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Inbox: This game will mean more in the long run

The opening hurdle to the stretch run is Sunday night

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LB Za'Darius Smith

Brad from Solon Springs, WI

Good morning, Mike. Our boys from the Bay beat themselves...so we have that goin' for us which is nice!

The other guys even tried to beat themselves, too. One of the more bizarre games I can recall.

Paul from De Pere, WI

Serenity now! As a fan, that was the type of game that leaves me questioning the cost/benefit of investing three-plus hours watching football.

Were you not entertained?

Nick from Hopkins, MN

I know you should win in regulation to eliminate chance, but honestly has any player every been as let down by his team in OT as Aaron Rodgers has been during his career? I don't remember his defense ever stopping the opponent and when he has touched the ball, I believe he's had a three-and-out, the Marquez Valdes-Scantling fumble and the uncalled blatant facemask strip-sack against the Cardinals. Honestly he should start lobbying to just never play for OT...

He has just two overtime wins in his career (Cincinnati in '17, N.Y. Jets in '18), which is hard to believe, and the latter one didn't even mean anything. But you're right, a lot of circumstance and bad luck. I thought with the way the Colts' defense was reeling from that two-minute drive, winning the toss meant points at a minimum.

Nic from London, UK

This is a game I expected to lose or be closely contested – away, against a top D/playoff contender. We're still atop the North, still in race for 1 seed and at end of the day, we just need to get to the dance. What I'm most bothered by is just how we lose – unforced errors (ST disproportionately damaging), repeat chain-moving runs by mediocre RBs, lapses in coverage. Like the Seahawks I believe us too flawed to contend (barring injury) but we have six weeks to prove otherwise. Is that unfair?

Not entirely. We may have seen Jonathan Taylor take the first major step forward in his career. But that aside, the Packers have to find a way to turn things around against good teams when struggles begin. Mistakes happen, but they can't compound. Good teams are going to keep you down if you let them (49ers last year, Bucs and Colts this year). Resilience is an important quality, and the Packers have shown it plenty under LaFleur. But in some of the bigger games, they haven't.

Chet from Sioux Falls, SD

Plenty of blame to go around for the loss, feels like if they erased even one or two mistakes it wouldn't have even been close. The type of losses that just hurt to swallow. But there is nothing more infuriating to me than when the Packers treat a third-and-19 like they are defending a Hail Mary. Allowing the Colts to get into a manageable fourth-down attempt from a third-and-19 is just unbelievable. Why do you think they always play these situations like that?

I don't know, but there seems to be an alertness missing on those long-yardage situations. The early third-and-12 was converted with an underneath throw because the main line of defenders was beyond the sticks, so the charge was too late. Third-and-9, one defender has his eyes elsewhere, gets greedy, makes a false move and gives up a step on his man. Third-and-10, check-down gets 9, fourth-and-1 converted. Third-and-19, screen gets 15, fourth-and-4 converted. In the desire to not give up the big play, field awareness is lacking. For all the defense's issues, I wouldn't consider third-and-longs to be a chronic problem, but they were Sunday. I think stuff like that is eminently correctable when it crops up, but the defense keeps having new things crop up. It's getting too late for that.

Tinger from Red Wing, MN

ACTA Absolutely cannot tackle anyone. I do not understand why any team ever passes against our defense. Why bother when you can get 7 or 8 yards every single time? Sure, the offense lost the overtime but the defense could not tackle anyone the entire second half.

Look, I'm not going to say the Packers are a good tackling team, because they aren't. But 21 minutes into the second half, the Colts had run 36 plays and the Packers had run six. The defense was getting gassed and got no help. Two drives also started at the Indy 45 and the Green Bay 28. Allowing only one touchdown, and 17 points total, in those circumstances was not the disaster you make it out to be, in my opinion. Did the defense play a good game? No. Can they rely on their defense to win? No. But if the offense and special teams had given a little help when the defense was struggling, I like the odds on the outcome being different. It's a team game.

Karolyn from Duluth, MN

Hi Packers! I'm a huge fan of the team! I have an idea to make the players' helmets super cool and unique. Could you make the yellow part gold holographic glitter? No one else has that! And even my Vikings fan friends couldn't deny that we have the best helmets. You make think it would be excessive, but sometimes glitter is just what you need!

All that glitters is not necessarily gold.

Larry from Sheboygan, WI

Not a question, but a comment on the Badgers game. Wisconsin did not play well, but their performance was not as horrible as the refs in the Northwestern game.

It was close.

Ted from Amherst, NY

And folks felt the Jacksonville game felt bad? Talk about giving one away...

Hey, I'm with Rodgers and LaFleur on this one. I feel a lot better about this team now than I did last Monday. That Jacksonville performance was abysmal, and I'm pretty sure I said so. This was a quarter and a half that got away against an opponent far superior to last week's. It's a crappy loss, don't get me wrong, and winning is the bottom line, but this game will mean more in the long run. The Packers aren't there yet, far from it, but they're closer than they were a week ago.

