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Inbox: The unsung hero goes to …

Nothing to do but keep playing

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DL Dean Lowry

Caleb from Knoxville, TN

After further review… Aaron Rodgers still owns the Bears.

He's 15-2 against them since they broke his collarbone nine years ago. Just sayin'.

T from Cedar Falls, IA

Oh, thank God.

I can't even fathom what the Inbox would've looked like if the Packers had lost that game. I barely survived the live blog when the score was 16-3.

Joseph from Vermillion, SD

Where's Mike to give us his Final Thoughts? Hope he's okay. Maybe he went on vacation and the season will start its turnaround today?

I fell ill late in the week and had to work from home Friday through the weekend, including covering another road game via TV. Little did I know powering through last Thursday's "Unscripted" with that out-of-tune voice was just the beginning, but I'm coming out the other side now. I hope.

Bruce from Brookfield, WI

With a great come-from-behind win against our archrival Bears, the Pack now has the most wins in NFL history with the Bears one behind. What other teams round out the top five for wins?

Giants, Steelers and Washington. The Giants are 74 wins behind the Packers, in case you're wondering.

Mike from Sheboygan, WI

That jet sweep was being set up all game. Scary to think what a full season of CW could set up.

Weeks ago I felt, and said, before his TD binge began that Christian Watson's injuries were a bigger hindrance to the offense's development in the post-Adams transition than anyone wanted to admit. I think that's proven to be true. It's easy to forget the Packers scored 20 points in the first half against the Giants, who have a pretty good defense, before Watson left that game in London.

David from Chestertown, MD

Does it take a Sherlock to deduce the elementary value of Watson?

I'm not trying to take that much credit, but you can see yourself out.

Reed from Myrtle Beach, SC

Was it a rookie mistake that Watson scored on his run? Let's face it – the game is basically over if he stops short, kills time, runs around and goes down anywhere inside the 5. The Packers can kneel down three plays, Bears use all their TOs, Packers kick a FG. That would leave almost no time and the Bears would have needed a TD to win. If they missed the two-point conversion, no doubt the Bears would have gone for two and the win if they had somehow scored.

The "no mas" idea was discussed on the sideline before Watson's run, and it was the right call to not take a dive. There was 1:51 on the clock when he scored. Say he runs around like you suggest and goes down at 1:45. Kneeling three times with three timeouts kills maybe 10-15 seconds. Packers kick a field goal to go up by four, the Bears are getting it back with more than a minute left, needing a TD to win. That would have been disastrous. If the Bears are out of timeouts, you definitely don't score. Apples and oranges. I do agree with you the Bears would've gone for two and the win had the Packers only been up seven.

Matt from Waunakee, WI

Hi Mike, I know it worked out, but what is your opinion of going for two?

It's not the call I'd have made, but I'm generally conservative in those situations, and I'm not getting paid the big bucks. I'd prefer to go up eight and give my defense two chances to get the game-winning stop – stop the drive, or stop the two-point play – and worst-case scenario is OT, as opposed to the worst-case noted above. That's how the Packers won the game in Tampa. But if you're trying to impress a lay-it-on-the-line mentality with your team this time of year, that's a way to do it.

Joshua from Milwaukee, WI

The simplest complementary football: The defense took the ball away three times, and the offense complemented it with zero giveaways. Will we see more of it?

That's what it takes to win. But that's not my definition of complementary football. When the defense got a takeaway in the first half, the offense did nothing with it, and the Packers eventually fell behind, 16-3. That's the non-complementary game we've seen too much. In the second half, the Packers blocked a field goal, then drove for one. Then picked off a pass, and turned it into a touchdown. You take command, momentum-wise, by building on the other phases' big moments, and the Packers did so at the best possible time, in the fourth quarter.

Al from Green Bay, WI

Justin Fields did some damage to GB with his legs in the first half, but the second half was a different story. I don't recall him running much (or at all?) during the second half. I suppose it's speculation to answer the question, but what drove the change?

Wes suggested in his locker room report that the defense felt a few hits they put on Fields after his long TD run might've led to the Bears backing off the called QB runs. He did come into the game with a banged-up left shoulder, remember.

Johnny from Fort Myers, FL

1. Beating the Bears twice is quite a balm for a lousy season otherwise. 2. If anyone dares doubt that Christian Watson is a superstar they're a fool. 3. Will the NFL ever consider one foot in bounds equals a catch, just like in college football?

1. Not for me, but to each his/her own. 2. Many readers were saved the embarrassment of having their "Watson is a bust" submissions posted when he was dealing with injuries. You know who you are. 3. When donkeys fly.

Mark from Eau Claire, WI

Christian Watson seems to be having a heckuva run. Does his play style remind you of any other players?

I think he's just fine being Christian Watson.

Michael from Las Terrenas, DR

Mike: Great comeback by the Pack! Who is your unsung hero of the game? I nominate Sammy Watkins. I don't think he was targeted once, but he made some amazing blocks to spring two touchdowns. It takes all 11, each doing his 1/11th.

