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Inbox: Was it the greatest comeback of Aaron Rodgers' career?

He still found a way


Rick from Alexandria, VA

Oh, man!

If the start of the 100th season is any indication of what's to come, a simple buckle-up won't cut it.

Jeff from Victorville, CA

I have to believe after witnessing magic tonight the players must be thinking, "If I play to the best of my abilities this man among boys will lead us to the promised land."

I have to say it on the second question of Week 2? Just beat the Vikings.

Michiel from Brussels, Belgium

Cobb bringing the dagger once again for the Bears. I'm thinking the Bears fans and players must start having nightmares about him. An amazing player indeed.

I don't know how it looked on TV, but from the press box the amount of open space in front of Cobb when he turned around was jaw-dropping. There was a stunned energy in the immediate roar of the crowd.

Jessi from Sterling, KS

One of the most crazy, sad first halves for the Packers. Could anything else have gone wrong?! To think, now that game will go into the Packers Hall of Fame and Packers history, especially on the kickoff of 100 seasons against the oldest rival. Never say never with the Packers and Aaron as QB. That being said, what went through your mind when you saw Aaron go down?

Get up. Please.

Ian from Minneapolis, MN

Could you write the first half of today's Inbox using questions submitted before the third quarter and the second half of the Inbox using questions submitted since then? I think it would turn out to be a really fun read. We might even learn something from it.

I'm being honest when I tell you I try to look at as many questions as I can, but I'll also be honest and say if I have to be more judicious with my time, submissions during the game are the least likely to see the light of day.

Bruce from Yelm, WA

How did the Raiders just let Mack go, although they got a couple first-rounders for him? He's an absolute game-changer...and I'll sleep better knowing we only have to face him once more while the Vikes and Lions will have to twice.

He's a special player, but remember what I said last week about big defensive plays? It's not how many but when. Mack had zero impact in the second half, and Fuller had the game hit him in the chest and he dropped it.

Deb from Camarillo, CA

Am I the only one in shock and unable to sleep after watching the game? Do you have words to describe what we witnessed?

I think it was the greatest comeback of Rodgers' career. Does that work? I rank it higher than the Hail Mary game in Detroit, which also was 20-0 at one point. His backup swung the game 10 points in the wrong direction, and he still found a way, on one good leg. I don't know what he can do to top it, but something tells me at some point he will.

Gabor from Budapest, Hungary

Mike, how did the game-ending incompletion change Rodgers' second-half passer rating?

Dropped it from 157.8 (five-tenths shy of a perfect rating) to 152.7. For the game, the last play dropped it from 135.1 to 130.7. So it goes.

Margo from Solvang, CA

What did you think about the Bears attempting a pass with just under 3 minutes to play when they had a third-and-2 from the Packers' 14-yard line? A run play, even without gaining a first down, would have kept the clock moving and maybe force the Packers to call another time out.

I didn't have a problem with it from a clock-management standpoint. The Packers had used their last timeout at 2:47 before that play. The best you're going to do is run it down to the 2-minute warning, which is still plenty of time for Rodgers even after a field goal and kickoff. It wasn't about the clock, it was about getting the first down, which could then allow a kneel-out if you consume seven seconds and move the chains. I thought they'd run it, yeah, but they thought they had a short-yardage pass call that would free up a receiver for an easy completion. The Packers played the route combination well.

Eric from Pewaukee, WI

Since you've already received 1,000 emails about the Saints' pick possibly being the first overall, here is one more.

Does anyone remember 2003? The Patriots lost to the Bills in Week 1, 31-0. New England went 14-2 and won the Super Bowl. It's a long season.

John from Green Bay, WI

As my wife and I were taking our daily walk along the Fox River Trail this morning she was talking about her work as I was pretending to listen. I started thinking about the success we have had with the QB position. I originally thought how they could use their two first-round picks to increase the odds of winning another SB with AR. I then thought what an opportunity they have to get their QB of the future with those two picks. With the structure of Rodgers contract, what do you think?

It's too early to worry about the QB of the future with Rodgers under contract as long as he is now.

Highlights from the moments leading up to Sunday night's game against the Chicago Bears

Brian from Schertz, TX

Insiders, with the apparent "death" of the fullback position in Green Bay, do you find it ironic that the nickname of the last fullback was "RIP"?

I'm all for a self-fulfilling prophecy as much as the next English major, but I think everyone's a little too hung up on this fullback thing.

Jordan from Jackson, WI

I don't know how they managed to pack a whole season's worth of emotional roller-coaster into one game, but here we are. On a night like that, do you as writers find that your articles write themselves, or do you feel that much more pressure to write a piece worthy of what just unfolded? A combination of the two? Honestly, I can't even think right now. I have no idea how you would even write an article or two at this point.

It's a mixture of it all. If I can entertain and inform in the moment while still producing something that accurately and thoroughly documents the happenings for the history books, I'm good with that. The worthiness is for the readers to judge.

Dan from Toledo, OH

Insiders, I'm not sure if you have begun planning out your Halloween costumes yet. But after watching "Final Thoughts," may I be the first to suggest Mike dress up as Steve from "Stranger Things"? All he needs is a bat, some yellow gloves, and a grey jacket. He's already got the hair flow.

My hair, or lack of it, now disqualifies me.

