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Inbox: He knows what he's doing

Anyone with the secret to that would never lose a football game

S Dallin Leavitt
S Dallin Leavitt

Bryan from Madison, WI



Graeme from Tucson, AZ

That feels like the performance and gameplan I was expecting last week. Heavy on the running backs. Defense staying disciplined (in the main) and the offense slowly growing into the game. Some mistakes for sure but definitely a more cohesive display. What was the main difference in your opinion?

Absolutely the focus on the running backs. They touched the ball on 37 of 66 plays. I thought Jones in particular showed what makes him a special player. His feet are so quick and shifty he's always finding extra yards. When he's in the flow of the game, his burst seems to come a half step sooner and makes him even harder to stop.

Kenton from Rochester, MN

I loved how Aaron Rodgers spread the ball around in the passing game: three receptions by four players, two receptions by three players and one reception by one player. That should keep opposing defenses guessing, right?

It's more out of necessity than desire, but if the running backs can continue to produce in a way that commands defensive attention, openings should exist for plenty of contributors in the passing game.

Margo from Solvang, CA

Wow! It seemed like we could do no wrong during the second quarter. We played great complementary football, scoring a bunch and showing a ferocious defense. How do we keep that going against Tampa Bay next week?

I don't know, Margo (sorry, couldn't resist). Honestly, though, anyone with the secret to that would never lose a football game. It's hard to dominate an opponent in this league, and we saw games Sunday that had periods of dominance go both ways. When the momentum did shift last night, the Packers responded on both sides of the ball with the goal-line stand and 55-yard strike to Sammy Watkins. In the long run, those moments will mean more than the second quarter, because prolonged dominance is so rare.

Janet from Auburn, WA

I thought the two jet sweeps to Christian Watson were huge. Sure, they didn't go for big gains, but it sets up so many other options for the offense. It will be fun once he gets involved in the passing game, but for now I love this threat out of the running game.

It always feels to me the jet-motion stuff helps keep the defense honest.

Jared from Rochester, MN

Congratulations to the Pack for the win and that's the most important. However, some holes introduced themselves during the game. We had the mistakes on the offense and also the bad run defense. What do you think is the most important going into Tampa Bay? Sure up that run defense or don't make those mistakes on offense? I lean toward the run defense because it looks like the Bucs are leaning on Fournette.

The botched handoff and shotgun-snap timing are the easy fixes. Those are purely self-inflicted. It's a given the Bucs will test the Packers' run defense, and probably with more than just Fournette. Maybe the film will look different, but it didn't feel as though the Packers were getting gashed with big holes as much as missing tackles.

Nathan from Philadelphia, PA

The defense had a stretch in the middle of the game of allowing just 10 total yards on 13 plays, sandwiched between a couple of long drives. What happened to seemingly flip the switch on and back off (and maybe on again with the goal-line stop)?

The Bears did themselves no favors by getting away from the run too early. In that stretch you're referring to, the Packers got sacks on first-and-10 and second-and-3. Those aren't downs I'm turning the offense over to Fields. Even when they did run the ball successfully, Fields was still woefully ineffective as a passer – 7-of-11 for 70 yards (30 on one play)? Woof. That won't cut it in the NFL. Numbers like that render 180 rushing yards practically meaningless.

Bob from Riverside, CA

Mike, it sure seems hard to find special-teams stats online. Did Dallin Leavitt get two or three great special-teams stops? He seems like the real deal.

He is. He'll get downgraded for his penalty, but he was credited with two coverage tackles, and his impact stood out. He knows what he's doing on teams.

Pete from Hillsborough, NC

Mike, I'm with you. The scrums at the end of running plays are ubiquitous. It surprises me the NFL allows it, given their focus on player safety. They are injuries just waiting to happen (ankle, knee, hip, concussion…). Has there been any talk of trying to reinstitute some sort of penalty?

Not that I've heard. Sadly, I suspect it'll take a serious injury occurring for any major reconsideration.

Dave from Waterford, OH

Hi guys, hope you're doing well. Of these two possibilities, just wondering which one you think will occur before the other: the Bears winning their second Super Bowl or an NFL kicker making a 70-yard field goal?

70-yarder, and that's not meant as a knock against the Bears. Did you see that game-winning 50-yarder by Brett Maher in Dallas yesterday? That hit the net about three-quarters of the way up. He absolutely crushed it.

Vince from Auburn, WA

I thought Allen Lazard's presence played a huge role in Sunday's win. Not only from a receiving standpoint, but especially his blocking ability. He is so unselfish and opens up so many off-tackle running lanes. Who do you believe is the next best blocker in the receiver room?

Cobb's always been effective, and I don't know how good he is just yet, but I love the way Watson always sticks his nose in there. He appears plenty willing, which is half the battle.

