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Inbox: The setting was as good as it gets

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Bob from Port St. Lucie, FL

The ending was the ultimate "bend, don't break" moment. Do you ever recall a game-ending stop inside the 1-yard line before? Now rest and on to San Francisco.

Very reminiscent of the 2011 kickoff opener against New Orleans, when Mark Ingram got stood up trying to leap over the pile on the final play of an eight-point game.

Trevor from Seattle, WA

Comment: I'm a fan of going for it at the end of the half, regardless of the outcome. It shows trust and gusto. Unfortunately, David Bakhtiari couldn't pull off the challenging reach block (this time). Question: After the Panthers player entered the end zone on punt coverage but failed to re-establish himself, did he take his helmet off to argue the call? Should this not have been a penalty, offsetting our holding penalty?

Sure, and as countless Inbox readers are questioning, the last play should have been flagged for Van Roten trying to pull McCaffrey into the end zone. Rule 12, Section 1, Article 4(a). It’s right here on the NFL’s football ops website in the 2019 NFL Rulebook. It was brought up in my last Inbox, how that rule is being completely ignored, for whatever reason. And no, they can’t call the penalty off the replay review. Just keep playing. Just keep playing.

Steven from Western Springs, IL

Wisconsin-Iowa game. QB sneak. Running back pushes QB for first down. Announcer says perfectly legal. Is it? Are rules different between college and pro and why do you think they don't enforce that rule in the pros? Is it something you can challenge?

You can push, you can’t pull.

Dan from Indianapolis, IN

On the last play it seemed like Kyler Fackrell was incorrectly lined up pre-snap. His late shift actually worked perfectly as the offensive lineman’s timing seemed off and Fackrell slipped right by. Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.

Wes mentioned to me Blake Martinez adjusted Fackrell right before the snap. I definitely have to take a closer look at it.

Bruce from Bloomington, IL

There's something a little different about this team. Yes, they still made mistakes that make big swings in the momentum and the score. Not enough characters available in the II box to list out all the mistakes, but we hold on to win by about six inches. Learning from adversity will hopefully keep everyone on an even keel through the, much needed, bye.

This Packers team knows it doesn’t have everything figured out. LaFleur made that pretty clear after the game. I don’t think this team needs another day like LA to learn any more lessons.

Mike from Algoma, WI

“If I had to do it again, I’d go for it again . . .” Love that quote. I had no problem with going for it. Sometimes the other team makes a play. But could we find some way to avoid the delay of game after a timeout?

Or a false start on first-and-goal from the 2. Or offside on fourth-and-1 with less than 15 seconds left. To be fair, the delay was the second play after the timeout, but yeah.

Larry from Chippewa Falls, WI

What, ML doesn't believe in getting the sure points when he can? That could have really cost them.

I didn’t think it was a slam-dunk decision either way. Strong arguments on both sides. I don’t fault the call. It was practically the only play all game the Panthers stopped an inside run.

Brian from Oshkosh, WI

They say our defense gives up chunk yardage but they do seem to stand tall in the red zone. One INT, one goal-line stand, failed two-point attempt. I like those numbers.

The decision to go for two by Rivera was certainly curious, but the stop the Packers got on that play was huge. It gave the Green Bay defense two chances to win the game at the end – stop the TD or the conversion.

Randy from Sheboygan, WI

At this point in the season which rookie has had the biggest impact on the team?

Without question it’s Elgton Jenkins. As mentioned before in this space, he’s on his way to All-Rookie Team recognition.

David from Pensacola, FL

Time to revisit the question. Who do we want to win? San Francisco or Seattle? I am thinking we want San Francisco to win. More than likely, they will be earning a first-round bye. However, if the Seahawks lose, won't that mean that Green Bay is tied with New Orleans for the second seed? After losing to the Falcons, New Orleans looks beatable. Just my two cents.

Sounds reasonable to me. Your rooting interest really depends on whether your goal is a first-round bye or the No. 1 seed.

Lee from Brisbane, Australia

How good was the recent Mike Pettine presser? It’s refreshing to see a coach answer questions honestly when talking about players in these situations. Love the work you guys do to provide us with this insight.

I learn something every time Pettine meets with the media. His sessions are always enlightening.

Ray from Middletown, NY

Dan from Wausau pointed out that the Chargers beat the Packers who beat the Raiders who beat the Chargers. The one common denominator was being at home. That’s where the Pack want to be in January!

Works for me.

Mariano from Cerritos, CA

Watching the Saints early Sunday, my thought was every good team has a bad day. Where did I hear that over the last week?

The ultimate “this is the NFL” result was 1-7 Atlanta beating 7-1 New Orleans, at the Superdome no less, and the game wasn’t really that close. The defending NFC champion Rams are 5-4 now, too. Their own division might be out of reach before Thanksgiving.

Matt from Waunakee, WI

Hi Mike, what was your impression of Kyle Allen?

He belongs. He made some real standout throws, especially the deep out route to Olsen on the final drive. He dropped that in there perfectly. But he made three mistakes – fumbled snap, forcing one into the end zone on second down, and the late throw Jaire Alexander should have picked. Packers made him pay for two of the three. If it’s 3-for-3, he’s the goat, and it’s chalked up to the life of a young quarterback.

Zachary from Wayland, MI

Hi. I am 8 years old and want to ask what is your favorite play of the Packers?

Play-action, after a good running play and Rodgers really sells it. It’s the best play in football, in my opinion.

