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Inbox: Fits and starts won't get the job done often enough

That has to change over time

New York Giants tight end Daniel Bellinger celebrates with teammates after scoring a touchdown
New York Giants tight end Daniel Bellinger celebrates with teammates after scoring a touchdown

Rick from Medford, WI

You think the NFL would consider shortening the games to 30 minutes?

I admire your sense of humor.

Jeff from Woodridge, IL

"They are who we thought they were!" Famously said at a news conference a few years ago should now be, "We aren't who we thought we were." We're average at best on defense and bottom third on O. Sigh.

I get the resignation and disillusionment. I truly do, and you weren't the only one to make the same reference. Those are the losses that make any fan feel sick. There's still a lot of football left, but at the same time it's no longer early. It's midseason, and performances like that are disconcerting. This team has played enough football now to not get completely overwhelmed and out of sorts, especially in front of a friendly crowd. I don't think I've ever been more disappointed in a regular-season defeat, in terms of how it unfolded, in at least a few years.

Mike from Algoma, WI

How unincredible can it get? This team reminds me of a powerful sports car with a flat tire.

The weird and annoying thing is it isn't always flat. It just goes flat at random times.

Kyle from Osceola, WI

Third-and-2 in an obvious four-down situation and we go pass-incomplete, pass-incomplete. Help me understand...

I hear you, and I'm sorry to sound like a coach, but I do want to look at the film. The open-air press box was at field level, we were on around the 15-yard line, and the last drive was going away from us, so I had no look at what the Giants were doing defensively there. I want to check it out.

Greg from Downers Grove, IL

Did not realize the time change meant we did not have to show up for the second half. Argh! Per my perspective this was not on the rookies.

No one said it was. LaFleur said it best after the game. It was a collective failure. He was as close to speechless as I've heard him after a game, trying to explain what went wrong. There was simply too much awful football to process in the moment.

Dustin from Warrensburg, MO

We need more games like our first half.

We need to stop talking about halves or eventually there will be just as many gut-punch losses as thrilling wins.

Joe from Cedar Rapids, IA

Why do we continue to ignore the run? It happens too often. Players may need to play better but our play calling has not been good for several weeks. This team is underachieving on offense and defense. Hopefully this game helps everyone refocus and we start to play up to our ability and not live off the hype.

I don't sense anyone's living off the hype. There's no more to worry about at 3-2 anyway. I agree there's underachievement afoot, but other than the one three-and-out in the fourth quarter with three straight passes, I think pinning this on play-calling is shortsighted. Sure, they've had regrettable series here and there, and that one today was a head-scratcher for me, but we've seen this offense get into a rhythm and look very effective at times. Execution smooths rough edges.

Russell from El Centro, CA

Why did the Packers get away from all the motion and misdirection that worked so well in the first half? I know Watson was injured but certainly someone else can fill that role.

Actually, I'm not sure anyone can or they wouldn't have scrapped it when he left the game. That's part of the problem with the offensive inconsistency, in my view.

Kevin from Colby, WI

The stupidity of the team keeps reaching new heights. How do you allow that many third-down conversions with below-average QB, no receivers? Then after tying the game, the three dumb play calls with nothing to Aaron Jones or AJ Dillon and give the ball back for winning score.

The lapses on third down defensively were as surprising as they were frustrating. The Packers gave themselves plenty of chances to get off the field. I would imagine there will be discussions about changing things up, playing more aggressively at times. Sitting back a bit worked fine against Brady for 58 minutes, but it's been exploited by two lesser QBs for extended stretches the last two weeks.

Josh from Milwaukee, WI

Bigger surprise: Passive defense vs. a hobbled QB with limited healthy receiving options, or the offense averaging 5 yards per carry but only attempting 19 rushes?

Too difficult to choose, but if I had to pick one I'd go with the 19 attempts against a defense giving up 140 on the ground per game. I will say Daniel Jones wasn't hobbled in the slightest. Either that ankle injury was overplayed by them, or his adrenaline kicked in and masked any discomfort.

Matt from Kula, HI

It's time to realize that the defense can't carry this team. Despite the hype, they have been anything but dominant. The coaching staff needs to realize this and stop being content to have the offense play to protect their lead once they get one.

Complementary football wins consistently. Fits and starts won't get the job done often enough. I didn't see the Packers protecting a lead, though. They drove for three points to end the first half and opened the second half with a good drive but got sacked on third-and-8 to lose the shot at a field goal. After that, the game was tied. They weren't protecting anything.

Michael from Manitowoc, WI

Boy, that was embarrassing. How did they let an injured team, missing most of its stars, bully their way to the end zone? Sheesh.

The Giants stayed patient and weren't worried about gashing the Packers with big plays. Then they made one on the crosser to Barkley, when he was (somehow) uncovered and took off in open space. They were willing to nickel and dime the Packers to death and consumed 15:10 on the clock on those two scoring drives (10 points) to start the second half. They never got greedy.

Jeremy from Encino, CA

Football fields will always be 100 yards, have two end zones, and two goal posts, but the stadium around it can have massive variation. Does Tottenham Hotspur Stadium have features that make it feel more like a soccer stadium and less like a football stadium?

The place was built with hosting NFL games in mind, so it felt every bit like an American football stadium while we were there. What a venue. Fantastic, though the playing surface looked like it had some seams in the turf. I'm sure the players didn't care for that.

Bob from Waukesha, WI

Please explain pass interference. Several plays the Packer receiver looking to make a reception and the defender had his back turned to the quarterback and runs into the receiver. Randall Cobb near the end of the half and two to Allen Lazard in the second half. I thought the defender needed to turn his head around, not run through the receiver.

