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Inbox: The Packers had plenty of chances

One more game until the bye finally arrives

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QB Aaron Rodgers

David from San Antonio, TX

All in all, that was an entertaining second half. The other guys are out there trying to win, too. Good game, but mistakes and missed opportunities are what make this a human and intriguing endeavor.

Anyone who wasn't expecting a four-quarter, last-possession thriller wasn't watching the same season I was. If one of many potential plays goes the other way, the Vikings are the team wondering how that one got away. That's the NFL.

Scott from Kissimmee, FL

Was that what you'd call a shoulda...woulda...coulda game?

Among other labels.

Sam from Melbourne, IA

We all knew it was going to come down to the wire. I have to say I enjoy being on the other side of the outcome much better.

I warned everyone after the Arizona game the Packers were due to lose one of these super-close ones. You just can't win them all. The Packers are now 3-1 in last-second games and are 8-3 overall. The Vikings are 3-3 and 5-5. All sounds about right, really.

Ron from Cherry Valley, IL

There's a fine line between winning and losing. A missed field goal, a couple of potential INTs that fell harmlessly, too many penalties and the inability to finish some early drives was the difference between a win or a loss. More importantly another key starter goes down. At what point do we run out of quality replacements or when do we get some key players back?

The potential loss of Elgton Jenkins feels way more significant to me than the loss of the game.

Keith from Dodgeville, WI

Fun game to watch, just wish we could have won, lost another player, hope it is not IR.

Yeah, we all have to cross our fingers for Jenkins that somehow the initial reports are wrong. Being forced to play 12 straight games without a bye isn't good for anyone. The league should do the players a favor and condense all the byes into Weeks 8-11. It'll never happen, because it makes too much sense.

Ben from Pensacola, FL

My stomach is sick. This is one of those too many missed opportunities on both sides of the ball, more or less keeping Cook in check, but allowing big plays to WRs. Did anyone else feel like MIN's OL were getting away with some holds that GB's OL got called for? Can you just either call them both ways or none at all?

That was definitely the sentiment of the live blog readers. I just refuse to get caught up in it. A lot of folks are on me for one of my blog comments, and it wasn't directed at any individual or group in particular, just at the attitude that permeates the focus. Are the officials inconsistent? Of course. Welcome to professional sports. The officiating in the NFL isn't going to improve until the league revamps everything, from training to replay to whatever else. It's a league-wide problem and there are far-worse calls that have gone against other teams and affected games to a greater degree than anything I saw Sunday. The Packers had plenty of chances to win the game and if you capitalize on those, the officiating doesn't matter.

Tom from Santa Paula, CA

Hey II, please help me out. Bengals game: Apple intercepts pass, falls to ground with no "football move" I could see, ball rolls out on ground contact so he jumps back on and no defender ever touched him – ruled interception. Savage intercepts ball, brought to body, knees down, touched by defender, ball rolls out with ground contact – ruled incomplete. Makes no sense to me. What am I missing?

Beats me. I said last week after the King INT in the end zone vs. Seattle I have no idea when they're applying the Calvin Johnson rule and when they're not anymore.

Tom from River Falls, WI

What happened to Crosby?

In my opinion, his teammates (snappers, holder, protection unit) gave him way too many worries and messed with his mojo. Now, with all the other stuff seemingly settling down, he's fighting to get his mojo back.

Robert from Burke, VA

Good thing that missed FG didn't come back to bite...oh, wait. DBs have got to come down with those balls with the game on the line. That said, I was really glad they fought back and almost pulled it out.

For a long time it felt like the missed field goal was a huge play, but in the end it seemed to matter less with the Vikings kneeling out the clock to kick a field goal instead of scoring a touchdown. I guess if they needed a TD, they might've scored with enough time left for Aaron Rodgers to get another shot. Who knows? Anyway, the game for me came down to the missed INTs – the one called back on the RTP and the two on the final drive, with Darnell Savage's drop and the sideline pass to Thielen it appeared Rasul Douglas had a shot at. The game was littered with other missed chances, too. You have to catch the ones they throw to you, plain and simple. Cousins has thrown only two picks all season, but he gave the Packers plenty of opportunities to make him the goat of all goats in that one.

Gene from Oconto Falls, WI

When was the first time the Packers played in a Thanksgiving Day football game?

Nov. 25, 1920, vs. the Stambaugh Miners.

Matt from Kula, HI

Packers' defense: Overhyped? Injuries (particularly Gary) finally too numerous to overcome? One-game aberration? Certainly it can't be that Cousins is that good.

As noted prior to the game, the key now is how the Packers' defense responds to this. It's just not realistic in this league to continue that level of performance for an extended period (or dare I say, achieve FULL CONSISTENCY). Rashan Gary's absence in the pass rush was obvious. Not having Jaire Alexander also showed up more in this game than others, with Minnesota's array of weapons and route combinations that had the secondary looking a step slow at times. Turnovers can help compensate for a defense's rough patches, and the Packers didn't get any, which was entirely their own fault.

Dale from Fenton, MI

It's gonna be a long battle.

Six games to go. One team in the NFC has two losses, and five total have three or fewer. It feels like the real season is just getting started.

JR from East Moline, IL

Who do you think had the best single season MVP performance of any sport, or if it's a sport without that award, best one-year performance?

