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Inbox: It got snatched back

That’s how you make winning a habit

CB Kevin King
CB Kevin King

George from North Mankato, MN

Here's to the little "big things" in life...a hat and a T-shirt. I hope there's time to change my Christmas list.

I lost count how many people had written in to the Inbox over the past week saying all they wanted for Christmas was a win in Minnesota. Merry Christmas everyone.

Aaron from Hayden, ID


Made. Heard. Not done.

Lance from New Richmond, WI

There have been a lot of doubters the whole season about this team saying, "I'm not sure what they are great at." This win will silence that a little bit. I know one thing we are good at. Winning. On to Detroit!

This was the game to change the perception. It was brought up last week. The Packers' defense has rediscovered its September form, the ground game just wore out a top 10 run defense, and Aaron Rodgers  still hasn't played his best game. No one's calling the Packers an easy out in the postseason now.


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Greg from Perkasie, PA

The bad: The Packers turning it over three, almost four times from Jimmy's fumble. The great: Winning despite all that. This team just keeps finding a way to win and fans should celebrate that as long as it lasts.

I know I mentioned after both the losses to the Chargers and 49ers the Packers at some point would need to be able to right the ship on the road after a rough start. They did that. It gives them another experience to draw upon.

Tom from Burlington, WI

Ugly?! That was a thing of beauty. Adversity on the road against an opportunistic defense, commitment to the game plan, and a relentless effort from our own defense. Is this players, plays, coaching, chemistry? What's making this work?

All of the above.

Ed from Windsor, CO

How great was DC Mike's defense? Was it the scheme, the calls, the players or all of it, or something else unknown to viewers?

Asked and answered. Wes told me on the bus ride to the airport the Packers went from 23rd in total yards allowed for the season to 18th. In one game, in Week 16. I'm going to double-check after I get some sleep, but that's unheard of.

Mark from Westminster, CO

I know there has been a lot of talk about the Packers needing a few big playmaker receivers on the team to complement Davante Adams. There may be some slight truth to that in the passing game; however, I must say that our receivers sure know how to block on running plays. They definitely are not afraid to make contact or lay a hit on opposing defenders to create holes for Jones and Williams to sneak through. It sure is nice to have an explosive running game to lean on this season.

LaFleur was effusive in his praise of the blocking by the receivers. I'm eager to see what it looks like on film.

Patrick from Peachtree City, GA

Could you please help explain what happened to make Kevin King's interception possible? He lined up as a cornerback, but fielded the ball like a safety playing centerfield.

That's another thing I want to see on the film. My educated guess at the moment is the coverage call the Packers were in left King as the help deep, based on matchups, and he reacted appropriately.

Chris from Sioux Falls, SD

Just a comment...and it's not one I make lightly: Za'Darius Smith reminded me of Lawrence Taylor. If the Smith Brothers continue to play as they did tonight, the Packers will make a serious run in the playoffs.

LT is a bold call. I'll say this: I think a performance like that in a big prime-time road game should legitimately vault Za'Darius into the conversation for defensive player of the year.

Joe from Cedar Grove, WI

One of the unsung heroes of the game: Allen Lazard. Along with his great blocking on Jones' first TD run, I swear every catch he made was a third-down conversion. His workmanlike performance will be overshadowed, and rightfully so, by the defense, but it can't be understated just how solid a receiver he's become.

This is not meant to be a knock, but I believe he can still play better.

Mike from Algoma, WI

Mike, what offseason adjustments do you plan to make that will enable you to get the ball away from J. Kuhn? Technique (punch it out from underneath)? More time in the weight room? Dietary (more protein, less carbs)? Or does it simply come down to "wanting it more"?

I'll need Larry to create a distraction.

Richard from Greenwich, NY

Nice piece on Allen Lazard, who looks like the real deal, except I had to Google "Hakuna Matata." Mystifying why he wasn't drafted. Were his measurables like 40 speed not up to par?

Lazard wasn't fast enough coming out of college, but I think he's definitely changed that, as Wes documented in his piece with reshaping his body. You're joking about that Google comment, right?

Michael from Santa Cruz, CA

Davante Adams has never played a better game. I don't care about the fumble or no TDs. The Vikings decided they were going to bully him and he took – and returned – every blow. He won't be able to move on Tuesday. He was the tone setter.

Interesting take. The physical nature of these last two division games hasn't gone unnoticed. It would really behoove the Packers to take care of business in Detroit and get a week to rest up.

Nick from Oquawka, IL

Can you remember a more dominant four-quarter performance by a Packer defense? On the road in that type of environment no less?

It helped the Vikings were down to two very pedestrian running backs. But the key was the Packers were able to constantly stay in Cousins' face with just a four-man rush, blitzes not required. Getting the pick on the deep ball just a couple snaps after allowing the third-and-18 conversion was huge, too. The one moment Minnesota maybe had some momentum, it got snatched back.

Joshua from Houston, TX

Did you see the hit on the Titans player that knocked him out, caused a fumble, and changed the game? What's the point of having safety rules if that isn't called a personal foul?

I think I've made my point abundantly clear over the years about how the safety rules should be reviewable. I can't emphasize enough how much grief the league would save itself.

Pete from Sheffield, UK

Will Marshawn Lynch help deliver the Packers the No. 1 seed?