The contact was minimal and they let it go. What can I say? Usually defenders don't get the benefit of the doubt when they don't turn their head around, but when they're not reaching and grabbing with their arms, they aren't doing anything wrong. The receivers' instincts are to do everything they can to fight for the catch. But the savviest ones will stop early, try to reach around the defender, and get run over to draw the flag. If they get run over after the ball goes by, it's too late.

Chris from Eau Claire, WI

Can we get an apology from Mr. "6-1 heading into Bills game"? Proof of why you don't overlook ANY opponent in the NFL, let alone three.

This next week suddenly looks a lot tougher, doesn't it?

Paul from Ledgeview, WI

Mike how long do you believe it will take the Packers to recover from this game? Will this delay learning who the Packers are as a team by two or three weeks?

They have to put all the disappointment and frustration to good use. I think the last few weeks have shown us who the Packers are – a wildly inconsistent bunch – and that has to change over time. But in the immediate, the next challenge begins, right? Recover from the long trip and get ready for a noon kickoff at Lambeau on Sunday. No rest for the weary.

Bob from San Diego, CA

Has Aaron Rodgers won in every stadium? Is London last one pending?

Rodgers has won at least once in every NFC stadium he's played in. He's still got several to chalk off in the AFC, though: Buffalo, New England, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, Tennessee and Denver. He's also never played at LA's SoFi Stadium and at the new one in Vegas.

Dan from Allen, TX

Was The Grove as great as it looked on their website?

It was a really nice place. I just wish it hadn't been so far outside the city. I managed to get downtown for a few hours to see some sights on Saturday, but I spent as much time traveling back and forth as touring. I told Wes it felt like being a foreigner visiting Chicago for the first time and having your hotel in Pleasant Prairie.

Sarah from Neenah, WI

How did you like your trip to London?

It was an awfully quick turnaround for such a long distance, but I managed to tour the Tower of London, see the Crown Jewels, and take selfies in front of some iconic spots. All things considered, I did what I could.

Ken from West Valley City, UT

II, so to get over to London, was the team upgraded to a larger aircraft, or did the regular type of aircraft fly over there with a stop or two for refueling? An eight-hour flight is a long time, and I would think the range would be decreased by the cargo (team, equipment) on board. I know there is no math in the Inbox, so I tried to phrase non-mathematically.

We were on a Virgin Atlantic 787, and the flight over with the tailwind was actually less than seven hours (6:40). The flight back last night was 7:45.

Jeff from Montclair, VA

My key takeaway from the first quarter of this season is that of all units, our special teams are the most consistent and solid. Who would have thought that last January? Well done to Coach Rich and the We-fense.

It's interesting that both teams narrowly avoided a disaster on a punt return. Either one of those could've been a huge turning point.

Jackson from Wausau, WI

This breaks my heart to say, but from my perspective the Giants wanted it more. The Packers have let these teams hang around the past few weeks and this week it came back to bite them. Up by 14 we need that knockout blow or takeaway and give them no hope.

Easier said than done, clearly. I'm not going to criticize the team's effort or desire, but the Giants definitely fed off their ability to take that highly partisan European crowd out of the game for a while. Their smaller contingent of fans was ruling the day and those players were eating it up.

Edward from Appleton, WI

A long 17-game schedule, expanded playoffs, international games, and Thursday Night Football is leading to dull, unentertaining football games, as teams try to pace themselves to endure the rigors of the season. Seattle vs. Denver was dreadful, and these types of games are becoming more commonplace every week. How concerned should the NFL be?

It was so dreadful you apparently forgot it was Indy vs. Denver. But in any event, occasional duds are inevitable when the NFL pushes the players' bodies in this regard. Sometimes on Thursdays you get that snoozer last week, and sometimes you get Packers-Cardinals in Arizona from last year. You never know.

Ivan from Dublin, Ireland

While it's always a good day when you attend a game, and the atmosphere in London was great, the loss was a hard one to take and it was disappointing. It seemed that there was no rub of the green at all and penalties at the wrong time stopped momentum and gave the Giants a way out of trouble. It seems momentum is the key for this team, once they lose it, it becomes hard for them to stop the rot...

The flags played a part in this game, but the Packers should've been able to beat that team regardless. It felt like there was an urge to get the momentum back quickly on offense, that type of urgency was lacking on defense, and both approaches failed.

John from Worthington, OH

The Packers kept Barkley in check except for one play and they protected the football. The Packers win if they play 60 minutes of good, balanced, complimentary football!

If you had told me before the game the Packers weren't going to turn the ball over and Barkley would have just 106 yards from scrimmage – 81 on two plays (run for 40, catch/YAC for 41) – I would've been sure of a victory. It's a "how in the world did that happen" game, except that's the NFL and that's why every game has to play itself out.

Chase from Birmingham, AL

I just wanted Adam to know that even though it appears Mike missed his reference in Friday's post, I didn't. Seeing Waylon Jennings get a mention brightened my day. Country lives on, brother.

Country music references have a 99 and 44/100ths percent chance of getting past me.

Arthur from Eau Claire, WI

Michael and Weston: Welcome home, I hope you are both well. I also hope that you all can take some time to rest and recuperate. That game is over, time to prepare for the next one.

Appreciate that. I'm exhausted but it comes with the territory.

Dale from Fenton, MI

Whole lotta season left. Whole lotta work to do.

Happy Monday.