Dave from Waterford, WI
What do you think the Packer's chances are against the Charger's this coming week?
Better than yours on a punctuation test. Sorry, it's been that kind of week for me already.
John from National City, CA
Is this a full-time job or just when you want to?
See what I mean?
Tom from Montrose, CO
What's the win-loss when wearing the throwback uniforms that the Packers will wear this Sunday vs. Chargers?
1-1. Beat Washington in 2021 and lost to the Jets last year.
Jeff from Dorr, MI
I was at Lambeau Field last time Chargers were there in 2015. Rivers had like 500 yards passing and Keenan Allen had 157 of those yards. How do we keep him from another day like that? Packers won on a goal-line stand. So loud! Great memory.
In a different set of throwback uniforms, too, if I recall. I don't get to see a ton of AFC football, but the sporadic times I've watched Allen over the years, he displays a remarkable ability to produce any way he's asked. Wes and I were talking the other day about how he's had a relatively unheralded 10,000-yard receiving career. He's a tough one-on-one matchup for anybody, and I think it'll take help over the top to keep him in check.
Mike from Lady Lake, FL
Wow, talk about snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Lutz misses from 41, only to find out the Bills had 12 men on the field. Of course his second try was good. I imagine the howling and whining is much louder in Buffalo this week than Green Bay.
That was one of the more insane endings to a game I can recall watching. I don't think I've ever seen a team intentionally put itself in a run-on field-goal situation just so the other QB doesn't get 20 seconds (with no timeouts) for a desperation drive, especially when the game is not tied and a hurried missed kick means a loss. It was a bold strategy, Cotton, and it should've blown up in their face.
Dave from Lake Zurich, IL
Why do the Packers have a higher waiver priority than the Rams? Strength of schedule? Both teams are 3-6 and the Packers beat the Rams.
The Packers, Rams and Titans all have 3-6 records so the head-to-head between only two of the teams doesn't matter in setting waiver priority. It goes to strength of schedule.
Andy from Wisconsin Rapids, WI
Following up on Christian Watson, is it fair to say he and Romeo Doubs (and Samori Toure) have not had as big a second-year jump as the Packers were anticipating? Being the "veterans" in the room, I wonder if there was more expected of them based on the projected growth from year 1-2?
That's probably fair on two of them, but I think the progress from Doubs has been evident. With 33 catches, 343 yards and six TDs in nine games, he's on pace to blow by his rookie year numbers (42-425-3) and I think his hands have looked much stronger and more reliable this season. Outside of the late sideline drop in Vegas, which I think is his only drop on the season, he's made the plays there to make.
Joe from Liberty Township, OH
I know the blown lateral call has been thoroughly discussed, but this again shows how broken the NFL replay system is. The on-field officials make the wrong call. The whistle is blown before everything plays out. (I thought the process was to let things play out then let review sort it out.) It's now the coach's responsibility to challenge instead of the NFL. New York refuses to overturn an obvious wrong call and the Packers lose a timeout. Wrong call but we lose possession, TD and TO.
Kyle from Osceola, WI
In defense of the officials – and boy does it feel gross to say that – I think it would set a terrible precedent to overturn a call based on things that occur after an on-field whistle. Imagine the repercussions, for safety reasons alone, of players having a mentality that they should continue to play well beyond the whistle in case of a replay error. The lateral play was screwed up and the replay confirmation/explanation made it worse, but so be it.
So much fun.
Joe from Pittsburgh, PA
This has been a bad year for the officials making questionable game-changing calls, but kudos to the job they did at the end of the Bills-Broncos game. They didn't shy away from throwing the flag on the pass interference at the end even though the call went against a raucous home crowd. And to catch 12 men on defense amid that fire drill at game's end showed a crew doing their job very professionally. Not all NFL officials are created equal, this crew was superb.
Bill Vinovich's crew is annually among the best. I'd take that gang every week. I can only recall one time over the last several years when the Packers have had Vinovich's crew that I didn't feel they were on top of their game.
Steve from Ankeny, IA
Watching WYMM, and although T.J. Watt made some plays in the game (he always does), I was totally impressed with Zach Tom on those long throws. He basically took Watt out of those plays, with a little help from his friends.
As I wrote on the plane Sunday, when Love drops back to pass 40-plus times and the combined stat line for Watt and Highsmith is one sack and three QB hits, that's a strong pass protection plan executed well. It's become clear to me that when Tom had some rough moments in the two games after he hurt his knee at the end of the comeback vs. New Orleans, he was really fighting through stuff and gutting it out.
Caleb from Knoxville, TN
After seeing the Raiders and Broncos the last couple weeks … maybe our losses to them weren't as bad as we thought?
Nope. Not to me. Those teams were playing very poorly when the Packers faced them, and the Packers played worse in losing to them. Not changing my stance on that.
