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Packers have to keep showing they’re the team they looked like for much of Sunday


Drew from Madison, WI

This Rams team and game feels very similar to the 2010 Falcons. I don't think this is the last time the Packers will play them.

First, there were the Cardinals. And then the 49ers. And the Seahawks. The Packers always seem to find a rival in that NFC West, but I'm with you. This is just the beginning. Good morning!

Bill from Oswego, NY

Enjoy Inbox and articles. Great work. Almost halfway through the season. How close are we to "past the point of a turning point"? I'll call a turning point the first strong performance resulting in a string of strong performances (translating of course to wins). I suppose theoretically it's until mathematical elimination, but it feels like we don't have many weeks left to have a turning point. Thoughts?

Bill, you're one of my favorites, but I'm going to rake you over the coals a bit here. There aren't many weeks left? It's Week 9 and the Packers are a 1/2 game out of first place in the North. They had a turning point in Week 12 two years ago to "run the table." In 2013, they won the division in a winner-take-all meeting with the Bears in 2013. I'll nod if you want to make a case for falling behind in the NFC race, but to say there isn't time for a turning point is ludicrous. Not after seeing what we've seen over the last five years.

Jacob from Heit, IA

Do you think Davante Adams is a good receiver without Rodgers or is it because of Rodgers that he's good?

You gotta be kidding me…

Lynn from Riverside, CA

We had good seats for the game, and from our view, it seemed the Packers' D played the Rams' cutback lanes pretty well. Did you guys notice how the Rams, in the second half, offensively played some hurry-up and no huddle? It was hot, I'm sure, on the Coliseum's floor and the Packers were held back in subbing. Finally, whatever you thought about Packers fan support at the game might be understated. It was far more than a lot of people realize.

That's the Rams' offense. That's what they do. The fan support was legit, though. The "Go Pack Go" chants were in full effect during some key parts of that game.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

I could very much feel the sense of disappointment and frustration by Mike in the Inbox yesterday. For me or any football fan, it couldn't get much better – two minutes left, down two, facing the NFL's best, and Aaron Rodgers with an opportunity to do what he does best. Win or lose, it just doesn't get any better than that. Then, "Oh the horror." How about you Wes? This feels worse than Washington or Detroit for me.

Of course, it's going to feel worse. That was one of the best teams the NFL has to offer and the Packers came within inches of knocking them off the mountain. It was disappointing because they played winning football.

Steve from Bradenton, FL

OK guys, you did not print my question/comment about Montgomery. In fact, you barely broached the subject. You must have heard about the previous series and him being upset he was taken out. Mike, you said the team deserved one more possession. They got one, Montgomery took it away.

We write Inbox 312 times a year. Heaven forbid we give the guy one day to explain himself before rushing to judgment in this space. My thoughts on the situation are below. And before you complain how I edited your question down, it rambled. Sorry. And Spoff wasn't saying the Packers deserved another possession. He was talking about the fans who turned out at the LA Coliseum deserving one more possession. Are you actually reading what's written or just jumping all over the headline? Because the explanation was there, clear as crystal, if you bothered to scroll down.

David from Los Angeles, CA

Does Ty Montgomery get fined for not granting an interview? I get his frustration as a No. 3 RB in the final year of his rookie contract, etc.

No, he doesn't get fined and no he's not the first athlete to decline an interview after a game. I know players in the past who politely have declined to talk until the next day to shield against saying something in the heat of the moment. To Montgomery's credit, he stood in front of his locker for 10 minutes Monday afternoon and answered every question asked of him, fully and professionally. He took ownership of the fumble and explained his decision to bring the ball out. Montgomery also addressed some of the garbage (my word, not his) that he and his family have had to face on social media. Frustrated? Sure. Disappointed? I get it. But some of the tweets I saw from some "fans" Monday made me sick to my stomach. It's a game, people.

Jeremy from Wausau, WI

How much truth is there to the reports that Ty Montgomery had a fit on the sidelines for being taken out of the game, on the series before he decided to take the kickoff out of the end zone? Some players were quoted as saying that Ty disobeyed all of his coaches on the kick return. What is your take on it?

Montgomery admitted frustration, but said he didn't take it out on any teammates or coaches on the sideline. He also said he didn't purposely disobey orders to take the ball out. Montgomery thought it was a returnable ball and took it out because he wasn't sure whether he'd still be in the end zone once he caught it.

George from Sturgeon Bay, WI

Is Aaron Rodgers starting to show some more confidence in the new receivers?

