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Inbox: Nothing is impossible

These are the type of victories that can catapult a team forward


Wes from New Philadelphia, OH

Did I hear wrong or was that Mr. Miyagi spotted leaving the Packers locker room right after halftime ended?

The spirit of Mr. Miyagi was alive and well inside Lambeau Field Sunday night. Good morning!

Vinny from Arlington, VA

With Aaron Rodgers being carted off the field and the first-half performance, was there ever a more appropriate time and need to "Keep calm and Inbox on"? Also, I wonder how many fans turned the game off at halftime and missed the second half.

If I could give readers one suggestion, please wait until the game is over before submitting declarative comments. For example, here is Brad from Maple Grove, MN, sent in at 8:07 p.m. CT: "Boy, we are sure scheming the heck out of those Bears. Packers are like take a butter knife to a gun fight. Same garbage defense just a new year. Not even slowing the Bears down." When it was all said and done, Green Bay had allowed the sixth fewest yards in Week 1. Inbox isn't posted until 11 a.m. CT after night games. What's the rush, folks? When the going gets tough, grab your pillow, not the keyboard.

Dave from Lake Zurich, IL

When Aaron Rodgers returned at the tail end of last year, some of your readers declared he had lost arm strength. What are they saying now?

This shouldn't surprise anyone who saw Rodgers doing the drill in training camp where the quarterbacks try to hit the net from 40 yards away. His arm strength is still 99.

Stephanie from San Diego, CA

One, No. 12 is not of this world. Two, loved No. 88's two key downfield blocks on Cobb's TD. Three, still very concerned about QB No. 2. Thanks for your hard work.

Rodgers was remarkable. I'm still without words. If I hadn't seen it, I don't know if I would have believed how Aaron Rodgers – and the entire team, really – responded in the second half. It goes to show you nothing is impossible. As far as No. 2 quarterback, DeShone Kizer made some good throws on his first series, but must protect the football better. He's 22. He'll learn from those mental mistakes.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

The 48-yarder to Cobb in Chicago in 2013, the Hail Mary in Detroit, the toe-tap to Cook in Dallas and the second half of last night's game. I'm searching for the defining moment in that second half to begin the Packers' 100th season. I'm thinking the 39-yarder to Allison over the 75-yarder to Cobb to etch in my lifetime memory card. What's the "defining moment" for you? What others might you suggest?

You know you're covering a special talent when there are too many "best throws/performances ever" to count. If I had to pick one from Sunday night, I'd choose the touchdown pass to Allison. Rodgers threw it effortlessly from the pocket and gave the third-year receiver a great opportunity to make a play on the ball against Chicago's No. 1 cornerback.

Andy from Walpole, MA

Was Allison's touchdown similar to the play in training camp you guys spent so much time raving about?

You guys keep trying to get me to compare that throw to Allison during camp. I'm not going to. So quit asking. Or something. But no, they were two completely different plays.

Phil from DeWitt, AR

Aaron was a great apprentice of Brett and is now the best quarterback playing in the NFL. I was happy that Aaron mentioned Brett's example after the game.

Real recognizes real, and they don't come any tougher than No. 4.

Kyle from Osceola, WI

Although Chicago's punter had a nice game, I was comforted seeing Randall Cobb underneath those towering boots.

It's good to have Cobb in your back pocket as an emergency returner. When it was announced Trevor Davis had aggravated his hamstring injury, I couldn't think of a better choice to jump in there as a last-minute replacement.

Aaron from Seattle, WA

It appears that some concern from fans following Sunday's game was the lack of production by the heralded Jimmy Graham. However, there were a few plays where I thought I saw him continually double covered or with a safety lurking in the back. From the press box or game tape, was this a consistent practice with covering Graham?

Davante Adams touched on this in the postgame locker room. There were times where the Bears were doubling him, Graham and Cobb. The beneficiary of that attention was Allison, who finished with five catches for 69 yards. As we said all offseason, that's a lot of weapons a defense must account for. The best part is the Packers have a quarterback who can capitalize on it.

Fans gathered at Lambeau Field Sunday night to watch the Packers take on the Bears in Week 1.

Preston from Tallahassee, FL

Amazing win. Accolades too many. The OL/coaches for realizing they need to do better and they did; the WRs for YAC; the backs for blocking; the defense for being much improved. That being stated, the opening half proved to me our starters (as many as are healthy) need more time in preseason games. With new schemes on both sides of the ball (yes, offense too) neither side was sharp early.

