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Inbox: It never really went away

All kinds of rules questions after a game like that


Omar from Atlanta, GA

At least we are still undefeated.

I repeatedly said last week only one NFC North team would be 2-0 after two games. You have my permission to never believe me again. But let's get right to the issues everyone's talking about.

Justin from Los Angeles, CA

I don't blame the refs, I blame the NFL for making it impossible to know what's a hit, what's a catch, what's roughing the passer, etc. The number of times this game swung on interpretations of rules that clearly nobody understands made it almost unwatchable. I feel bad for defenses trying to thread what's an increasingly teeny needle. How do they fix this?!?

That game was anything but unwatchable, but as for your larger point, I've said it so many times already I'm blue in the face. If the league is going to continue complicating the rules, they have to allow more judgment calls to be reviewable on replay. That's the only answer, because they're not going to scale back rules that are in place for player safety. If the league doesn't want dubious results that hinge on dubious calls, everyone has to be willing to tolerate more replay reviews, including fans. Period.

Mike from Ludington, MI

I know you're going to get a million questions about this, but, how do you try and tackle the quarterback? I feel it's another game the officials dictated. What is a tackle anymore? Matthews didn't land with his body on him, just his arm. And did you see Daniels let go when he probably thought he had Cousins long enough? Didn't want a penalty. Would putting flags on the QBs help? Grab the flag and the play is done? They need help. I know a lot of people are frustrated watching the NFL nowadays.

The officials have a lot to adjust to, as do the players. It's unfortunate, because lifting a player off his feet to get him on the ground, and lifting him to drive him into the ground (which is what was called) are two very different things, but the emphasis on protecting quarterbacks obviously blurs the distinction.

Kate from Ravena, NY

Can you please explain why our interception didn't count when they called Matthews for roughing the passer? Regardless if the penalty was the right call or not, I feel like since that occurs after the pass was already thrown, the interception should be valid...then you would just tack on Matthews' penalty from wherever we end up after the interception. The announcers never really explained that part, and it doesn't make sense to me.

Nice try. If the penalty had occurred after the change of possession, it would stay Green Bay's ball, but the flag was thrown with the ball in the air, so it wipes out the pick. The moment possession changes is the potential pivot point, not when the ball is thrown.

Jeremiah from Monmouth, IL

I'm more curious if we are going to see more plays like Daniels essentially letting up to avoid a chance of getting the penalty called.

Wouldn't shock me. A player for the Saints last week got fined for two roughing-the-QB calls, and his fine was larger than his game check. That wouldn't be the case for all players, but you get the idea.

Dale from Lewiston, ID

What do the Insiders think of the "icing-the-kicker" timeout? It has always seemed to me it is a cheap thing to do. Maybe the defense should have to call time with five seconds on the play clock or forget it!

I don't have a problem with it. You're a pro. Make the kick as many times as you have to.

Josh from Hackensack, NJ

In response to Verne from Iowa, saying Gale Sayers shouldn't be in the Hall of Fame is like saying Sandy Koufax shouldn't be in the baseball HOF. For some very unique athletes their play transcends longevity. Sayers did things that make today's players look like they are standing still. Many great running backs through the years, none returned punts or kickoffs. Sayers was a highlight reel. Played in a 14-game schedule with every defense trying to stop him. His impact is beyond words.

Totally agree.

Sam from Melbourne, IA

Ahhhh a tie! Cue freak out...although frustrating, mostly because we should have won that game. I think what worries me about this team the most is end-of-game clock management. These last two games have left me scratching my head a little at the coaching decisions. Good news is that it's only Week 2. On to Wa(r)shington.

I didn't have any issues with the clock management. Many are referencing the possession after the Clinton-Dix interception, but the Packers were kind of stuck there at 2:04 on the clock, plus two timeouts for the Vikings. I said to Wes as soon as the pick happened, the game wasn't over and the Packers would need a TD or at least a first down to ice the game. After the two-minute warning, the Packers went for the touchdown they needed with two passes and didn't get it. If they had played it safe and run it twice, the Vikings still would have had plenty of time, down 8. The trade-off to make them burn their timeouts wasn't worth it, not when there'd still be nearly two minutes left either way.

Doug from Green Bay, WI

When was the last time the Packers have stopped a two-point conversion?

Last year, opponents were 2-for-2 on two-pointers. In '16, opponents were 0-for-5 against Green Bay until Dallas converted one in the playoffs.

Jeff from South Bend, IN

We spent all summer hearing about how Dez's catch would count under new rules. How was Davante's catch in the end zone any different?

Kendricks had a hand on the ball and was pulling it out as the players went to the ground, from what I saw. I thought it was a great play by Kendricks, but I admit I didn't see a replay.

John from Little Rock, AR

It's not so much how many bad calls go against you as much as when they occur.

Nicely done.

The Minnesota Vikings traveled to Lambeau Field to face the Green Bay Packers in Week 2 of the 2018 NFL season

Collin from Newport News, VA

I noticed something during the Ohio State vs. TCU game that I have never seen before. During a kickoff a TCU returner called a fair catch and received the kick on the 2-yard line, in which he immediately gave the ball to the ref. What is the ruling on this? Does the ball automatically get placed at the 25-yard line as if it was a touchback?

Yes, that's a new rule in college this year.

Rob from Aiken, SC

I saw a YouTube video of bizarre NFL records in which the '67 Packers turned it over EIGHT times and still beat the Bears, 13-10. Wondered if you could elaborate on what the turnovers were and just how BAD were the '67 Bears? I was born in '66 and do not recall.

Looking up the game, Starr threw five picks and the Packers also lost three fumbles. The Packers finished minus-7 in turnovers on the day. Green Bay's defense held Chicago to 19 net passing yards and six first downs. The '67 Bears finished second in the Central Division at 7-6-1.