Matt from Eau Claire, WI

When was the last time a Packers running back scored this many touchdowns in a season? It feels like it's been a real long time.

Aaron Jones’ 11 rushing TDs are the most since Eddie Lacy had 11 as a rookie in 2013. The 14 total touchdowns are the most by a Packers running back since Ahman Green scored 20 (15 rushing, five receiving) in 2003.

Corey from Las Vegas, NV

Tough win, and on to the bye. But why does it seem like this defense can't cover anybody, especially tight ends? Olsen was open on crossers all day.

The Packers had defenders biting on the play-action to McCaffrey quite a bit. Understandable, but better vision and discipline are required.

Will from Glendale, AZ

As an out-of-state fan, nothing beats watching the Packers on TV under the lights of Lambeau with snow falling. With that said, what's one adjustment from the defense you want to see coming out of the bye?

The setting was as good as it gets Sunday night. The defense needs to keep cutting down on the explosives. After the 38-yarder early, the Panthers only had two more plays of 20-plus. A bunch in the 15-to-18 range, but it’s still incremental progress. It has to continue.

Tom from Ft. Myers, FL

With your firm “knockout pool” rules, were you able to go deep into the season more often than not? Asking for a friend.

Yes, as a matter of fact I was, until gambling became illegal at Bushwood.

Lori from Brookfield, WI

Mike, Vic recently posted that the goals of his blog are to "inform, entertain and anger." Do you concur or do your writing goals head in other directions?

My objectives are limited to the first two. I have no stake in anyone’s emotional response to my work.

Brandon from Tucson, AZ

Couldn’t help but smile when Tramon Williams got the pick. Although his play has been nothing short of solid and consistent, he hasn’t gotten an interception since he came back and it was great to see him get one again.

Last year was the first in Tramon’s long career he didn’t get at least one interception. I’m sure it felt good for him, too, even if it came at the expense of a missed pick(-six?) by a teammate.

Jay from Fairport, NY

We hear a lot about letting players develop and grow into consistent NFL players. Where does most of that development take place? Practice, training camp, film sessions, or real game experience? I think as fans we tend to think of practice being the main spot for players to improve their craft, but with the practice restrictions in the CBA I wonder how much they allow players to improve.

It all counts, and every player is different. But from my experience, I’ve seen players improve the most during training camp, because the practice repetitions and film study are the most extensive and intensive during that time. Once the season starts, I think players have to be playing in games to really improve.

Luke from Verona, WI

Does JK Scott have any experience in snowy, cold weather? He appears to be lacking distance on his kicks lately.

Scott struggled later in the season last year as well, so he has to figure it out. But his two fourth-quarter pooch punts were exactly what the Packers were looking for, pinning the Panthers on the 8- and 11-yard lines.

Lucas from Morgantown, WV

That's the type of win that leaves you breathless for a few hours. Those guys should be proud of what they just did. What's with Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Geronimo Allison though? Am I missing something? This team needs more from their experienced receivers. I still think they'll come through, but it's November. A great coach once said, "It is time."

It may be Allen Lazard’s time. He looked like the No. 2 receiver on Sunday the way he was being used.

Kirsten from Madison, WI

Ten games into the season, we know who the Packers' defense is at least: Big plays. They're going to give 'em up. They're going to make a few. We win when they make more than they give up.

It’s not the plays you make, it’s when you make ’em. Defense in this league is hard. You just keep fighting until something goes your way.

JT from Whitewater, WI

Just an amendment to the Dope Sheet. Carolina’s linebackers coach, Steve Russ, is from Stetsonville, Wis., (pop. 541) and graduated from Medford Area Senior High. He also has two SB rings from his time as a linebacker/special teams player for the Broncos, the first of which came as the result of SB XXXII.

When I covered Super Bowl XXXII for the Wausau Daily Herald, I wrote a big biographical story that week on Russ (Medford is less than an hour from Wausau). I hadn’t thought about that piece for a long time, but it doesn’t surprise me he’s coaching. He struck me as an all football, all the time guy.

Nick from White Bear Township, MN

Hi all! Great and very important win for the Pack. Did you guys watch the Vikings game? I still get sweaty palms thinking about Week 16.

Long way to go before we get there. Big road win for the Vikings. They did what they had to, splitting the toughest back-to-back on their schedule (at KC, at Dallas). Their red-zone defense in the fourth quarter won the game.

Sandy from Green Bay, WI

What a great time at Lambeau Field! Between the D-Train entertainment, snow-globe conditions, halftime parachuters, flickering lights and fireworks after touchdowns, and jumbotron entreaties by players to get loud, what element of the game experience tickled your fancy the most?

When Wes found me an oatmeal raisin cookie at halftime.

Lee from Leesburg, FL

Which remaining matchup are you looking forward to the most?

How can you not be fired up for the first one after the bye, at San Francisco? I’ll take my break next weekend, but I know I’ll be geared up.

Bruce from New Canaan, CT

No comment, but major applause to the Packers organization for its association with Honor Flight. My father, a Korean War vet, took an Honor Flight a couple years ago. He is not an overly emotional man, at least outwardly, but he cannot talk about how much that day meant to him without choking up. I am sure the Packers organization knows this, but that one day is incredibly meaningful to men who are pretty far into the back nine of life.

I went on an Honor Flight four years ago, the first one the Packers were involved with, to write a story. The experience was special, to say the least. Happy Veterans Day, everyone, and a heartfelt thanks to all those being deservedly honored today.

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