I'd rather be sloppy in September than in December after you've lost a marquee player such as Bryan Bulaga (2013) or Jordy Nelson (2015) to a season-ending injury when the games don't matter. Regardless, I felt the Packers put on a clinic for how to manage adversity and not do too much when facing a three-score deficit. I also tip my cap to Bulaga. He was thrown directly into the fire against Khalil Mack in his first official game back from the ACL. I have to imagine that's one of the most difficult assignments a tackle has had to conquer. The Bears played Mack (42 snaps/70 percent) way more than I thought they would, too.

Matt from Waunakee, WI

What constitutes a sack? Late in the game, Mitchell Trubisky went down on his own and was tagged by Dean Lowry. I thought Dean would be credited with a sack but it didn't show up in the box score.

That was counted as a run by Trubisky for minus-3 yards because the high snap aborted the passing play.

Mark from Sturgeon Bay, WI

I've got a feeling the Bears' offense won't be as good going forward. They had some very unorthodox formations that the Pack could not have game-planned for. Now that those are out there, teams will be much better prepared for them. Heck, even the Pack got better once they had a chance to get together on the sideline and talk about it.

Tramon Williams and Kentrell Brice each mentioned how the defense simply had to weather those first 15 plays and make the proper adjustments. Once Mike Pettine started to get a feel for Chicago's range, the Packers were able to work their counterpunches.

Dale from Owatonna, MN

You mentioned the front-four pass rush needing to be better, I agree. Maybe I didn't notice him in the game in the first half, but Lowry's presence in the second half seemed to make a difference. Was he out there more?

Lowry only played 21 defensive snaps, but I thought he made his reps count. We got a glimpse of how important defensive linemen are going to be in this defense, with Mike Pettine keeping three on the field in both base and sub-packages. We'll see how that evolves as the season moves on.

Jay from Brookfield, CT

First time writing the Insiders but read it every day. Our two new coordinators certainly made the necessary adjustments at halftime. Do you think it was these adjustments or more the inspiration of AR coming out of the tunnel with his helmet that propelled us to victory?

The adjustments started well before that (Green Bay's defense finished the half with three straight drives without allowing a first down), though I'm sure Rodgers' return sparked everyone. Credit to McCarthy, Joe Philbin and the offensive coaches, though. They had to throw out a lot of the game plan after Rodgers' injury, but found packages (like the pistol) that worked.

Chase from Ft. Huachuca, AZ

Is Rodgers better when he has to be a pocket passer? I remember another game he had a minor leg injury and just picked the defense apart without scrambling.

Rodgers can burn a defense in a variety of ways. He's equally proficient in the pocket and extending plays with his feet. I think both dimensions are vital to Rodgers' game at 34. However, his ability to play from the pocket should bode well as he nears 40.

Spencer from Grand Rapids, MI

Everyone is obviously talking about Aaron (rightfully so), but is anybody talking about how solid our young secondary played, given the fact Pettine used several of them due to lack of depth at MLB? It's a strength that for so long has been a weakness I think. What's your take? Love the column!

To echo Ha Ha Clinton-Dix's comments from last week, this secondary has a chance to be special. Josh Jackson and Jaire Alexander played well in the sub-packages, Kevin King has shut-down corner potential, and Tramon Williams showed he can still handle a 70-snap night at 35 years young. What put Green Bay over the top, though, was Kentrell Brice. He played smart and efficient football in what was easily the best performance of his career in my mind.

Ryan from Staten Island, NY

Nick Perry made the game-clinching play and Clay Matthews is Clay Matthews, but I was impressed again by Reggie Gilbert. Do you think he keeps earning himself more playing time? It seemed like he is getting better and better with his pass rush, but the one play was his coverage on Tarik Cohen in the red zone on that third-and-1 play that ended up forcing the field-goal try.

Every time I watch Gilbert I can't help but think, "Man, this guy plays each snap with every fiber of his being." I've noticed a similar mindset with Justin McCray and Lucas Patrick on the offensive side of the ball, too. I don't know if that's an undrafted free-agent thing or not, but it has Gilbert on the cusp of a major role in this defense.

Nate from Jersey City, NJ

Man, that article before the game about the surprising games versus Chicago sure was prescient. Fortunately, it worked in our favor this time.

They don't call him "Magic" Mike Spofford for nothing. He calls 'em like he sees 'em. That was another classic – albeit very peculiar – but a classic nevertheless.

Bill from Waukesha, WI

Onto the Vikings. Minnesota's defense is better than Chicago's, in my opinion. Kirk Cousins and the receiving corps are better, too. What two major things should the Packers clean up to win this game? We can count on Rodgers, but the team is all 46 on game day.

