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Inbox: That's how a team makes it work

The game was won up front on both sides of the ball

WR Jayden Reed
WR Jayden Reed

A.C. from Jasper, MO

Was this revenge for Thanksgiving 1962?

About as close as it gets probably. I guess we'll see what happens from here on out, won't we?

Mark from Durham, UK

Were you aware that following our excellent win, the Lions are now 0-13 on Thanksgiving when the moon is in a waxing gibbous phase? This will remain my all-time favourite NFL stat until the record is broken...

I saw that on Twitter/X Wednesday night and someone mentioned it in the live blog pregame as well. As I said then, whatever works.

Ron from Spooner, WI

Gotta be honest. I did NOT see that coming! How fun was that game!

Both Wes and I mentioned we'd find out how far the Packers have come in two months. Clearly, they've come a long way. Most importantly, they weren't going to let anyone or anything define their season by Halloween.

Paul from Los Angeles, CA

Shame on FOX! No postgame turkey for the game's MVP?! And when they were supposedly honoring John Madden. JL looked so empty handed in his interview. Childhood dream denied!

I don't think I've used this phrase since I was around 19 years old. But that's just wrong.

Preston from Tallahassee, FL

The gap has closed. In the face of one of the most one-sided injury reports I have ever seen, that was one of the most character-driven, heart-fueled wins I have ever witnessed. The long break is perfect to get a few more guys healthy.

Well said on all counts.

Josh from Newhall, CA

Is it OK to get excited yet!? The thing that makes me excited going forward is that this game didn't come out of nowhere. It was the continuation of a steady upward trajectory this team has shown game by game for the last four weeks. I just hope they can keep calm and maintain course.

See previous response. I appreciate it when y'all write the column for me.

Jack from Moweaqua, IL

Finally, two in a row! This seems like one of those wins that can really galvanize a team at the right time. Hardly anyone gave them a chance with all the injuries. I know time will tell but it feels like a game in which so many young players played with so much confidence. This was a different team than I've seen all season. My question is how does a road win like this help this young team grow into the team that they want to be? Also, for Hod sake can we get a PI call to go our way?!

A lot to unpack there. Hod sake, good one. I wouldn't say this was a different team than we've seen all season. We just saw it from the start of the game mostly through the finish, not just here or there. Now it's about how the young guys on this team handle success, because this is the first juncture of the season you can say that matters. What I like is while being in command most of the game, they could've been even more strongly in command, so there's still plenty to work on.

Anthony from Southington, CT

I often wondered how a "good" team loses to a "bad" team. This year's Packers have shown me that neither of those terms necessarily fit. Even with their record, the Pack wasn't that far from a few more wins this season. In this game, they eliminated many of the penalties, turnovers and major mistakes that have hurt their O & D. It was a great win under difficult circumstances. I love the trajectory this team is on.

How can you not? Who knows at this point what this win will mean in a week or three. But no matter what happens from here, this was a big win for the Packers and what they're trying to build. No denying that.

Chris from Gridley, CA

What did you think of the halftime show?

I didn't.

Grant from Hoopeston, IL

Kudos for drafting Rashan Gary and Jordan Love, patiently developing them and giving Rashan his well-deserved payday. Jordan, yours is coming soon! The future is looking bright.

So many folks want to write off first-round picks as busts as soon as they don't look like Hall of Famers. Nobody ever guaranteed they'd develop the way they have, but rushing to judgment on players is the most short-sighted, costly mistake a personnel department can make. That can be way more detrimental than holding out just a little longer, even if that doesn't work every time.

Mark from Westminster, CO

This game was filled with a lot of great plays for the Packers in all phases. The quiet hustle play belongs to Lukas Van Ness during the fake punt. He shed his blocker, recognized the fake, sprinted down the line of scrimmage, and made the initial hit and wrap up of the runner short of the first down.

To hear after the game from LaFleur that Connor Lewis, the assistant QB coach and game management guru, was calling the fake punt from upstairs made me smile. Connor doesn't miss much, even with the Lions on their own 23. Campbell's boldness caught up to him there. Took a huge risk with plenty of game left, and the failure forced him to keep going for it on other fourth downs where field goals might have crept his team closer.

Bill from Forest Park, OH

What a tasty Thanksgiving treat! My only complaint stems from some fan blog writers who insist on calling it "complimentary" football instead of "complementary"football. Drives me nuts. Guess that's the difference between you professionals and the amateurs. Anyway, we finally got to see it!

Speaking of things that make me smile.

Steve from Luxemburg, WI

Mike, great team win! Complimentary football! When was the last time the Packers scored TDs on their first two offensive possessions? Three TDs in the first quarter?

First, (sigh). Second, I'm not sure about first two possessions, but the 20 points in the first quarter was the most since having 21 vs. Carolina in 2014. The 20 points also marked the Packers' total in the first quarter through the first 10 games of the season.

Jeff from Montclair, VA

Great team win! One observation though...after starting faster than ever, it seemed to me that O let off the gas. 20 points in Q1, nine points the rest of the game. Am I being too critical?

They let off the gas only in the sense that the execution wasn't quite as sharp and the Lions picked up their game and got really aggressive defensively. The Packers didn't sit back with the lead. They were still throwing the ball and taking their shots. Went for it on fourth-and-1 at 20-6. Doubs dropped a slant on third down, just his second drop of the season. Reed had that one off his fingertips on the deep over on another third down. Plenty of close ones. But the offense stayed aggressive.

