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Inbox: That was basically the game

It either magnifies your regrets, or erases them

Falcons RB Bijan Robinson
Falcons RB Bijan Robinson

Michael from Dover, PA



Joe from Swansea, IL

Tough to win when you run 31 fewer plays than the other team. O couldn't stay on the field, D couldn't get off it.

That was basically the game. All the rest was just about point totals.

John from Byron, MN

If you'd told me four weeks ago we'd be 1-1 starting the season with two road games and a first-year QB, I'd take it. But maybe not that way. It will be nice to get this team home.

That's a common, popular sentiment in the Inbox. A 1-1 record is not a bad spot to be in after two road games, but 2-0 was so tantalizingly within the grasp it doesn't feel very good.

Venny from Montgomery, AL

Growing pains.

We all knew they were coming. Nobody gets to skip them.

Tom from Woodbury, MN

Is this a prime example of why we need to have patience?

That too.

Bill from San Antonio, TX

Two thoughts. 1. No more chortling in II. 2. It seemed the shorthanded, inexperienced offense played a lot better than our experienced, vaunted defense.

Until the fourth quarter, when nobody played well, and the special teams even gave the Falcons a free 15 yards.

Duane from Bangor, WI

I'm guessing this won't be answered but I'll try … since ML said in his presser that Bahk will NOT be playing in games with artificial turf, is he giving some money back? Does he play if we make the playoffs and it's on turf?

That's not what LaFleur said. He made no mention of turf. He said Bakhtiari essentially will be a week-to-week proposition, regularly.

Graham from Dartford, UK

Hi Insiders, I guess these were the "growing pains" that we were expected to see? Not that Jordan Love played badly, but there was a lot left on the field today, wasn't there?

Certainly. As I wrote in my Rapid Reaction editorial, it felt like one first down in the fourth quarter was all they needed to get things started, and it would've given the defense more of a breather to regroup, too. It never came. The third-and-1 just has to be converted. No reason it shouldn't have been, from my bird's eye view.

Oscar from Santa Ana, CA

What adjustments did Atlanta do at halftime that Green Bay couldn't readjust to counter? How can the Packers learn from this moving forward?

It wasn't about halftime adjustments. The Packers dominated the third quarter. I just think the Packers never made the Falcons go away from the run, so they didn't. They were able to keep using it to set up everything else, including the 45-yard bomb early in the fourth quarter that got them right back in the game.

Justin from Los Angeles, CA

Well, we were right about one thing: running the ball and stopping the run determined who won the game.

Won't be the first time this year we say that.

Paul from Ledgeview, WI

Mike, your 5 things and game recap covered it … do we have the horses on defense to stop the run?

I think the Packers do, yes, so I'm not going to declare all is lost after one bad game. I understand the frustration year over year, and I'm not dismissing that, but this is a new-look front. The larger issue is now that performance is on film for every opponent to study. They're going to be forced to stop the run by every team that feels their concepts can succeed as well as Atlanta's. Teams attack where struggles occur, and it's out there. What's the response?

Tim from Jupiter, FL

I'll repeat a question I asked during the game's live blog. Knowing we weren't going against a Brady or Mahomes, and surely must have been game planning for their ground game, how could our run D be so poor?

That's the question everybody is asking, and I'll echo what LaFleur often says about any given topic that needs an explanation – it's never just one thing. So what were all the things? The defense was on the field too long and was clearly out of gas in the fourth quarter. On several plays – not all, but plenty – defenders were in the right positions against the run but missed tackles. It's why Bijan Robinson was the No. 8 overall pick in the draft, he makes guys miss. But it felt as the game wore on and the defense got worn out, the extra effort required to bring a guy like that down wasn't available.

Timothy from Santa Clarita, CA

Time of possession really hurt us in this game, and the Falcons almost doubled our total yardage on top of it. Anything stick out to you?

I thought the defense was out of position on two passes to Robinson that were huge plays in the game: the 29-yarder down the sideline on the second-to-last FG drive, and the third-and-3 from just across midfield on the game-winning drive. All that focus on the run, and the Packers got caught in bad spots when they threw the ball to Robinson.

Megan from Noblesville, IN

It was only Game 2 but which was the bigger unfortunate event? One of the dropped INTs or the butt-fumble-esque QB sneak? I'd say the latter since it was late in the game and looked so poor on such a simplistic play.

I think either one of those INTs by Jaire Alexander or Quay Walker is a bigger game-changer, to be honest.

Mike from Grovetown, GA

About what I expect for this season with a building team. Gonna be bumps. But very disappointed in Jaire Alexander in dropping that pick-six early. I know one play doesn't determine a game but I gotta believe a pick-six sticks in the mind of their young QB.

I agree. Hence my answer above.