George from Hutchinson, MN

When was the last Packer rookie to receive the starting job as the punt and/or kick returner for the majority of the season?

Micah Hyde in 2013 and Randall Cobb in 2011.

Brett from Oshkosh, WI

"And we're off, so we might as well get going." – Spoff. Did you steal that from a motivational poster in the redundancy department of redundancy?

My father said that while I was growing up more times than I can count. Knowing my dad, it wasn't about redundancy but rather a different definition of the word "off."

Karl from Santa Fe, NM

This week was the start of fall crush, and I'm training a new asst. winemaker. What I might've missed (well, what I did miss) was WYMM for the Bears game. There is no search header I can find and I'm really missing it. Conspiracy? Did it contain some radioactive playbook secret? Inquiring minds are looking for Zapruder. Please, please, please tell me where to find it!

I'm not a wine drinker, but lucky for you my wife is, so **here you go**.

Jack from New York, NY

Was that Aaron Rodgers' first tie in his NFL career? I know Matt Flynn led us to a tie the year Rodgers had his first collarbone injury, but Rodgers obviously didn't play in that game.

Yes, the Packers' last two ties have both come against the Vikings, in 2013 and yesterday. Their most recent one previous to those was back in 1987.

Marcus from Fond du Lac, WI

A game of missed opportunities on both sides, a game of perhaps questionable calls on both sides. While Crosby no doubt kept us in the game, I can't help but feel frustrated with five FGs instead of five TDs. I know the Vikings' defense is top notch, but what do you think the offense could've done better to come away with more points on the scoreboard?

The holding call on Taylor, which looked iffy at best, played a big part. A couple of short-yardage failures really hurt, too, but Minnesota is always tough in those situations. Williams got stuffed on third-and-2 from the 12, and then Rodgers/Williams couldn't connect on the fake handoff on second-and-1 from the 37 in OT or Crosby gets another shot. The volume of missed chances for the Packers in this game was staggering, as I laid out in my **postgame editorial**.

Lyle from Manistique, MI

C'mon man! This is no time for the zebras to try to figure out when or not when to throw their flag! Boo NFL.

At least the boos now being directed elsewhere. I'll chalk that up as progress.

Justin from Los Angeles, CA

Kind of ironic that a rule instituted in part because of Aaron Rodgers getting knocked out of a Vikings game last year cost them a victory against the Vikings this year, huh?

I thought the same thing, until it was explained the call actually was the "pile-driving" rule, which has been on the books for at least a little while now.

Hans from Shalimar, FL

With all the talk about the YAC statistic last week, it reminded me that YAC was once a point of pride for the Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, James Jones receiver group (I checked my memory by Googling it and found an article from 2007 devoted to the conversation leading into the Week 4 matchup against the Vikings). As the group turned over, YAC sort of dried up and seemed to be of less importance. Now we're back to talking about it again. Any insight into why it went away?

It never really went away. The Packers have always been pretty good at it. In 2007, Favre's last year, YAC accounted for 50.6 percent of the Packers' total receiving yards. Most of the Rodgers era, the percentages have been in the high 40s, so that's not a drastic change. But coaching staffs go into a given season looking to emphasize certain things, and it seems the return of Philbin **brought back an emphasis on it**. I don't have any numbers, but I thought the Packers got a fair share of YAC on Sunday again.

Andy from Clive, IA

Did the Packers release an update on King's injury after the game? I felt our defense looked elite with him on Diggs.

No update other than saying it was a groin injury. King's absence definitely factored in the fourth quarter.

Greg from Lagrange, KY

How come the return man tackled in the end zone wasn't a safety? His knee never touched; when he tried to give the ball to the ref, the ref wouldn't take it, indicating the ball was live.

It was live, and he had to recover it. But a safety cannot occur when possession is never established outside the end zone. It's the same thing if a defender intercepts a pass and runs around the end zone looking to possibly return it. If he gets tackled in the end zone, it's a touchback, not a safety, because he never had the ball on the plus side of the goal line.

Graeme from Tucson, AZ

Firstly, great game. Fabulous entertainment. But once again the Packers are robbed by an outrageous call by the officials. With all the money and options to review plays in this league, how can these types of erroneous, game-changing decisions continue to happen? Who holds these guys accountable? The official even admitted that this wasn't down to the "new rule" which makes it an even worse call. And I didn't even get to the offensive PI call on Davante. Serenity Now!

You also can't have 80,000 people see the defender grab Graham's arm on a deep pass, but the only guy who can call it apparently doesn't have the proper angle to do so. Like I said, more replays are the only answer given the current state of affairs. Postseason baseball will be brutal again this fall with all the stoppages, but there won't be any more Don Denkinger moments that influence a World Series title.

Brian from Sussex, WI

Looks like the football gods voiced their opinion in OT about the Matthews roughing-the-passer call.

I like the way you think, but then why didn't they just make sure Zimmer's timeout was too late?

Steve from Ellenton, FL

I have sent in numerous crappy questions over the years and you guys haven't answered one. Kudos to you! You have renewed my faith in sports media.

Favorite. Post. Ever.

Jordan from Sturgeon Bay, WI

As bitter as I am, I feel like that was taken away from us. Granted we had other chances to win the game, but that INT was it. I do want to find one positive thing, if there was anyone you'd pick to tie it's the Vikings. They also tie, and no longer could a tie vs. someone else cost us a half a game against the Vikings. Other than our second meeting, do you see another game on the schedule that a tie would affect the Packers less than this?

I'm not sure exactly what you're asking, but we all have a feeling we're going to be talking about this tie in December, don't we? Happy Monday.