Kudos to Watkins on his perimeter blocks, but the unsung hero goes to Dean Lowry for blocking the field goal. If that kick goes through and the Bears go up by five, the last 12 minutes could've played out very differently. Also, honorable mention to Zach Tom for making another solid emergency start at left tackle.

Marjorie from Roseville, CA

Where were the refs in the first half? There were so many holding and even PI calls that were never made.

As soon as someone figures out the NFL's officiating, let me know. I saw a statistic from an analyst indicating over the last two seasons how one crew has called 42 holding penalties and another crew has called eight. It's a week-to-week league in every single aspect.

Adam from Aloha, OR

Given that both teams have the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Packers, is the Giants/Commanders tie the best outcome for the Packers' playoff chances?

I see what you mean, but I'm not going there. If the Packers win their next two and are 7-8 on Christmas night, I'll take a peek under the tree at other scores and records.

Keith from Truro, Canada

Hi Mike/Wes, with two great running backs, why would AR not hand the ball to one of them on third-and-1 (re: opening drive of the second half). Don't you think that is a better option than a pass?

The Packers throw the ball on third-and-short all the time. The head-scratcher in this instance was the pass wasn't even play-action. But LaFleur admitted after the game to being distracted on the play call because he was so upset about Dillon's second-down run (when he fell but wasn't touched) getting blown dead, which negated any possible challenge.

Zak from Huntington Beach, CA

How about Zach Tom? I mean, he clearly spells his name wrong … but I don't think he even allowed a QB pressure all game, let alone a sack or TFL. Great game for the rookie, especially on such short notice. Was he getting much help during the game, or was he mostly on an island?

I'll have to check the film on that, but the Bears have one of the lowest sack totals in the league, so the pass protection performed as expected, rookie LT or not. It was exactly the type of work in front of him Rodgers needed with those sore ribs.

Jim from St. Paul, MN

Mike, if you're giving leadership a pass based on their regular-season success, and despite their playoff failures, then you and many of us simply disagree on what success means. It's very possible we've gone 13-3 several times despite our leadership, and not because of it. You think differently, sure, but that doesn't mean I'm wrong either. We've failed during playoff football.

There's no denying the Packers have failed in the playoffs. But if that's your primary measure of success, then only one (or maybe two) teams each year can be considered successful. That's an unrealistic standard in a 32-team league that has the best GMs, coaches and players, spread throughout, fighting for the same prize, with a level of randomness implicit in one-and-done scenarios. If you want to believe the Packers have posted multiple 13-win seasons despite their leadership, that's your prerogative, but it sounds silly to me.

Tom from Saugus, CA

Well, I must admit the way things were going in the first half I was waiting for the wheels to fall off as usual. I'll give credit to the "never say die" play of this Packer team as they now have two comeback wins from several scores down on either side of two games they might have won with a play here or there. Looks like da Bears picked on Jaire Alexander one time too many!

I don't know how anyone has fun playing cornerback in this league. The best ones have amnesia. Jaire is always trying to anticipate, and it burned him twice. Nothing to do but keep playing because you never know when your instincts and the ball will finally converge.

Clem from La Crosse, WI

Would you agree that AJ Dillon has been playing like his (metaphorically speaking, of course) hair was on fire? Do you have thoughts on why this late-season surge by Dillion?

He's crediting it to becoming a father, I guess. Whatever works. Congrats to the Dillons.

Dan from Morehead City, NC

Joe Barry's defense has been criticized for playing soft corners and giving up easy first downs. Wasn't that same defensive strategy also used by Mike Pettine and it led to his ouster?

Yes, LaFleur was pretty clear that a scheme's situational approach/awareness was the impetus for the change two years ago. I thought the defense responded well in the second half, but combined with the first half it was just more evidence of the Jekyll-n-Hyde nature that has defined its season.

Butch from Donna, TX

Get three turnovers, block a field goal and put the ball in No. 9's hands. That's how you come back from a 13-point deficit.

And that might not have been enough if the opponent had more than three wins, if you're wondering about the column's subdued tone. The Packers' next opponent also has three wins, but I wouldn't advise going down 13 again.

Robert from Saginaw, MI

Do you know when the NFL will release the Week 18 schedule?

Most of it won't be known until after the Week 17 games, but a portion could be announced prior to that.

Mike from Cascade, ID

Hi II, so, was there a sighting of the "double bird" lady in Chicago?

Apparently there were reports of several bird sightings. Amazing how they can brave the cold in the Windy City.

Scott from Muir Beach, CA

I, too, am excited for the bye.

It's been a long time coming, and the Packers aren't where they want to be as it arrives. When the schedule came out, I emphasized how they had to survive the long haul to be in position for the stretch run. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. They're still alive, but it's amazing how different this win would feel if it were even just the sixth instead of the fifth.

Anthony from Auburn, WA

In three words or less, sum up what Packers players and coaches will be doing during the bye.

I'll do it in one. Disconnecting.

Dave from Hollywood, MD

Well, hello my little friend!

I'll take it for as long as it lasts. Happy Monday.

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