Tony from Chanhassen, MN

Do you talk about the Packers much outside of work, or do you need a break once you are done for the day?

It depends to whom I'm talking.

Will from Milwaukee, WI

Aaaahhhh. That was more like it! Gotta love that everyone knew Jones was going to be featured and he performed so well. How do you explain yet another master class from Aaron Rodgers against the Bears? It's uncanny.

The Rodgers stats vs. Chicago are mind-boggling. Here are a few: 24-5 against the Bears (including the broken collarbone game in '13), seven consecutive zero-INT games against the Bears, 125-plus passer rating and multiple TDs in five straight (longest streak of any QB in league history against a single opponent), 11 total games with 125-plus passer rating (also most ever vs. one opponent), and 15 games with a 100-plus passer rating, with the Packers 15-0 in those games.

See scenes from the Sunday night matchup between the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field on Sept. 18, 2022.

Joseph from Vermillion, SD

"You can know what's coming, but you gotta stop it." What was your favorite quote of the night?

Aaron Rodgers, after going 19-of-25 for 234 with two TDs and a 131.1 rating: "I'm going to keep improving."

Keith from Bakersfield, CA

I've found myself occasionally watching a replay and thinking, "That receiver was open, why didn't he throw to him?" Then I think about all the points of criticism I've heard about QBs over the years – not creating a throwing lane, not seeing a DB or LB lurking, etc. Also, on most completions, the ball is on the way to the WR before he's open, or before he makes a cut. How much of that nuance can a casual observer see in a replay?

On TV replays, not much, unless the angle shown is just right.

Robert from Verona, WI

Who was likely responsible for the bad timing of the snap that hit Christian Watson while he was in motion? It's easy to put that on Josh Myers, but there is often more than meets the eye when assessing what went wrong.

Rodgers said Myers had a "brain fart" and snapped it on one instead of two. That's it, that's all.

Anthony from Auburn, WA

Rodgers on the read option? What a call!

As I noted in the live blog, that's what he wanted to do on fourth-and-goal in Minnesota last week. He trusted himself this time.

Sal form Hailey, ID

Now THAT'S how you commit to the run! BOTH Aarons were incredible. I'm wondering, if Elgton Jenkins is your best guy on the OL, what's the reasoning behind putting him on the right side vs. the left?

Because Yosh Nijman is a left tackle, not a right tackle.

Tim from Olathe, KS

Mike, I want to cheer for this team so badly, but they just won't let me. Their inability to back up their bravado on defense is a turnoff for this old-school fan. Do something, then strut your stuff. I mean, one could easily say the Bears won three quarters last night. Will this defense ever be as good on the field as they are on paper?

The runs of 11, 14, 28 and 27 yards in a span of six plays were really poor defense, and a bad look. But c'mon. The Bears had 11 first downs, 228 yards, 22:45 TOP, went 1-of-7 on third down, and scored 10 points. First-and-goal from the 10 and the Bears ran for 2, 2, 5 and zero. One drive in the first quarter, one bad stretch of running plays in the fourth quarter. That was it, really. Perfect? No. A winning performance? Absolutely.

Anthony from Seoul, Republic of Korea

A usual sign of fatigue is having hands on the hips. It's the middle of the fourth quarter, fourth-and-goal at the 1-yard line, and I'm looking at Kenny Clark and gang looking like it's the first quarter still. Are they being rotated often or is their conditioning that good?

See the time of possession number above. The fourth-and-goal was just Chicago's 39th snap on offense in the game.

Steven from Fort Wayne, IN

If David B. can't practice yet without limited participation, and Jenkins, why don't they get put on IR? That way the other rookies and veterans can have roster spots. We can always bring them back if they get healthy.

This was submitted before the game, and obviously Jenkins is back now. I don't know if there's a timeline on Bakhtiari but he's not on IR because that would mean he can't practice. Given his extended absence, they're willing to give him a roster spot so he can practice to continue working his way back.

Phil from Madison, WI

I think the Lions are ahead of schedule.

Offensively, they've got something going. Defensively, I'm not so sure. They gave up 340 yards in the second half to Washington.

Robert from Georgetown, TX

Hello Insiders, last week I drove from Texas to Wisconsin to surprise my sister with a visit. While I was there my brother-in-law and I took a trip to Lambeau and did the Legendary Tour (highly recommend). One of the places we got to see was the Lee Remmel press box. I was wondering where Spoff and Hod get to sit and is it the same place every game? Thanks for all you do! GPG!

It is the same spot. Our department is in Section B, Row 2 of the press box. I've covered every home game since 2006 from there except for 2020 when Wes and I were moved to an empty suite.

Ryan from Bloomer, WI

How was the charter home this week?

It's really late (or early) so I'm really tired, but, um, what? Happy Monday.