Steve from Land O'Lakes, FL

Bright spots here and there. Dark spots all over the place. You could just watch the balloon deflating over the second half. Hopefully they will learn and grow from this. Too many injuries to key players to keep them in the whole game. We have double the injuries compared to the Bears and Falcons. Ouch.

I said to Larry as we were in line on the tarmac to get on the plane, it felt like dying a slow death. I don't recall one time in the entire fourth quarter there was even the slightest shift of momentum.

Jake from Decatur, GA

A loss is a loss, but it could be a lot worse than a one-point loss on the road against a very motivated team and missing our starting WR1, starting RB, starting LT, and by the end of the game our starting LG and more. I'm not too proud of it, but I'm not too worried either. Glad to be playing at home next week.

Valid perspective. I'm not making excuses for the defense, because it has to play better. But it's a team game, and offensively in the fourth quarter, the Packers needed a go-to player, and that didn't materialize.

Bob from Mahtomedi, MN

As much as I enjoy ML I feel he got way too conservative in the latter part of the game. Too many runs on first and second downs. What are your thoughts?

At 24-19, they tried a pass on first down, incomplete. At 24-22, they ran twice for nine yards to set up third-and-1. At 25-24, they threw the ball four times. The fourth quarter wasn't about mindset. It was about execution.

Phil from Santa Rosa, CA

Have you ever seen Matt LaFleur this frustrated in a postgame press conference?

I don't spend time ranking them. To be honest, I liked it. He knew the Packers should've won the game and acted like it. He wasn't going to just say these are the trials and tribulations a young QB and young offense must work through, even though it's true. He spoke as a head coach expecting to win and was audibly annoyed they didn't get it done. Youth, injuries, whatever, he's not letting anyone make excuses.

Brian from Charlottesville, VA

Don't care. We beat the Bears. How do you think Walker did at LT? Rough start but it looked like he settled in, according to my untrained eye.

I'm eager to see the film and watch all the young linemen more closely.

Jeff from Montclair, VA

ML always talks about "things we have to clean up." Given that Monday is film review, Tuesday is a day off, and Wednesday focuses on the upcoming game plan, when do players get the time to work on physical techniques and errors they need to clean up? Are they given extra reps in specific situations to work on issues? Or are they expected to combine the headwork/filmwork study with general day to day practice? Thanks for all you do.

All of the above. Film study outside of team/position meetings is on the players' themselves. The coaches also will work certain drills into practices when warranted, and they'll rep specific plays if they're likely to be part of another game plan soon.

Mot from Charlotte, NC

Well, at least Packer Nation showed up.

Hat tip to the fans. Impressive turnout for sure.

Vince from Auburn, WA

Am I the only one yelling "Get the ball!" every time one of our rookies scores his first touchdown?

Trust me, Red Batty is all over that. Has been for decades now.

Tucker from Belton, TX

Just absolutely gave it away. The delay of game that took us out of field-goal range looms large. So many opportunities to win that game, none of them were capitalized on.

Aside from injuries, if I'm listing the five biggest regrets from this game, here they are (in chronological order): the delay with the FG team on the field, the two dropped picks, Atlanta's QB-keeper TD on fourth-and-4 from the 6 (with the score 24-12), and the third-and-1 with about six minutes left. But on the flip side the Falcons couldn't punch it in with first-and-goal from the 1, they let Love scramble for 24 yards on third-and-10, they settled for another field goal when they thought they had a TD but the call was reversed, they dropped a pick in the fourth quarter … That's this league. That's the NFL. These games are filled with that kind of stuff from start to finish, which is why what really matters is what you do in crunch time, because it either magnifies your regrets, or erases them.

Will from Glendale, AZ

I guess we're not going 17-0.

If that counts as a news flash, I give up. Ha, appreciate the levity.

Ron from Roscoe, IL

Well, I think it was Mike Holmgren that said something about winning all your home games and half your away games will win you a division title (paraphrasing of course). So we are 50/50 on the away games … on to defending the home turf! Go Pack Go!

Winning 4½ road games will be an interesting trick. If fractions counted, maybe a ¾-win wouldn't feel like this.

John from Jupiter, FL

Morning Mike. That one hurts. I know the team and the season are young but it was there for the taking. Anxious to see how we progress with the full starting lineup. Thanks.

Me, too.

Chuck from Menomonie, WI

As the national pundits fall all over themselves jumping off the Packer bandwagon, I'm going to settle in. This young team is building experience. I'm going to stick around.

Me, three, as in three TDs from rookies. Not to be overlooked.

Mackenzie from Fort Worth, TX

A little shaky at the end, but it's a young team and not 100% unexpected. Will be interesting to see how they reset and rebound for the home opener.

Two home games in five days. Don't let one bad quarter beat you twice, or thrice.

Kevin from Athens, GA

The game really showed the value of Aaron Jones, or the gap when he is not there. I guess one could say you are not as good as you think after a win nor as bad after a loss. On to the Saints!

Happy Monday.

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