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Inbox: The play changed the game more than any other

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Lance from New Richmond, WI

Yet another heartbreaker. 0-5 on the road, and third down was brutal. We had all the chances once again, and we let them off the hook!

It’s getting difficult to rank the losses by level of frustration.

Logan from Waukesha, WI

I’ve had faith even through the ups and downs this season up to this point. I think I’ve lost it after this one.

Hard to blame you. I get it. Going winless on the road is no way to live. This was a huge opportunity. Seattle is not the Seattle of 4-5 years ago. The Seahawks had lost six of their previous eight at home. The Packers had leads of 14-3, 21-17 and 24-20, but the same kinds of mistakes that have plagued this team all year prevented them from being in better position. It’s always hard to win on the road, but the Packers have constantly found ways to make it harder.

Caleb from Nashville, TN

I desperately want to keep submitting questions to make myself feel better, but I’ll stop at four. I hate losing at CenturyLink.

A lot of bad feelings came back the minute I walked back into that stadium, and into that press box, for the first time in 46 months. They went away in the first minute of the game, and I thought they were going to stay away all night. I really did.

Matt from Seattle, WA

I was at the game and felt the Packer fans really showed up. “Our” 12th man was loud and helped with five false starts by my count. My question is, since it's so hard to tell on the stadium screen, there's no way that was a catch, right?

I thought the overturn on Moore was the play that changed the game more than any other. Instead of fourth down from their own 6, down 21-17 late in the third and punting from the back of their end zone, the Seahawks were on the move and got within 21-20. I absolutely fail to see how the evidence on Moore was “indisputable.” I saw the ball moving the whole time, but if you slow something down long enough, of course it’ll look like control eventually. Once again, the command center showed its inconsistency in whether the call on the field matters. They looked at it and tried to find a way to call it a catch, after years of the catch rule prompting the replay officials to look for ways to not call them catches. The mindset has clearly shifted, because I’ve seen it in other games this season. In my opinion, the idea that the call on the field was incomplete got totally lost in the desire to apply this year’s tweak to the catch rule. It felt like a biased call. Not biased toward the Seahawks, but biased toward the new rule, if that makes sense.

Colin from Tripoli, WI

The unwillingness of the coach to challenge the likely incomplete pass is directly caused by the baffling misuse of their timeouts. This is absolutely inexcusable from a coach and QB that have been together for 13 years. It's mind-boggling at this point.

I’m not convinced the Lockett catch would have been overturned (see above), but I agree if the Packers are not down to their last timeout, it would have been worth a shot. McCarthy said their look at the replay was late. I know burning timeouts early has been an issue most of the season, and it cost the Packers a lot more in this game than previous ones, especially when neither of the first two timeouts in the second half produced a positive result.

Brandon from Tulsa, OK

Mike, you wrote in your game recap that the Packers aren’t quite up against the wall yet. I completely disagree. This team absolutely has its back against the wall and they’d better play like it if they want a chance to make the postseason. The talent is there everywhere. Playoff football starts now for this team.

You may be right. I just don’t feel like it’s truly mathematically do-or-die time. That’s all I meant. But if the Packers want to maintain any control of their fate rather than just be hanging in and scoreboard watching, then yeah, they’re up against it now.

Jim from Ocean, NJ

How can the NFL justify the officials they put on the field? Calls or lack of calls needs to be validated. Holding on third-quarter kickoff 7-8 yards behind runner? Call on St. Brown block in the back when it's from the side. No PI on shot to Adams’ face before ball arrives on sideline inside the 20. And then most of all the Seahawks pass that was clearly not controlled and dropped as a catch.

It feels like the Packers haven’t gotten an officiating break all year, though I’m sure I’m forgetting something somewhere along the line. I called the DPI on Wagner vs. Adams down the sideline live. You can ask Wes. I thought the St. Brown call was legit, but the block was unnecessary because Jones was cutting to make the defender miss anyway. I haven’t yet seen a replay of the kickoff return, but I’ll take a look. It’s just been one of those years. But as far as the flags on Green Bay, I will say if you don’t give them something to see, the flags won’t come out.

Michael from Portland, OR

I am completely dumbfounded why the NFL doesn't adopt the college replay review process. It’s quick, accurate and fair. Can you please shed some light as to why they don’t?

Are you aware how long it took the NFL to adopt the two-point conversion from the college game?

Adam from St. Louis, MO

What do you think is holding back this team offensively?

Exactly what Rodgers continues to say, third down and red zone. He’s rarely finding the first or second read open on third down and holding the ball. There’s no rhythm on third down, which is hard to fathom. It’s far too often becoming an extended play. The red zone has been a similar mystery, and struggle, all season.

Mariano from Cerritos, CA

I know a lot of people are going to point to the missed challenge, but I think not going for it on fourth-and-2 was the moment. Worst case, you give up the ball for a score, but stopping them for a FG and giving the ball to the offense with time on the clock was a possibility. Lose by three, six, or 10, it is still a loss.

McCarthy said he definitely considered going for it, given how the defensive front had lost Daniels and Clark at that point and the Seahawks would obviously be in full run mode. The defense was going to be in a really tough spot regardless of the field position.

Joe from Columbia, MO

Kyler Fackrell? More like Kyler "Sackrell" am I right? About the only good thing from that game, other than Adams continuing to be a monster and showing that no single mortal can cover him.