Wouldn't that be something? After former Packers backup QB Brett Hundley helped as well. I don't see the Seahawks laying two straight eggs at home, but when the 49ers won in New Orleans a few weeks back they proved they can win anywhere. Then again, the Rams had two shots Saturday night to stop third-and-16 on that final drive and get the ball back to beat them.

Joe from Bloomington, IN

Beauty is in the bye of the byeholder.

I'd groan except I'm in a good mood.

Jeremy from Chicago, IL

What, in your opinion, has been the most surprising thing about the Packers this season? What did they do that you didn't think they'd do?

The change in how they perform in the fourth quarter compared to last year is night and day. So many late fizzles a year ago. Too many to list. They've been the better team in the fourth quarter in 10 of their 12 wins this year, and that's how you make winning a habit.

Richard from Menasha, WI

I know the Packers have three captains (Rodgers, Smith and Crosby). Who are the others on the "leadership council" that meet weekly with Matt LaFleur?

The players haven't revealed the list, in keeping with their desire to keep the dealings of that council in house. No one would have known anything about it if Za'Darius hadn't mentioned it a few weeks ago.

Kristen from Surprise, AZ

I'm thinking it may be even more fun when no one expected you to do it!

That's another thing this Packers team has done extremely well this season. Ignore the noise. They really don't care about any of the outside perceptions. They know where they've had to get better, and they're still doing so.

Sreedharan from Pewaukee, WI

After seeing Packers being one of the most injury-prone for several years, it is heartening to see the good health of the players, with not a single starter now on the injured list. When was the last year we had such good fortune?

In my opinion, 2014.

The Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings faced off in a Week 16 matchup on Monday Night Football.

Luc from St. Thomas, Canada

I am outraged! How can the Eagles make the playoffs with a win next week and make it over a team like the Rams who... (Checks notes) ...would also have the same amount of wins if they beat the Cards. Huh. Crazy how these things work out in the end...

"Much Ado About Nothing" is 420 years old after all.

David from Rogers City, MI

Mike and Wes, sitting in my chair watching a video, trying to concentrate on the Packers, the lighting in the studio keeps highlighting a chicken pox scar on Mike's forehead. Funny thing is, it's in the same spot as one I have...then thoughts drifted to my mom, dabbing Calamine lotion on five kids who had pox at the same time. Props to Mom Spoff for her efforts...she deserves All-Pro Mom.

It's been a long, long time since someone actually commented on that. I'm much more proud of the scar on my left forearm from when I robbed a homer in Little League.

Vincent from Boston, MA

Insiders, how rare is it for the visiting team to lose the turnover battle, but win the game? It sure didn't look it the first half, but that was a dominating, dictate-the-tempo kind of game.

I confess, I didn't think the Packers could win this game without winning the turnover battle and I said so. I'm fine being wrong, but I wouldn't suggest losing the turnover battle again the rest of the season.

Benny from Rockford, IL

Aaron Jones looked like he wanted to wave goodbye so bad as he was going into the end zone on that 56-yard scamper. That was funny.

I thought the exact same thing. The Vikings are a different offense without Cook and a different defense without Kendricks. Staying committed to the run in Kendricks' absence was pivotal.

Mike from Lancaster, NY

Love the new looks on offense. Ervin on the jet sweep, trips WR with Jones lined up outside of them, and Lazard on the third-down slants. Makes me wonder what other looks LaFleur has yet to reveal.


Jeremy from Lethbridge, Canada

Yeah, I don't have a question. I just wanted to say that I now understand why you don't answer questions submitted during the game. Good policy. Anyway, hope you and Wes and team and families have the merriest of Christmases.

I not only don't answer them, I don't even read them.

John from Topeka, KS

Spoff, how'd the relations find the peanuts Monday night?

No sales. I've never been at a game in Minneapolis and heard the horn less.

Jay from Altoona, WI

Given some struggles this year, it would be a welcome addition through the playoffs if the defense could keep up the sound tackling they showed against the Vikings. It may have been the best tackling by the defense since Week 1.

Agreed, and an astute observation. It's easy to see when tackles are missed, and easy to take it for granted when they're not.

A.J. from Brisbane, Australia

When your star players turn over the ball three times in the first half, away from home, to a very good team, and you still win – you've got grit. And that's an identity that will work well anywhere.

This team believes, and that counts for something, too.

Jordan from Osterdock, IA

Speaks to the strength of the NFC – took until the end of Week 16 to determine the sixth seed.

Zimmer has an interesting decision to make. The Vikes are locked in to the No. 6 seed, so do they rest up and get ready to hit the road, or play to shake off the loss? They certainly have key guys that need to get healthy if they're going to make any noise in January.

Simon from Santa Clara, CA

So are you guys just switching Monday and Tuesday, or will you alternate the whole week?

We'll alternate days the rest of this week and get back to our normal days next week.

Josh from Germantown, WI

Fast start? Nah. Win the turnover battle? Nope. Most complete game? Don't think so. But they battled back from a tough start that could have spiraled out of control like a couple other road duds have. That defense was suffocating, and I'm okay with winning ugly if that's what winning ugly looks like! Merry Christmas, Inbox!

It might have been an ugly first half, but it was a dominant second half that left no doubt who the better team was on this particular night.

Jason from Green Bay, WI

Not a question but a thank you. I read every day. I live alone and at this time of year I appreciate being a part of a community. Thanks for all you do. It means a lot to me.

A reminder of what's truly important. Happy Holidays to all.