I think what you saw Sunday was a testament to what Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Equanimeous St. Brown built with Rodgers and the offensive coaches during the absence of Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison. There were even a few plays where the two rookies were the only receivers on the field. That doesn't happen if they aren't doing all the right things.

Bálint from Budapest, Hungary

Wes, how unsettling is it to you to think about the degree that pure luck plays in the outcome of many NFL games? I keep thinking about the Rams' last drive before the half where Cooks and Gurley had back-to-back receptions despite perfect coverages. Both were completions by a matter of like an inch combined. That is 57 yards, ultimately a TD and some momentum the Rams desperately needed.

That's the game.

Joe from Hartford, CT

Sent a picture to Spoff's Twitter account that I took off my TV on freeze frame. Sam Shields clearly steps on the end zone line when fielding the punt in the first half. Just want to know how all the coaches that review plays miss something like that and don't call down for a challenge?

I've watched the play over five or six times and wouldn't say he "clearly" stepped on the line. My guess is it would be upheld if the Packers threw the challenge flag for a lack of indisputable evidence.

Travis from Houston, TX

When Shields downed that fantastic punt by Hekker, Williams was just standing there watching it unfold. Was there anything he could have done to prevent Shields from making that play?

A few people asked whether Williams could have pushed Shields in the end zone. I don't know the answer to that. Ron Zook will speak to the media Thursday.

Jonnie from Garden City, MI

Echoing a Vic-ism, that funny-shaped ball takes funny bounces sometimes. What seems to differentiate the good teams from the great teams is their ability to make the ball bounce their way, such as the punt preceding the safety (great job by Shields), and the forced fumble on that last kickoff return. Tip your hat to Gurley for coming down with the tipped ball at the end of the first half. I look forward to the Packers learning and growing from going toe-to-toe with an undefeated team.

Like I said last week, to be the man, you have to beat the man. Unfortunately, J.J. Dillon grabbed the Packers' ankle when they hit the ropes and the Rams managed to get out of town by the skin of their teeth. The Packers have to keep showing they are the team they looked like for much of Sunday.

Michael from Winchester, VA

Someone mentioned yesterday we went toe-to-toe with the Rams, who are as solid as it gets. Given the youth of the players we relied on, do you see our young players giving us an edge in a rematch? I know anything can happen in these next several weeks, but if these teams play again in January, it seems to me our guys – especially rookies – will be even better by then. They may have a higher ceiling than older Rams players who may have already reached their plateau. What do you think?

That's historically been the M.O. of Packers teams in the McCarthy era, to play their best football down the stretch. If the cornerbacks stay healthy, I like the secondary's chances during the second half. Jaire Alexander, Kevin King and Josh Jackson are a big reason for optimism moving forward. I can't say with certainty how a rematch would play out, but those young guys would be better for what they went through Sunday at the Coliseum.

Brian from Sussex, WI

A lot of comments about that being the best or most complete game by the Packers. I think "so far" should be added to those comments because I truly believe that wasn't their ceiling.

It better not be. As Clay Matthews said after the game, the Packers have to keep that energy up despite the loss and channel it towards a much-needed road win in Foxborough.

Tim from Marion, IA

Why did we not try to take time off the clock when we had the lead with six minutes left? The Rams were vulnerable to the run and their pass rush was having some success against our O-line.

Because the Packers didn't complete the first down. Thanks for your question.

Gene from Anderson, IN

I owe an apology to special-teams coordinator Ron Zook. After the game I commented he should be fired for not requiring Montgomery to take a touchback. I was wrong, he apparently told Montgomery to do just that. There have to be consequences, Montgomery needs to be gone. Either cut or traded. That will definitely send a message that the coaches are in charge.

How big of you.

Jay from Brookfield, CT

So impressed with the defense on Sunday. Of course, upset by the outcome, but if the defense continues to play our next few games like they did Sunday, I see us winning the division. As you so rightly point out, the other teams in the division have yet to play each other. Three of the four teams all have three losses. May not be a 10-win season, but all we need is to win the division.

There is still a lot of football left to be played, but the defense definitely did its job Sunday. I know there was some disappointment afterwards, but that unit gave Green Bay a chance to win the game against arguably the best team in football.

Robert from Seattle, WA

Todd Gurley doesn't run it in at the end not because Troy Aikman thinks he is a nice guy, but because he knew that if they missed the extra point, we still had a few seconds left being eight down.

I don't get why Gurley sliding is so difficult for people to understand. It's not just Aikman, either. I also saw several tweets about this. Gurley knows it's over if he gives himself up. End of story.

The Green Bay Packers traveled to LA Memorial Coliseum to take on the Los Angeles Rams in a Week 8 NFC matchup.