Jenny from South Bend, IN

What is the Packers' procedure for challenges? Who helps MM make the decision?

He's in communication with the coaches in the booth who have access to the TV feed. At home games, he often gets a look himself on the Lambeau video board and will make the call on his own. The input from upstairs can be invaluable on the road.

Kevin from San Francisco, CA

Will the green box still work when Lambeau Field is covered with snow in December?

Good one. You and Ernie from Santa Maria had the same question. Leave it to the Californians.

Dennis from Waucoma, IA

Do you think the NFL will tackle the problem of a team when on defense fakes an injury to stop the game so they can substitute a player? To me it looked as if the Falcons were doing this against the Eagles on Thursday night. If I recall the Giants did this in the playoffs against the Packers in 2011 and won the game by not allowing Rodgers to go no-huddle. I would like to see them change the rule so the player has to stay out for the remainder of the possession. Your thoughts?

While I can appreciate the sentiment, I don't recall that having any effect in the 2011 playoffs, and I don't think the NFL would be interested in adding a rule that might actually discourage players from being forthright about their physical condition. If what you describe becomes a chronic problem, maybe, but otherwise no.

John from Salt Lake City, UT

On the play where Fuller almost picked it off, it felt like illegal contact. Why was that not called?

It looked to me like the Packers were running a pick play and pretty much picked themselves.

Scott from Martinez, GA

I chuckled when you said my comment would mean an end to your correct predictions. I also didn't believe your claim until your prediction of Graham being the first to score a TD did not happen. Allison, Adams, Cobb...all of GB's top three WRs scored...but sorry no Graham. So, you're welcome? Just don't give up Spoff, I'll always be there to salute you or mock you. I got your back, friend. And dang what a way to bulldoze in the 100th season.

A rather strange aspect to the comeback, but which may actually bode well for the future, is the Packers scored 24 points in the second half without Graham catching a single pass.

Erik from Anchorage, AK

The night, the fame and the headlines go to Rodgers; however, we can't deny that the defense played very well. Surrendered one touchdown to open the game, then field goals the rest of the way. What were your observations from the defensive play last night?

The first drive, it was frustrating to see the receivers/tight ends operating with a lot of space. The coverage tightened up considerably after that, and the field goal to make it 10-0 was set up by a great catch by Robinson over Alexander, who was in perfect position. The third-and-7 from midfield with 3½ minutes to go needs to be stopped to keep it a three-point game, but Trubisky threw a dart on the move, which wasn't his strong suit last year. The Bears were 1-for-4 in the red zone. You'll take that anytime, and that's how you win games and set up comebacks. In my view the biggest area of improvement is pressure with the four-man rush. It didn't look effective for most of the game, and it needs to be.

Gary from Belle Mead, NJ

Well, we sure didn't have to wait long for Moment No. 101! Wow! Other than Rodgers returning, what did you see as the key adjustments to make the comeback possible?

101 is a popular number in the Inbox today. Rodgers' limitations after the injury forced him to throw on time rather than make off-schedule plays, and his accuracy was not affected by the knee at all. The offensive line settled in during the second half, and Mack became a non-factor. Seeing the short-to-intermediate throws with all the yards after catch, I tweeted during the game it reminded me of the last Favre offense here in '07. The Packers racked up YAC that year like nobody's business.

Turbo from Green Bay, WI

Do you think the Bears went into the half thinking they had the game won because AR was out? Then he is back and they couldn't get their energy back. They seemed as flat as the Packers were in the first half.

The Bears' offense had plenty of chances to put this game out of reach. I think Trubisky is going to be very good in time, but the Bears aren't going to be able to score a lot of points until he can make plays consistently downfield. He had 171 yards on 23 completions. That's just 7.4 per, and only two completions longer than 15 yards, one of them the aforementioned contested ball to Robinson. The windows on the short stuff get tighter and tighter if defenders don't think you can beat them deep.

Jeremy from Evansville, IN

Ecstatic about the comeback. Impressed with the second-half D. But that run defense... that has to be our Achilles heal, doesn't it?

Pettine said when he was hired the run won't get you beat, the pass will. He brings a different mindset, and the Packers went small, personnel-wise, against Chicago's two-receiver sets on multiple occasions. He was daring them to continue running it, and while the 139 yards and 5.1 average don't look good for the Packers, what did it get the Bears? 16 points. This is a different way of playing defense.

Garrett from Houston, TX

I am so happy we won, not just for myself, and the other fans, but for Clay. There's no doubt in my mind that he won't make that same mistake twice, but wow. How close that mistake was to losing the game. And he knows it.

I say this with all due respect to a great defensive player with a decorated career, but that might be the most regrettable thing I've ever seen him do. The Packers had three roughing-the-passer penalties in this one. That's gotta stop.

Jeff from South Bend, IN

That game had everything. What are your top three moments?

The TD to Allison told us, once again, Rodgers doesn't need to be 100 percent to make amazing throws. The blitz pickup by Williams on Trevathan that allowed the 51-yard catch-and-run by Adams was textbook. And I already mentioned the roar when Cobb turned around.

Juan from San Antonio, TX

Nice choice of having an image of Cobb running loose on your last Inbox before the game. What's in store next Saturday?

That's Wes's department. The pressure's on now.

Jon from Winona, MN

Three words: Worth. Every. Penny.

Ya think? Happy Monday, everyone.