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Inbox: They aren't there yet, but they have time

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Steve from Ellenton, FL

Well, that was embarrassing…

…and this is going to be a blast.

Dave from Huntsville, AL

Can we stop going to California?

Fine by me.

Mark from Cumberland, MD

Oof. Burn the tape and move on.

Actually, you save this tape, hopefully for later. This is a team you have to beat, and they've set the bar. You don't let it distract you in the coming weeks, but you don't forget how you came up so woefully short against a conference rival. LA was humble pie. This one needs to be fuel.

Steven from Milford, CT

While I didn't expect to win a tough game on the road, I expected a much closer game than what we saw. They had an extra week to prepare and yet again, the same problems showed time after time. This team easily gets outmuscled against top opposition and can't cover a TE to save their lives. Unfortunately, I don't see them fixing these glaring issues.

The Packers handled top-flight pass rushers earlier in the season, but not lately on the road. The Bosas and others have dictated the action these last two road losses. I have nothing for you on the tight ends. All I can say is at some point you have to make offenses beat you some other way.

Dave from Yeovil, England

Execution killed us.

Appreciate the sense of humor.

Henry from Hoback, WY

66 yards of offense by our wide receivers. 66...

The 49ers got pressure with four, covered with seven, and forced every pass to go sideways. Nobody could get open downfield, or they didn't have time to run their routes. LaFleur trashed his own plan after the game, but the players also have to make something work. Plenty of blame to go around.

Lex from Chicago, IL

How did things go so wrong?

They played a really good team, one of the top three or four teams in the entire NFL for sure, and had no answers. The Packers found out they aren't there yet, but they have time to get there. You tip your cap and move on.

Mark from Winchester, CO

I'm not going to say we should have kept Trevor Davis, however, special teams is still an issue, specifically on punt returns. How does that get fixed?

Lots of blocking drills, I guess. I don't really know. But the Packers aren't blocking in the return game well enough. That's stating the obvious.

Nate from Torrance, CA

At what point in last night's game did you first find yourself thinking "this is going to be an ugly loss"?

I thought the defense held up pretty well most of the first half before breaking down in the last two minutes. That's when the hole got too big.

Brian from Reno, NV

Coming off a bye, you would think we would at least be competitive. To know it is over before halftime was surprising. Need to go 1-0 next week. Then 1-0 the next week, etc. We were a step slow and Rodgers was off. It is a week-to-week league and Rodgers is still elite. Start gaining momentum again.

The 49ers had too much speed for the Packers. That's a matchup issue they'll have to account for in their future planning, and be more aware of other teams with that type of edge. The Packers can't make up for this game tomorrow or the next day or next Sunday. It doesn't work that way. It's like baseball players trying to hit a six-run homer. Trying to do too much won't accomplish anything. If every player and coach focuses on himself, first and foremost, they'll come out the other end OK.

Chris from Ontario, CA

Hello II, I will not blame anyone. This team is just "not ready."

They weren't ready Sunday night. Make the lesson worthwhile. What else is there to do? Give up? There's way too much surrender in the Inbox. This is football. You got whipped. The Packers task is to not let this game define them or their season.

Ben from Pensacola, FL

O.K., that hurt. However, we can still drive our destiny. The No. 1 seed may be off, but we may place high if we win out. 49ers, Saints and Seahawks don't have cakewalks.

This was the first of several big games amongst NFC contenders. Long way to go, but worrying about seeding is wasted energy. I've tried to get that message across for a couple of weeks, but regardless. The focus now needs to be on giving yourself a chance to win the division in Minneapolis in Week 16.

Annie from Cincinnati, OH

Hey II, good luck. Longtime reader, sometimes question submitter, never a posted Inboxer. Obviously we're all feeling the same after that loss...like a Bengals fan, but worse since our team has given us hope this season. That same hope keeps me watching the whole game, even though I'll be waking up in five hours to teach first grade, and it keeps me wearing green and gold tomorrow too. My question is simple – how do the players find hope after a game like that? We're a good team, but yikes.

You put all your energy into improving your own individual performance, and you trust your teammates are going to put forth the same effort. Let the coaches worry about how it all comes together. Just focus on beating the guy across from you. It starts there.

Anthony from Middleton, WI

I couldn't believe the reversed PI call in the Saints game, regardless that it was correct. They had to be trolling New Orleans with that one.

And the Panthers couldn't take advantage. From first-and-goal on the 3 with three minutes left in a tie game to a walk-off loss. Stout red-zone defenses and reliable kickers are worth their weight in gold in this league.

Randy from Naples, FL

I vote for the lunchbox! But it has to be the old-school metal one. The team on one side and your pics in the other side. With a thermos! It can have the GB HOF players on it.

One of my friends growing up had the old-school metal lunchbox with all the NFL helmets on it. I was so jealous.

Kevin from Whitehall, WI

Will the II lunchboxes have small print saying, "I stole Wes's lunch"?

That made my day.

Tim from Wausau, WI

How the team handles this adversity will determine the momentum heading into December. We get to see how Matt LaFleur leads the team to the next 1-0. Leader of men? The next month will show us.

