’ union. Neither would be a unilateral league decision.

Al from Green Bay, WI

I know, mulligans aren't technically permissible, but golfers sure love them. If you could grant the team a mulligan on any play in any game this year, which would it be?

Boy, there’s a long list of choices. If I had to pick one, I might go with the kickoff return in L.A. with two minutes to go. If Rodgers puts together a final drive there to beat the (then) unbeaten Rams, that’s the one change that makes me truly wonder how everything else might have played out.

Darren from Whitewater, WI

To you, who does Aaron Jones compare to in reference to accomplished NFL running backs?

I’m not sure. Maybe Devonta Freeman.

Robbie from Lake Arrowhead, CA

I happen to think that Jamaal Williams did a fantastic job against the Jets in rushing, receiving, and blocking. So my question is why is everyone being so quick to get him off the field?

Joe Philbin’s description of Jamaal Williams yesterday in his postgame press conference was perfect. If it hadn’t been for one missed block in pass protection, Williams might have played as perfect a game as the Packers could have asked for, given the circumstances. What a performance.

Will from Glendale, AZ

Nice win but we still finished 1-7 on the road. I think I can point to one area we need to improve next year.

Improving in smaller areas can help the big-picture ones. One step at a time.

Dave from Gainesville, VA

Mike/Wes, do you recall another receiver as smooth-looking as Davante? His game-winning catch looked just like he was catching the ball out of the JUGS machine, that was shown during the training-camp videos. Practice does make perfect. Happy Holidays to you both!

He’s as polished as any receiver in the league. He’s going to break Sharpe’s receptions record next week. I sort of hope he doesn’t break Nelson’s yardage record, just so he has another franchise mark to shoot for next year.

Brian from Schertz, TX

They could have mailed it in. They could have pulled starters after going down 15. They could have given up and played for draft position. But pride still matters in Green Bay. Congratulations to our team on a great come-from-behind win on the road.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

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