Vince from Auburn, WA

I can't imagine how many other NFL quarterbacks were watching this game and thinking to themselves, "Geez, I wish my offensive line could pass protect like that!"

Tremendous effort by the guys up front, especially considering how it went in Week 4 against Detroit. It's funny, before the game they were playing a Lions preview show on the stadium video board, and one of the commentators noted the Lions' pass rush didn't do much against the Bears last week until the late sack/safety by Hutchinson. That comment came to mind as Love had so much time to survey, in contrast to two months ago.

Tom from Harker Heights, TX

Shout out to Scott from Palos Park, Illinois. Unless you were enduring a tryptophan coma, no WYMM required after watching Kenny Clark push that "sled" 10 yards into the backfield to disrupt yet another Goff throw. Hats off to the defense!

Gary was spectacular obviously with the three sacks and two forced fumbles. But I thought Clark and Preston generated steady pressure, too, most importantly without blitzing. The back end wasn't compromised to hurry Goff and get him off the spot. Detroit's O-line is a tough bunch, and they still ran the ball for plenty, but the Packers stopped a lot of carries for three yards or less as well. The game was won up front on both sides of the ball.

Ross from Hudson, WI

One defense very clearly more physical, applying pressure to the tune of 12 QB hits, three sacks, three forced fumbles, one of which is returned for a TD. The other team was dominated in the trenches on both sides of the ball all game, and tried unsuccessfully to mount a miracle comeback unable to secure an onside kick. Were this recap predicted a couple days ago I wonder how many fans would have pegged the teams correctly.

A dozen QB hits? Hadn't even seen that stat. Deserves a "Mercy."

Jeff from Indian Lake, NY

Now there's the Christian Watson we've been waiting to see! On that first deep shot I initially thought "he underthrew him again." But when the receiver comes down with it no one cares or remembers. Reminded me of your reference to the Hurts-to-Smith throw on MNF. It's all coming together for Jordan, though. You can actually feel his confidence growing.

I know Watson had to slow up on the opening-play deep shot, but honestly I'm not sure Love could've thrown it any farther. It was a 53-yard gain, and when you account for the drop-back, that ball had to travel at least 60 yards in the air with normal (non-Hail Mary) footwork. Watson attacked that ball. Malik Heath, Jayden Reed and Romeo Doubs attacked others. Love gave them chances to make plays and they made them. That's how a team makes it work.

Mark from Glendale, AZ

Hey Chicago, that's how you close out a game.

Easy now. Packers still have to play the Bears again. Chicago's downfall in Detroit last week was letting the Lions score super quick late in the game. They went the length of the field in something like 75 seconds and scored before the two-minute warning. The Packers gave up a couple of explosives in the fourth quarter, but on the one drive that reached the red zone and stalled, the Lions took five minutes off the clock. On the late scoring drive, it took 2:05 and cost the Lions the two-minute and one timeout. Nobody likes prevent defense but it has its function in certain situations.

Doug from Neenah, WI

Good morning. Daniel Whelan's punts yesterday may not have been his longest but wasn't it great to see them being downed inside the 10-yard line?

Whelan was a weapon. Can't overlook the role field position played.

LA from Sammamish, WA

Was the plane ride home from Detroit wild and raucous or were the players too exhausted?

Couldn't tell you. The team travels with two planes now. Wes and I are not on the plane most of the players are. We're nose-in-the-laptop the whole ride anyway.

Dave from Waterford, OH

Mr. Biles had a game, now!

JO, as Jonathan Owens is known, came to play. It was great to see him rebound from that missed tackle last week that led to the long Chargers TD. He was cutting it loose and on the attack all day.

Susan from Santa Cruz, CA

Given my location, I have only been able to watch a couple of games this fall. What a joy that this was one of them! When the Packers got the ball back just before the half, the TV announcers mentioned it may have been better to go for a free kick, instead of the one throw and the field-goal attempt. Will you explain the benefit? My football knowledge is not deep enough to understand without some explanation.

I talked about this at length in the live blog. I also asked LaFleur about it after the game. But he said the free kick wasn't really a consideration, because they were confident in running a play to get closer and call timeout. The gist is you can take a free kick to try for a field goal, with the defense unable to rush the kicker, on the next play after a fair catch. The Packers had that opportunity because Keisean Nixon fair caught the punt with five seconds on the clock.

Rick from El Cerrito, CA

This game was the perfect example of a trap game. The Lions' record is much better than the Packers'. The Packers have significant injuries. It was a home game for Detroit. All of this was a setup for a letdown. I wonder if this scenario played into the decision to start with the ball and to catch Detroit flat.

I don't think so. I think the way the Week 4 game started had a lot to do with it, though. In the NFL, I don't believe in trap games. I've said that before. The Lions were down 12 to the Bears with four minutes left four days ago. That should've been enough to get the division leaders' attention. They aren't going to dominate just by showing up. Detroit's response from here will be compelling to watch.

Brian from Twain Harte, CA

Historical note: My high school teacher, Krazy George Henderson, is credited with inventing the wave. He taught at Buchser High in Santa Clara during the day and at night he was a cheerleader for the Oakland A's. I am always happy to see and participate in the wave, as it brings back memories. Krazy George lives on and the wave is his legacy.

An Inbox reader was a student of Krazy George's. Now I've heard it all.

Colin from Victoria, BC

Great team win. They really announced their presence with authority!

Don't think, Meat. Just play.

Beau from Lancaster, PA

So when can we expect the first "Path to the Playoffs" installment?

Just beat the Chiefs. Nine days in advance of the game might be a record there. Happy Friday.

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