I wrote after the game this is the biggest dose of adversity this team has been dealt. The previous recoveries vs. Dallas and Carolina showed something. Now the Packers have to rebound at the same time they're supposed to be playing their best over the final month. The next three games aren't about the opponents. They're about the Packers.

Rich from Duluth, MN

If the league goes to a 17-game regular season, what does that do for the team and individual records for a 16-game season?

Nothing, until they're broken. Then they'll be differentiated for a while in a lot of record books, like they were when the switch was made from 14 games to 16 games four decades ago, and after a while no one will care anymore. Life will carry on.

Vincent from Boston, MA

Insiders, with all the talk of a dreaded 17-game season, what do you think the odds are that the players use eliminating Thursday night as one of their bargaining chips? What do you think the odds are that the players stand firm and "Just say no"?

The players have no say in that. The Thursday night broadcast rights have already been sold through 2022 at approximately $650 million per year.

Bob from Riverside, CA

Will we ever know whether it was the chest bump or something said that caused the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Davante Adams? It looked like Mosely grabbed his facemask just before. Does the league provide any clarifications on calls subsequent to the game? It sure turned the game quickly at the beginning.

Adams said he got flagged for the bump. Whatever it was, that looked to me like an officiating crew that wanted to be the show. The only point of emphasis I want to see from the league heading into 2020 is "call the stuff that matters."

Andy from Oregon, WI

I don't have a question, but, as a former English teacher, I want to commend Wes on his usage of "nitty, gritty details" in his response about training, rehab, and the team's health. While it's always been considered a hyphenated compound word ("nitty-gritty"), Wes's example perfectly demonstrates why it should instead be treated as two comma-separated adjectives. Kudos on providing yet another reason to keep an eye on the Inbox.

I am so proud right now.

Salman from Linden, NJ

Al and Cris mentioned on air they could sense the nerves from the Packers. I'm inclined to agree. We looked awful and out of rhythm. This team isn't ready for December yet. What did you see last night?

I saw an offense that got rocked by a bad start – a dumb penalty and a sack-fumble that handed the opponent a 7-0 lead – and never really shook it off. The Packers recovered from a rough beginning this year vs. the Lions, but that was at home. This team has to show it can right the ship on the road when it's ugly early. After Week 1, the road wins (Dallas, KC) were predicated on fast starts and big early leads. That can't be the only way to win a road game.

Justin from Wausau, WI

Hold up. The team lead for receiving TDs in 1991 was tied at four? FOUR? My oh my, how far we have come.

It was six as recently as 2009, and the Packers went to the playoffs that year.

Mike from Elrosa, MN

In response to Darrell from San Antonio, I hated that no-call as much as everyone else, but the reality is it cost the Vikings a trip to the Super Bowl. Green Bay would have knocked out Atlanta but we couldn't stop Randy Moss that year.

I think the Vikings had plenty to do with costing themselves that trip to the Super Bowl.

Sandy from Green Bay, WI

When the team is on the road and staying in hotels, is there a curfew system enforced with bed checks, or are the players on the honor system and self-regulated?

There is a curfew with bed checks, and fines can be imposed for non-compliance.

Al from Green Bay, WI

The Niners are the real deal. I felt that Green Bay won the battle, except for offense, defense and special teams. Did you find any silver lining?

No.

Kurt from Woodland Park, CO

Please tell us the identity of this team.

A contender with work to do and a gap to close. You don't win eight games before Thanksgiving by accident, but you don't fall apart twice in November without doing some serious soul-searching and evaluation of your process.

Jim from Tempe, AZ

That was not maximizing the opportunity.

The offensive problems were similar to LA, except the penalties were more post- than pre-snap. The big-play issues on defense also haven't gone away. The defense was asked to do too much in this game, but allowing a 75-yard TD drive in two plays at the one moment the team maybe had some life was disheartening to say the least.

Dave from Lake Zurich, IL

I think it's safe to say the Packers aren't as good as their record might suggest. I hope Brian Gutekunst takes a look at the 49ers' blueprint for building a defense.

Well, their defensive front includes the No. 17 overall pick from the 2015 draft (Arik Armstead), the No. 7 overall pick from the '16 draft (DeForest Buckner), the No. 3 overall pick from the '17 draft (Solomon Thomas), and the No. 2 overall pick from the '19 draft (Nick Bosa). You have to be pretty bad for a long time to stockpile that array of picks, so I don't think Gutekunst is interested in that blueprint.

Spencer from Rockford, IL

Well that was a struggle. Here's hoping for a course correction and peaking at the right time. *fingers crossed*

Mine are crossed for Bryan Bulaga, but we'll see what this week brings.

Mike from Shoreview, MN

Just beat the Giants. To bring perspective either way. (Sent Saturday 10:13 pm CT)

The prep challenge coming off this road trip is legit, 2-9 or not.

Mike from Cottage Grove, MN

Well, that wasn't much fun. Guess just have to move onto New York now. What about you guys?

Works for me. Happy Monday.

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