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Inbox: What a turn of events

The margin for error shrinks

Washington Football Team's QB Taylor Heinicke
Washington Football Team's QB Taylor Heinicke

Dennis from Parrish, FL

National Tight End Day? That seems pretty random. What's next? "Steal Your Coworkers Lunch Day"?

All in due time.

Patrick from Gardenville, Canada

I sure hope that Aaron Rodgers has a comfortable bed Wednesday night.

I haven't traveled with the team since pre-pandemic, but I don't think I've ever had a bad night's sleep in a team hotel on the road.

Izzi from Raleigh, NC

Isn't it ironic that the red-zone defense, which hasn't had a stop all year, played such a crucial part in this victory? Football is unpredictable.

Who you are is guaranteed to change over the course of a long season. The value of the defense rising up so many times in big moments can't be overstated. Regular readers know how I feel about defense in today's NFL. It's about making a few key plays at key times. They made a bunch, and while significantly shorthanded, too. A much larger challenge awaits, but the defense is going into Thursday with some good vibes.

Dean from Avon, OH

A win is a win is a win. But, I would have thought the Pack would have put up 30 or more points against a team like this. Thoughts?

I thought so heading in, too, but Sunday might serve as a turning point for Washington's defense to start playing more like it did last year. That was the front that won the NFC East in 2020.

Sam from La Mesa, CA

Well, we were a little lucky that the game was not a nailbiter but winning in the league is tough and every win has to be relished once it's under your belt. How did you guys like the classic uni now that we've seen them on the field? I really liked them for a change of pace but nothing could improve on our regular uniform in my opinion.

There's nothing wrong with the Packers' regular duds, but these are the best historical uniforms they've worn since they started trying them. By far.

Chris from Gallatin, TN

So I guess you actually can receive the opening kickoff AND double up around halftime.

That's two weeks in a row the opponent deferred, and the Packers' dominance on the possessions bridging halftime were pivotal to the outcome.

Caleb from Knoxville, TN

Less a question, more an observation. Even though the play was overturned by review, I fully support Taylor Heinicke doing the Lambeau Leap in our stands. Normally it's cringeworthy when opponents do it, but the guy grew up a Packers fan. Doing the Leap is every Cheesehead's dream!

I had no problem with it. It's at his own risk as far as any beer or popcorn that might get thrown at him. What a turn of events, though, to go from what looked like a TD to a failed sneak and turnover on downs at the goal line.

Sawyer from Simpsonville, SC

Between Rasul Douglas and Whitney Mercilus and De'Vondre Campbell and Kenny Clark, I think the guy I'm most excited for after watching this game is Rashan Gary. He's about an inch or two away in this game from two or three sacks, and you can just feel a breakout game coming for him. THIS. IS. GONNA. BE. FUN.

I don't know how he has the energy to play as hard as he does all the time, but Gary's career trajectory is exciting to see unfold, nonetheless.

Frank from Cedar Falls, IA

Who was it that was reminding us Allen Lazard and Big Bob's time was coming? Oh yea, it was you guys!

I never worry about players answering the bell after a bit of a dry spell when they're proven pros who know what it takes.

Bill from Bloomfield Hills, MI

The Lynn Dickey painting made me think about the game in the '60s and '70s ('80s) where big-armed QBs heaved the ball 50 yards or more easily and found their interception numbers higher or close to their TD numbers. Dickey, Brodie, Jim Hart, Unitas, Hadl are but a few examples. When did the game change and why, to rather dramatically drop interception rates among top QBs?

There's no way to pinpoint exactly when. It was a combination of so many things over time. Passing offenses got more sophisticated. Teams began to study how directly turnover margins correlated to wins and losses. Quarterbacks became the most protected players on the field, so they could stand in with less fear and throw downfield more accurately. Dickey dealt with injuries throughout his career, and I can't even imagine what a great deep-ball thrower like him might have accomplished had he played with the same protections QBs have now.

Dan from Grayslake, IL

I'm a little concerned about the few instances of the RBs putting the ball on the turf. Do you think that has anything to do with Kylin Hill closing out the game?

There's no question in my mind they went with Hill at the end because AJ Dillon had fumbled for a second time.

Nathan from New York, NY

Why did players stop wearing pink during October?

A year or two ago the NFL decided to dedicate the month to all cancers, not just breast cancer, hence some of the multi-colored items visible during games (goal-post stanchion wraps, captains' patches) throughout the last few weeks.

Erin from Bellingham, WA

First-and-17, I should have known that was a clue Mr. Adams was about to show us something special?! He's a magician in more ways than one. Is there anything this guy can't do? Davante Adams is total cheat code. Hope we see him in green & gold for years to come.

I don't know how to describe him anymore. Now I know why people just start making up adjectives that don't make sense, like "dope" and "sick."

