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Inbox: These are gritty, character-builders

Yet another example of shaking it off and plowing forward

Packers celebrate after Mason Crosby's game-winning field goal against the 49ers on Sunday night

Ken from Cypress, CA

Whew! What a ride!

Were you not entertained?

Zak from Huntington Beach, CA

At the risk of getting banned for math: 12 + 17 + 2 = Clutch

Works for me.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

37 seconds. 2 throws, 1 kick. All wow.

It was interesting how Davante Adams said after the game that being out of timeouts, which easily could have been a killer there, might have actually helped the Packers because defensively the 49ers were focused on guarding the boundaries. Plays were there in the middle, and Aaron Rodgers knew he had enough time for two completions and two spikes. So smart of Adams to just go down on the second catch and not try to get out of bounds. I still get a lump in my throat during those last-second spike situations because if anybody flinches, it's a 10-second runoff on the false start and the game is over. The precision and mastery of the entire ordeal is fascinating.

Gordy from Tomahawk, WI

I have a bet with a friend that there was at least one YA-HOO from you and Wes at the end of the game!

Nope. Too busy live blogging and having to transition to the bulletin story on the finish. I did let out an "Oh my (goodness)" when Garoppolo fumbled that ball in the fourth quarter, though. I thought the Packers were putting the game away there.

Aumed from Moorhead, MN

Good morning Insiders. Do you think if Kyle Juszczyk could have touchdown back he'd down himself near the 2- or 3-yard line? The way they were marching they would most likely have been able to drain the clock and punch it in for the win. Oh, and a massive shout-out to the boys in the trenches on both sides of the ball, especially the offensive line. They held their own!

I think when you need the touchdown, it's hard to tell any player who has a chance to score not to score. With all their timeouts, what the 49ers probably regret most is snapping the ball on the TD play with 12 seconds left on the play clock. That's how you take more time off. As for the O-line, I noted in the live blog and my game recap how four-fifths of the unit had a collective five NFL starts to their names (Yosh Nijmanzero, Jon Runyan one, Josh Myers/Royce Newman two each) heading into Sunday night. They now have nine. Remarkable effort.

Dale from Fenton, MI

Impressive. Packers overcame six instances of "shoot" in the live blog to take the victory.

I wasn't really saying "shoot," but I suppose I do need to work on some variety.

Will from Glendale, AZ

I have complained about the officiating twice in my 33 years as a Packers fan. The "Fail Mary" game and tonight. Proud of this team for overcoming all the obstacles.

I don't want to go over all the bad, controversial or close calls in chapter-and-verse fashion. It's not worth it (and I'm too darn tired). So I'm just going to say this: We've reached the point in the NFL where the fans see things much more clearly and comprehensively at home, and all the technology, camera angles, etc., are frankly at times embarrassing the officials, who admittedly have very difficult jobs. The NFL has to think really long and hard about the future of this conundrum, because the technology and fan experience is only going to get better while the officials will still be human.

Nathan from Philadelphia, PA

They gave up a few long drives, but overall I was encouraged by how the defense played. What did you notice they did differently to contain the 49ers' rushing attack?

They got off blocks. That's for sure. I didn't see guys getting blocked for the duration of the play as much as previously. But I also expected the 49ers to try to run more. Eight runs and 18 passes in the first half, 21 runs (one a scramble) and 40 passes for the game. I know they were behind pretty much the whole time, but not to the extent the numbers would get so out of whack for that offense. Their approach surprised me.

Jim from Fairview Heights, IL

How much do you think Joe Barry's past experience in playing against the 49er offense affected the defense tonight? I was sure that the 49ers would pound it down our throats. It didn't happen and I think Barry deserves a lot of credit for that!

I'm sure it didn't hurt. It looked like the Packers were prepared for just about everything they saw. The 49ers had a few wrinkles here and there, late second quarter/early third, but that's a first-half shutout if not for the long kickoff return and/or missed grounding call. The defense came ready to play. The 49ers' last scoring drive is obviously troublesome given the situation, but the 39-yard catch and run by Kittle was just a back-breaker. The third safety in the dime had poor timing and a bad angle as he approached the catch point, and that's why the play ruptured. That can't happen. It took away a big chunk of the field that would've given the defense more opportunities for a stop.

Mark from Bettendorf, IA

What did you think of No. 23's play Sunday night?

The two plays against him that stood out – Aiyuk's TD and Samuel's hotly contested third-and-10 catch late in the red zone – were defended pretty well, for sure the latter. Sometimes you just tip your cap, particularly on the TD route. His interception was an all-world play. No way Garoppolo thought that throw was in any danger of being picked off. He couldn't get Kittle down on the big play late, but that's a tough tackle for anybody and the primary fault wasn't his.

Kristina from Chino Hills, CA

Good morning! Am I suffering from a severe case of recency bias or was that the most thrilling ending of the Matt LaFleur era?

It was Money Mason's third walk-off kick under LaFleur. The other two were against the Lions in 2019, but they were a combined 56 yards (23 and 33) compared to 51, with minimal time for this final drive on top of it. So, yes.

Tom from North Bergen, NJ

Just an observation… only the Lions could lose that way…

Justin Freakin' Tucker could do that to anybody. Historically, it's also crazy that the Lions were on the losing end of Tom Dempsey's record 63-yarder in 1970. But back to Sunday, fourth-and-19 is the hardest to swallow if you're a Lions fan. That's when the game was in your hands.