The Vikings were going to be a supreme test for the Packers regardless of Sunday night's outcome, but there are definitely things Green Bay can learn from coming out of the opener. Everything is going to get ramped up in Week 2. The Packers need to start faster on both sides of the ball, getting into a rhythm offensively and dictating tempo on defense. If they do that on Sunday, they'll be in the driver's seat.

Ryan from Colfax, WI

I think I've watched every second of every interview that I can find after last night's win. Did anyone ask Clay Matthews about his roughing call on the first fourth-down stop?

You might have watched every second of every interview, but obviously you didn't **read every word of every article**.

Mike from Somerset, WI

The Packers' defensive stats show they are the sixth-ranked defense in yards allowed. The stats show that they have given up 23 points. Six of the points were off of a pick-six. Do pick-sixes by the offense count against a defense's points per game?

Unfortunately, they do. I don't know why the NFL does it that way. Instead, Green Bay is tied for 14th in points allowed rather than sixth.

Jon from Columbia, MO

Only seven plays for Marcedes Lewis. Is that a symptom of being down all game? Or is he just a red-zone threat?

The Packers shifted to their two-minute offense from the middle of the second quarter on, limiting the blocking packages and three tight-end sets where Lewis would play. When they did go two tight ends, it was Jimmy Graham and Lance Kendricks. Lewis isn't fretting. He knows he'll get his chances.

Christopher from Marshfield, WI

No one seems to be discussing the fourth-and-1 Chicago had in the Packers' red zone before the Cobb TD. If they go for it and succeed, the game is probably over. I was surprised they kicked; why give Rodgers another chance?

I debated this with Spoff in the press box. His contention was the Bears made the right call because it forced Green Bay to score a touchdown to win. That's probably the right decision, but my only reservation if I'm Chicago was Rodgers being red hot. If it's me, I don't know if I want to give him the ball again.

Terry from Rothschild, WI

I send my kids a Lombardi quote every Monday. I am nearly to the end of 100 or more of his quotes, and need new material. Can you give me a couple of inspirational Mike McCarthy quotes?

McCarthy has had a few all-timers, but this comment Monday about Matthews stepping up and owning his personal foul made my recent list of favorites: "If there's been one word that's been thrown around here a lot the last six, seven months it's accountability. It's got more damn fingers on it right now than I've ever seen in any dictionary."

Richard from Pelham, AL

I realize with all the hype this preseason and that first-half disaster, but it killed me to hear the boos.

This has been 1B on my list of gripes with the home crowd over the past two-plus seasons (1A, of course, being the "Go Pack Go" chants when the offense is on the field).

Theodore from St. Louis, MO

At what point during a game do you typically start writing your narrative of the game?

I don't start writing until I get back to my desk after locker room closes since I'm no longer working under newspaper deadlines. At the Press-Gazette, I usually had to file a story as the game ended and chase quotes for the follow.

Matt from Los Angeles, CA

T.J. Watt had four sacks and blocked an overtime field-goal attempt. Just thought I'd share.

That's great. Now can he do it against someone other than the Browns? So far, seven of Watt's 11 career sacks have come against Cleveland.

Richard from Greenwich, NY

Obviously NFL players are professional athletes who get paid to play, but with that said, do you think the emotion of Sunday's win over the Bears will be important in stamping a "Never Give Up" identity on this team that affects the outcome of games this season?

That was a common theme amongst Rodgers and the rest of the locker room. Assuming Rodgers' knee checks out OK, these are the type of victories that can catapult a team forward.

Jake from Franklin, WI

We are looking at tickets to the Rams game in LA and noticed that tickets for the game vs. the Packers are roughly five times more expensive than against a division opponent in Seattle the next week. Is that because Packers fans travel so well?

If you want a quick laugh, look at the cost of Packers-Rams tickets on the secondary market and then glance at LA's two home games before and after the Green Bay game. And that's why this game isn't being played in London.

Jim from Green Bay, WI

In the first half, the Chicagoans stormed our castle, burnt it down, and wounded our king. The kingdom was dark and stank of beer. In the second half, we rose from the ashes like the Phoenix, slaying the angry Bears. All is well. The kingdom cheered wildly. We're on top of the wor...wait, we have 15 more battles? Oh. Remain calm and play on.

Only 15 battles? You sure about that? Also, "The kingdom was dark and stank of beer" may be the greatest line ever uttered in an Insider Inbox analogy.

Blaine from Bagley, WI

Is Sunday night's game already Moment 101?

Ask me again in February.