Eric from Green Bay, WI
Luke Musgrave up the seam! That play was a thing of beauty! What wasn't a thing of beauty was Watson's route on the first INT. I'm convinced he's not 100%. I get Patrick Peterson is a vet, and at one point in his career, one of the best in the league. But now he's old. Last year he was bad in Minnesota. How is a young burner like Watson not able to create any separation against Peterson on a fade route? I'm going to wait for the offseason report of Watson not being healthy all year.
It wasn't a fade route. It was an out-and-up, and Watson didn't sell the out. I mentioned it to Wes in the press box as soon as I glanced at the replay, and LaFleur confirmed my view when he said Watson has to "flash his eyes" back to the QB on the first part of the route. He got anxious and skipped an important detail. Jordan Love's shoulder shake does nothing to a future HOFer like Peterson if the receiver isn't selling the fake also.
Don from Somerset, WI
WHY are players NOT held accountable for lack of effort? 81 cost the Packers an opportunity on such a feeble attempt of blocking on the extra point! Special teams have cost the Packers a lot of games over the years not to mention the championship game with Seattle some years back. This is midseason and mistakes like this are unacceptable! WHY isn't coaching yanking players out and replacing with someone who wants to play the game as it was intended in the beginning – HIT SOMEONE!
Josiah Deguara was replaced by Kraft on FG/PAT protection after the missed block. As an aside, the kick Peterson blocked was the only one for which he was lined up on that side. He was on the opposite edge for all the other kicks in the game. Go figure.
Mike from Ames, IA
One more question inspired by the Aaron Jones play that keeps coming up. Often on TV you'll hear commentators saying it's a good thing that a short pass in a two-minute situation falls incomplete, to save the time/stop the clock. In this situation, it almost certainly would have been better for the Pack. My question is, do coaches actually teach that? Seems like it goes against everything a player learns to have situations where you intentionally drop the ball.
I don't think you can teach/coach that way, because in many situations a player cannot see where the defense is until after he makes the catch. He can't be counted on to have that level of awareness, whereas awareness of the clock and boundary are certainly expected. It would be catastrophic if a player in a two-minute situation intentionally dropped a short pass when he can't see the two defenders nearest him have tripped over their shoelaces and he's got wide-open space to make a play.
David from El Segundo, CA
Guys, can someone tell me when we transitioned from "first-down marker" to "line to gain"? The latter sounds forced and suddenly we're all using it. Can we go back to old school?
I never left. I still use "marker" in the live blog, all the time. The regular readers will vouch for me on that one.
Bob from Rome, NY
Spoff: I mentioned this awhile back and thought I would revisit it. I know Walker is missing from the middle of the 'D' but I firmly believe that missing Alexander is critical in not bringing a safety down in the box to help with the run defense as much as they could. The need to help out the inexperienced DBs with some very good receivers to eliminate explosive plays by the other team is important but I feel his absence is missed not only in PDs but the run game. Your feedback please?
I think there's some validity to that, but schematics aside, the secondary also had an awful tackling day in Pittsburgh that contributed to the poor run defense as well. Bigger picture, the problem is the Packers play a defense designed to limit explosive plays and yet rank somewhere in the top quarter of the league in allowing them. That makes life difficult for all involved.
Bruce from Travelers Rest, SC
Mike, I disagree with your assertion that the final pass had to go into the end zone. When I saw Pittsburgh's alignment I thought the ideal play would be four verticals with a fifth with some wiggle (I would nominate Reed) coming underneath to perhaps get an uncontested catch, and thus with momentum somewhere between the 5- and 8-yard lines and hope to make a guy or two miss. Trying to fit a ball into a 7-back defense when all defenders have the luxury of looking straight at the QB seems unlikely.
Highly. I'm no X's and O's wizard, but it seems as though it might take some kind of trick play to increase the odds, like the type of underneath route you suggest, but with another player cutting across the field in the opposite direction to possibly take a lateral if the tacklers overcommit to the initial catch? I don't know. I wonder if someone's ever going to try just launching the ball straight up from the 20-yard line toward the end zone to see who comes down with it. Like when we used to play 500 on the playground.
Gary from Davenport, IA
Mike, do you remember a couple of years ago when there was a long debate in the Inbox about Justin Fields being drafted by the Bears and if Ohio State had ever produced a good NFL quarterback? I think you came to the conclusion that Mike Tomczak had been the best OSU QB up to that point, and he wasn't even drafted. I guess the same debate would be a lot shorter today. Has C.J. Stroud been the biggest surprise so far this year?
I wouldn't say surprise because I honestly didn't know how he'd do, but he sure has been impressive. The overall surprise has been DeMeco Ryans taking over a 3-13-1 team, with a rookie QB, and sitting at 5-4 right now. It's part of the beauty of the NFL, how quickly things can change.
Graydon from Menomonie, WI
Love young Weston's Norman Dale reference in Tuesday's column. My favorite Norman Dale quote is: "Five players on the floor functioning as one single unit – team, team, team – no one more important than the other." Just change "five" to "11" and "floor" to "field" and I think we might have something here.
Works for me. Happy Wednesday.