Abel from Tucson, AZ

Error after error and we still had the game at the end, but what I don't understand is why spike the ball and lose a valuable first down? There was still a lot of time left to play all downs.

LaFleur was asked about that after the game and he said he'll need to look through it. I wondered the same thing. Rodgers spiked the ball twice, at 58 seconds and again at 43 seconds. The second one at the 15-yard line didn't seem necessary (in PAT range after all) but I've never run a two-minute drill before. Rodgers seemed to be wanting to calm everybody down in those moments. He's got his finger on the pulse of the operation so I think you have to trust him.

Scott from Lincoln City, OR

Good(?) morning Mike. Roses in reds. Carnations in pinks. Winning isn't everything. But losing stinks. As does this poem.

Correct.

Leo from Kenosha, WI

What happened to our Packers in the second half? I know the Colts have a good defense but that was supposed to be the same Packers offense as in the first half, to only make three points was disappointing to say the least.

The very least. The Colts blanked the Titans in the second half last week, too. Third-and-4, MVS not on the same page on the back-shoulder throw. Third-and-1, slant to Davante Adams gets tipped at the line. I don't care what plays are called or how you do it, but you have to convert manageable third downs. Failing on two in a row with everything else that was going on left the game in the other guys' hands.

Lawrence from Missoula, MT

Guys, why can't we return a kickoff past the 20-yard line? Was Indy's coverage that good? We didn't come close to breaking one.

Indy's special teams are as good as it gets, but the Packers always seems to miss Tyler Ervin, one way or another, when he's not available.

Andy from Austin, TX

Insiders, no question tonight, just a small statement after learning of the terrible things being said about MVS after today's game: Each and every player that steps into the field is a human being. They will triumph and they will fail but all of them deserve respect. There is too much hatred in the world already, we don't need to generate more hate over a game. We can all be better.

Goodness, I would hope so. It's a game, people. We all get wrapped up and emotional, but find some perspective, and taking to social media is the last way to do that. It's been a horrendous year on so many levels, but decency and humanity still need to matter.

Joe from Swansea, IL

Arrgghh! Can you tell me how the striped shirts can miss the facemask call for 33? The movement of his head was violent and obvious, and everyone saw it except the refs. That drive might have gone far differently with 15 yards tacked on there. Again: Arrgghh!

I don't like to dwell on the officiating, but that was a rather obvious call. A drive that died at the Indy 34 might have gone differently with another 15 yards? Imagine that. But the officials gave the Packers their chance at the end. The flurry of holding flags was a new one for me.

Donna from Darien, WI

Almost wish that game would have ended in a tie because I don't think either team deserved to win.

Donna gets my favorite take of the day right there.

CK from Eau Claire, WI

The Steelers, the Chiefs, and the Saints are the only teams with less than three losses at this point, and we already beat one of them. I guess my question would be which of the other ones would you like to see the Packers beat?

None of the above. Just beat the Bears. The opening hurdle to the stretch run is Sunday night. Win to go up three games with five to play, and we can allow ourselves to start looking at the big picture. Lose to reduce the NFC North lead to one game, and everything is different.

Lucas Oil Stadium hosted a Week 11 matchup between the Green Bay Packers and Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020.

Spencer from Scottsdale, AZ

Well, next Sunday night just got a lot more interesting. Hit the film room Monday and then turn the page. Another tough defense on deck.

It's a pivotal moment in the season. Thanks, Captain Obvious.

Ed from Chico, CA

We've played three playoff teams and two made us look foolish. What legit team have we beaten, a Saints squad in Week 3 that wasn't playing nearly as well as they have of late? Thank goodness it's all about getting hot going into January. Right now we're just a team with potential.

It beats the alternative, doesn't it? Last year, the Packers hit their peak in the second half at Minnesota in Week 16, and in the first half of the playoff game vs. Seattle. It got them their two biggest wins of the season. They will have opportunities down the stretch to play their best game. Let's see if they can.

Kevin from Belvidere, IL

Mike and Wes, I am a longtime reader of the Inbox. I wanted to tell the II community about a good man. A good friend of mine, Rob Salley, passed away this past weekend. He was a huge Packers fan. His garage was filled with different Packer gear signed by many different players. Along with being a big sports fan, he was big part of our town. Rob was a family man, teacher, and a coach. Please keep him and his family in your thoughts and prayers.

Sounds like that's the least we can do. Condolences on your loss.

John from Harvest, AL

Just a note to say thanks for the time you invest in helping me to have perspective for football wins and losses.

You're welcome.

Margeaux from Tallahassee, FL

Alright the preliminaries are over, now the real season begins. It is time to beat the Bears!

Happy Monday.

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