I'd probably have to go with either Wayne Gretzky or Wilt Chamberlain. Take your pick of two of Gretzky's MVP (Hart Trophy) seasons – when he scored 92 goals and finished with 212 points in 1981-82, or when he posted 163 assists and finished with 215 points in 1985-86. Or when Chamberlain averaged 50.4 points per game in 1961-62.

Colton from Pleasant View, UT

A bit of a rough day as far as the game ending how everyone had hoped, but I was happy to see Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Equanimeous St. Brown have some big explosive plays when we needed them. What other positives did you see or what really stuck out to you? Also, when was the last time we had two receivers go over 100 yards in the same game?

I believe it was back in 2018, the Monday night game vs. San Francisco, when the Packers actually had three over 100 – Davante Adams, MVS and Graham. It was definitely good to see MVS make some noise and EQ produce in Lazard's absence. Those are good developments for the stretch run. To come back from 16-3, 23-10 and 31-24 on the road in a noisy place without Aaron Jones also said something about the offense.

Jake from Regina, Canada

Gentlemen, the name of this game was clearly missed opportunities; however, I believe the offensive output is quite a bright spot. Cleaning up the irregularities on defense (dropped picks, excessive penalties) and keeping the offense rolling will put the Pack in a nice spot moving forward. Sometimes the breaks don't go our way, but I don't believe this was the type of game that will give our enemies a blueprint on beating the Packers moving forward. For the most part, Kirk got lucky.

Quarterbacks are going to make good throws. They're pros. When they make bad ones, you have to make them regrettable, or it's too easy to shake it off and move on to the next one.

Ken from Oceanport, NJ

As atrocious as the secondary played against the Vikings, do you think Jerry Gray being a former Viking coach, the Vikings had a read on his pass coverages?

I don't think that was it. I saw some route combinations that either were new, and therefore Green Bay wasn't prepared for them, or the Packers simply played poorly. I've commented before about seeing the secondary pass off routes to one another smoothly, everybody on point with their assignments. That wasn't the case in this particular game. Cousins had plenty of time to let those route combinations develop as well. The coverage was forced to hold up longer and didn't.

Chuck from Stillwater, MN

If you would have asked me in September if I'd be happy with 2-2 over this past four-game stretch I'd say heck yeah! Do you agree? Just beat the Rams and everything we want is right there for the taking.

Losing Rodgers for a game obviously hurt, because it was a shame to waste such a dynamite defensive performance in KC. Games like this are going to happen in this league to the best defenses, and obviously if the offense shows up in KC or the defense shows up in Minnesota, the Packers have one more win to show for their efforts. But 4-3 on the road is respectable, and 4-0 at home is called taking care of business. That's the Packers' task next week, to keep winning at home.

Patsi from Riverside, CA

What a phenomenal quarterback rating for Aaron Rodgers today! Hopefully he will be able to power through the toe injury for a parallel game next week.

For the toe injury to prevent him from practicing, and then for him to discuss what sounds like serious pain after the game, yet to play like that is pretty incredible. He was frustrated by the slow start and the pattern those have become, as I noted in my postgame editorial, but those numbers on the last four drives: 15-of-18, 274 yards, four TDs. Mercy.

Darryl from Glen Carbon, IL

Good morning, II. Is this correct? One year today, the Packers lost to the Colts BY THE SAME SCORE! 34-31.

And then the Packers won six straight to close the regular season, so they got that goin' for 'em, which is nice.

Ryan from Oshkosh, WI

Can I petition the league to stop putting Detroit on Thanksgiving?

Not if it means Tim Boyle gets another start we actually can watch. Hoping the young man can bounce back.

M from Marshfield, WI

What are the chances we will have most of our key players healthy for playoffs?

I honestly have no idea. The Packers obviously are hoping to be healthier after the bye week and December rolls along, but the current injury list hasn't stopped more injuries from occurring. So all bets are off as far as I'm concerned.

Bob from Port St. Lucie, FL

It was a beautiful play to MVS but did we score too quickly?

Not if Savage hangs onto the ball. Then there's enough time on the clock for the Packers to win in regulation.

Davy from Watertown, WI

I was hoping for a Cardinal loss so I could say we still had the best record. But second-best isn't bad.

The Seahawks are really struggling right now. Arizona has won a couple of games with Colt McCoy and deserve plenty of credit for that. Everyone's got injuries to deal with.

Anthony from Jamestown, ND

Which fan base should feel more down, Titans or Packers?

Bills lose to the Jaguars a couple weeks ago, Titans fall to the previously one-win Texans. I saw a stat that teams .500 or worse have knocked off division leaders nine times over the last three weeks. Nine times in three weeks!

Mark from Westminster, CO

Only one question. Now what?

One more game until the bye finally arrives, and 9-3 will look a whole lot better than 8-4.

Aaron from Hayden, ID

Several front-line starters out injured, Jenkins (reportedly) torn ACL, multiple dropped INTs by the D, a stupid amount of penalties, mysterious toe injury for Rodgers, defensive regression...and the Vikings STILL needed almost everything to go right to squeak out a win. Encouraging, or harbinger of things to come?

It's a new week in a week-to-week league. Happy Monday.

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