Jeff from Lake Forest, CA

Mike, Mike, Mike. Can we PLEASE make the 2022 offseason officiating point of emphasis be on the play clock? That was easily a 2.5-second delay at the end of the Lions game. If the NBA can light up the backboard when the shot clock expires, they can light up the goalposts. If that ball isn't moving at :00 when the lights come on, it's a delay. The current system is ludicrous. This should be the ONE point of officiating with zero subjectivity. Come on, man.

Although I salute an idea that gets us closer, aesthetically anyway, to laser goalposts, I think lighting up the play-clock border just like a basketball backboard would do the trick. It seems a reasonable and obvious solution, allowing the back judge, who's responsible for delay calls, to be watching simultaneously for the snap and for the flash. NBC's pregame show last night clocked the delay at about 1.6 seconds. That's inexcusable.

Donny from Chicago City, MN

Mike, you've been saying for quite some time that you believe safety-related calls should be reviewable. What do you think the chances are that the league finally tackles some of their officiating problems in the offseason?

At some point, it finally won't have a choice. I'm just afraid of what it's going to take to get there.

Chuck from Sun Prairie, WI

I watched the second half of Seahawks and Vikings. Observations: Cousins looked the best I've seen him play. Did Coach Carroll run out of gum? Vikings' defense looks like their defenses of old. If healthy, can Packers match their level of defense? They played the second half at another level and didn't look like a 1-2 team.

The Vikings are mere fractions of inches, so to speak, from being 3-0. They scored 23 unanswered to bury the Seahawks and, as you said, their defense played its best half of football yet. We shall see.

Keith from Lincoln, IL

47 yards of total offense? Is the Bears' offense that bad, or is the Cleveland defense that good?!?

The young QB has a long ways to go, and the offensive line is not playing well enough right now. That same analysis can be applied to the in-state college team here.

Rod from Green Bay, WI

Insiders, punting talk of distance equaling hang time got me thinking about kinematic constraints for doing this. For example, the desire as I understand it, is for a 45-yard net punt (55 yards in the air) to be in the air for 4.5 seconds. This requires (assuming no air resistance) that the ball must leave the punters foot at 55 mph, at an angle of 63 degrees from the horizontal. For a 60-yard punt, hang time of six seconds requires a ball speed of 70 mph, at angle of 70 degrees. Physics rules!

I think the Inbox needs some kinematic constraints. But otherwise, the Packers have found themselves a whale of a punter.

Wade from Oelwein, IA

Do you think the Packers' special teams are better than last year?

I do. Corey Bojorquez alone makes them better. I know the long kickoff return felt like a here-we-go-again moment, but I do think they'll be better over the long haul.

Evan from Appleton, WI

Game ball goes to Yosh Nijman. More than a jar on a shelf.

To shake off that early (and costly) facemask call and settle in like that in a tough road environment was admirable. I did not expect the Packers to go this route, but it sounded like Adam Stenavich had no hesitation in giving Nijman the nod at the beginning of the practice week.

Patrick from Paducah, KY

Had we kicked that FG to go up 13-0 early, I guess it just wouldn't have been as exciting? Great road win…on to Week 4!

I definitely wanted those three points at the time, but the mistimed shotgun snap was very unfortunate there by Myers. Yet another example of shaking it off and plowing forward.

Curt from Algonquin, IL

I didn't see this live, but I caught it on replay. After Aaron Rodgers spiked the ball with three seconds left, he pumped his fist like he was already celebrating the win! I love that he has so much confidence in Mason Crosby that he just assumed setting him up for a 51-yard field goal attempt was job done.

All the QB can do is provide the opportunity. At that point, it is job done for him and all he can do is pull a Vic – and just watch.

Gary from Davenport, IA

The Americans win easily with Steve Stricker as captain in his home state, the Brewers clinch the division in their final home game and the Packers pull one out in the last second. Could sports fans in Wisconsin ever have a better day in the month of September?

It'll be awfully tough to beat.

Robert from Las Vegas, NV

Little easier to write that story in Wisconsin, than on your way to the airport?

Probably, but I've written plenty of those on bus rides, too. The easier part, actually, is not having to rush down from the press box to find the interview room in an unfamiliar stadium and make sure I haven't left anything behind. That's the truly stressful part and the subject of plenty of recurring nightmares.

Keith from Bakersfield, CA

After the Saints game, AR said it's just one game. After the Lions game, he said the same. Going out to SF, playing a solid all-around game, and beating a tough nemesis (not to mention the refs) feels like more significant than just one win. Will this be a launching pad for the season?

It has the potential. These are gritty, character-builders. They bring a team together and foster that belief in tough moments. It's still a week-to-week league, but a win like this gives a team so much more to draw upon down the line.

Victoria from Sheboygan, WI

On the 49ers' last drive the app stream kept showing Rodgers and Adams on the sideline looking upset with themselves. As soon as the 49ers scored their faces were nothing but confidence. The amount of joy from everyone on that Packers' sideline when Crosby won it was amazing. Do you think wins like this help a team gel more than a blowout win does?


Troy from Westminster, CO

Well, that was fun. We're not in Jacksonville anymore, Toto.

I have no response, only that this made me smile in the dead of night.

Ron from Sun Lakes, AZ

WOW. This team is going to be fun to watch. Emotions up and down. Bring on the Steelers.

Happy Monday.


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