Brian from Twain Harte, CA

Not a question, just an appreciation. The past two games the interior DL has come up big with late-game sacks. The number of sacks given up by WFT this season almost doubled in just one game. That was impressive.

The pass rush did a better job of containing and then finishing as the game went on. It's not easy to do. Heinicke ran for way too many yards, an obvious concern with Kyler Murray next up, but the Packers kept after it and got better results down the stretch.

Sam from La Mesa, CA

Not a question. Just want to say how happy I was to see the city commemorate Bart Starr with a memorial bridge. As a young boy I thought he could walk on water!

It's a tremendous honor for the Starr family, and more than deserved.

Andy from Wisconsin Rapids, WI

We've talked on here about the fortunate consistency we've had with QB, kickers and WR, but how about the sixth OL run we've been on? Lucas Patrick, Lane Taylor, Don Barclay, even Josh Sitton and T.J. Lang at one time were all valuable pieces that get very little attention. I'm sure I'm forgetting a few, but as a career backup OL in my high school days, I cheer for these guys.

Any team that doesn't have a quality sixth (or seventh) offensive lineman can see its season disintegrate in a hurry. The Packers have shown the past couple of years how valuable it is to have eighth and ninth guys, too. All the subs and shuffling will eventually catch up to you in this league, though, and we saw that early vs. Washington. The pass protection settled down, but there was just nothin' doin' on the ground.

Tim from Cameron, WI

At first blush it seemed odd than the Packers only rushed 15 times today, considering that has been the key to this offense. Right from the get-go it seemed like short passes were replacing the running game. Do you think there was a design to limit the hits the running backs would take considering the quick turnaround to Thursday night's game against the Cardinals?

No, I just think Washington's front shut the run down, and when Rodgers had run-pass options, he was choosing pass most of the time because movement in the run game was so hard to come by.

Tim from Rochester, IL

Good morning Mike, as noted in the blog the Football Team tested our kickoff coverage. Am I the only one who thought it held up really well?

That was the unit's best showing so far. Four times after kickoffs Washington started inside its own 25.

Marin from West Lawn, PA

Did Whitney Mercilus see any game action vs. Washington? And, if so, was he in during specific down-and-distance situations?

He got in on some third downs early, saw he had a good pressure once. He played more as the game went and his final snap total was 31, which was more than I expected.

Lambeau Field hosted a Week 7 matchup between the Green Bay Packers and Washington Football Team on Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021.

Paul from Hewitt, WI

Mike/Wes: Coach LaFleur stated in a press conference that David Bakhtiari will need practice reps before he is game ready. Does he get those reps on the scout team, or at the expense of the reps for the No. 1 tackle? I see this as a challenge during the season with the limited number of practice reps.

I don't know this for a fact, but my guess is Bakhtiari will be taking scout-team reps until they feel he's one week from being ready. Then, when that week arrives, he'll take all the No. 1 reps before playing his first game.

Steve from Bloomington, IL

Do the Packers have new helmets for the throwback uniforms or does the equipment staff simply remove the decals from the existing helmets and then reapply new decals for the next game?

The latter.

Margeaux from Tallahassee, FL

Great win Sunday but on to the next one. Seemed like the offense only played a third of the game Sunday. They should be primed and ready for Thursday night. Our defense may be a little gassed after all the time it spent on the field. Will 35 be enough to win it?

Who knows? I do believe points will be scored in Arizona, but there's no telling whether they'll come via quick strikes or methodical, clock-consuming drives. The offense was on the field for barely nine minutes in the second half. Not ideal. I'm with Rodgers, though. I don't think the unit is that far off. It came out of the gate with a touchdown, killed the last three minutes of the first half with a TD drive, capitalized on the sack-fumble, and drove for a field goal starting from its own 4. That's a lot to like. You can't go three-and-out from the 1 or fumble with six minutes left in ball-control mode, though. Any miscue in that vein will be much more costly Thursday night, when the margin for error shrinks.

Jay from Woodstock, GA

Speaking of the blog vs. TV timing, years ago my brother and I were at a sports bar where GB-DET was on the TV to our left. The TV my brother couldn't see directly behind him was also GB-DET, but in HD, so the feed was about eight seconds ahead. Needless to say, he was quite impressed with my play-calling ability. I let him in on the joke just before halftime.

Someone needs to do a short film on the timing of the blog, radio, over-the-air TV, cable TV, and satellite TV feeds with Doc Brown explaining the space-time continuum, and a flux capacitor connected to my laptop.

Tyson from Milihani, HI

I know the Packers' identity is offense but I get more excited from watching the defense play like that! Plus, those '50s uniforms looked slick, what a great way to start off a fall Sunday! Hopefully our D can carry some of that momentum into Thursday.

Sounds like a plan. Happy Monday.