Hats off to Fackrell. What a game. Nearly had four sacks and was a menace all night. You can’t help but feel good for a guy who has quietly just worked and worked and worked and is seeing the fruits of his labor. Monster is as good a word as any for Adams right now. If he doesn’t get smacked in the facemask by Wagner, he has a 200-yard game.

Phil from Salt Lake City, UT

Not a Brewers fan, but there is something about watching a humble person get recognized that makes it feel better. Congrats to Yelich, he deserved it.

He certainly did, even though he’ll never act like he did, which is admirable in this day and age.

Mike from Jackson, MI

Can’t the “onside punt” question from yesterday be nullified by the receiving team declaring a fair catch?

Yes, I had mentioned that earlier in the season.

Nick from Watertown, SD

Why are the Packers only running Aaron Jones four times in the second half when they had the lead the whole time up until the Dickson TD? Seemed to be more of a flow in the offense in the first half when they had Jones running and giving him a chance to contribute. I’m just struggling to see what McCarthy was thinking.

The questions about the play-calling are non-stop. I’ve always maintained that without knowing all the options Rodgers has at the line and who’s actually making the final decision on a given play, the discussion is useless. Whatever is called, or decided, make it work, and the Packers’ production was fine in my eyes except for third down. That’s not to be diminished, obviously.

Carolyn from Minneapolis, MN

Hi Insiders, might be a tad early, but I was wondering if there will be a pep rally in Minneapolis for the Packers-Vikings game on Nov. 25. I attended one a few years ago and it was a blast. If the NFL comes through, I'll get tickets to the game to bring a couple Packer buddies from here in Minneapolis, but I'd also like to get them to the rally as they've never been. Thanks!

Yes, we’ll be at Cowboy Jack’s on Saturday, Nov. 24.

Elizabeth from Sylvania, OH

What exactly was Le'Veon Bell hoping to get out of all of this? Didn't it become clear to him at some point that the Steelers weren't going to pay him what he wanted and weren't struggling enough without him to change their minds?

He’s betting he can get significantly more than $14.5 million in guaranteed money on the open market, rather than play under that one-year tag and risk injury heading into free agency. That’s it in a nutshell.

Al from Austinmer, Australia

How about dem wolves? I can hear the howling from here.

Nature of the beast when you’re sub-.500 for a second year in a row after eight straight playoff appearances. All I know is the howling won’t help the Packers win games, and they have six more to play this season, with plenty still to play for.

Drew from Rogers City, MI

Does Jaire Alexander have a shot at Defensive Rookie of the Year?

He’s certainly in the conversation with enough football left, but there’s a strong crop of defensive rookies in the league this year – Chubb, James, Ward, Leonard among them. There are many legitimate candidates.

Eric from De Pere, WI

If a team scores a touchdown on a play which was not goal-to-go, are they credited with a first down in the game statistics?

I believe so, yes.

Jake from Franklin, WI

It seems like every time the team is so close to being the team we all hoped they would be this season, something happens to change that view. I know total consistency is a fantasy, but is this team’s identity the complete opposite of that?

Not to be snide, but the Packers haven’t played a good, solid fourth quarter on the road all season, which has consistently been their undoing. I’ve never covered a team where the storyline has stayed this consistent for this long.

Josh from Nicholasville, KY

New week, same story. I’m just not used to seeing Aaron Rodgers not make plays at crunch time. What gives?

Don’t we wish we knew? He’s made the plays at crunch time at Lambeau Field, but not away from there. I can’t explain it, because he’s done it so many times in the past.

Patrick from Inver Grove Heights, MN

3-11 on third down. I don't think there's really much else to say.

And only two of the 11 required more than seven yards to convert, while none needed more than 10, which was the holdup earlier in the season. The message was get more third-and-manageables, but that hasn’t changed the results.

Steve from Beaverton, OR

How often does a team appear to win all three phases, the turnover battle, and have the better QB play, but still come up short? This season is so perplexing.

Even with all the miscues, the Packers were the better team for 3½ quarters. But that doesn’t mean anything, which shouldn’t be perplexing at all.

Jake from St. Clair Shores, MI

So this is what it feels like?

To be like most of the league and not be able to take playoff berths for granted? Yup.

Caleb from La Crosse, WI

It doesn't matter if the cup is half full or half empty. You just have to drink the whole thing. Heartbreaking loss but time to have a scotch and move on. Well, maybe two.

Hey, the season is not over. If you don’t give up at 4-6 two years ago, you don’t give up now. You keep fighting and see if the spark finally pops. But I didn’t spend this Inbox trying to be optimistic and change the mood, not after another same old story. You’re allowed to be angry, annoyed and frustrated after that one, but just like the Packers, you must use the weekend off to regroup, refresh and focus on what’s in front. The Packers have to get healthy, and I’m not sure what the prospects are for that. But I said several weeks ago I expected the Packers to start playing better, I just wasn’t sure if it would be enough given the schedule. They have played better than before the bye, but it hasn’t been enough, yet. Yet can still be the operative word, for now.

Mike from Charlotte, NC

Disappointing, but consistently so. It ended in very much the same fashion as every other road game this year. Just not good enough. Now decimated by injuries, it is too much to overcome. I think 10-5-1 is unrealistic, and that is okay. What is most disappointing to you, Mike, about this season?

I think I’ve pretty much covered it. Happy Friday, everyone.

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