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It has to get fixed now or else

Did Aaron Rodgers see this coming?


Eric from Milwaukee, WI

Putting aside the potential impact of this game on our playoff chances, I feel for the defense right now. Held the opponent to 17 points, got the ball back when we needed it (twice). It's startling how different this team feels, compared to the last few years.

It's unthinkable the Packers are struggling to throw the football. Imagine how good this team would be if it was throwing the ball as it did in 2011. This decline in the performance of the passing game came out of nowhere. It's what we never expected. We were worried about the defense and special teams; no one expected the Packers to struggle throwing the football.

Brandon from Corona, CA

With 2:53 left in the game, how were you feeling?

Mystique dies hard. I have such regard for the Packers' passing game and Aaron Rodgers' crunch-time grit that, had I been John Fox, I would've gone for it on fourth-and-1. Seriously, it only took three plays and 37 seconds for the Packers to get back to the place on the field from which the Bears punted. What was gained with the punt? When the Bears punted with 2:53 to play in the game, I thought to myself, "You're going to regret that, coach."

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

Part of the Eagles' pregame pep talk was televised. A defensive player said, "Remember, all we need to do is play with speed and violence." An interesting blend of old school and new school.

Not if they're just words.

Beau from San Diego, CA

The run game was working, Vic. What is wrong with Aaron Rodgers and why can't the receivers catch the ball, particularly Devante Adams? I've never seen a starting receiver in the NFL with this many drops. At what point do they move on?

I've seen it before. I saw it with a receiver named Ernie Mills, a second-round pick, as Adams is. Mills lost his confidence. He began fighting the ball. He later developed into a reliable, big-play guy, but the early years of his career were sabotaged by a case of the drops. Adams is pressing. I get the sense the pressure of his own expectations has become an extra defender he has to battle. Nobody can catch the ball for him. He has to fight through this.

Paul from Cumming, GA

I was thankful for crunch time yesterday. The Packers' last possession had me riveted. Good game, bad outcome. As a fan, I can live with that.

It's a good attitude because we have no choice but to live with it. You're not going to quit; you know that. You'll be back in front of the TV next Thursday night. All we can do is hope the championship contender we expect the Packers to be will emerge over the final five games of the season.

Matt from Ulster Park, NY

So it seems the fans were right. The screen pass has worked very well for a number of weeks now. It turns out you don't have to write about football to understand the game. Maybe all of us who want McCarthy to take back the play calling are correct, too.

There's a smattering of play-calling insanity in my inbox today, but I sense even the most frustrated fans wishing to lash out in any way that'll help alleviate their anger and frustration, understand play-calling was not the problem last night. The play-caller can't catch the football, only call the plays that require the football to be caught.

Thomas from Gilbert, AZ

Our passing offense is unreliable, but the running game seems to be finding its legs. It's time to simply stop throwing and start feeding Lacy and Starks and keep playing solid defense. These receivers can't catch a cold right now.

You can't win a championship without a reliable passing game. That is especially true in today's wide-open game. Either the Packers fix their passing game, or this season will end earlier than expected.

Former Packers QB Brett Favre's retired #4 was unveiled on the facade at Lambeau Field Thursday. Packers legend Bart Starr joined the celebration. Photos by Jim Biever,

Ken from Des Moines, IA

Long after the memory fades away of last night's disappointing game, I'll still remember the sight of Brett Favre hugging a ferociously determined Bart Starr. Perspective is a wonderful thing, isn't it?

That's how I'll remember last night. I could feel the force of Favre's squeeze. I think I even saw Starr wince. I'll remember the wince.

Ky from Cairns, Australia

Vic, these problems you mentioned in the passing offense aren't generally quick and easy fixes. They take time. Where do you think Coach McCarthy starts?

The repair process began a long time ago. These passing game woes can be traced back to the St. Louis game on Oct. 11. Time for repair is running out. This has to get fixed now or else.

Stephen from Dublin, Ireland

My team was 6-0. What happened?

It lost its identity and it hasn't been able to find a new one. It doesn't know who and what it is now.

Margo from Bloomington, IL

Vic, I have never heard Mike McCarthy sound as angry as he appeared to be at his postgame press conference. What does he have to do to get better performance out of his players?

I don't know, Margo.

Caleb from Wasilla, AK

Of course, he wouldn't say anything and throw anybody under the bus, but did you get the feeling from Rodgers' press conference he is getting frustrated with receivers routinely failing to make plays that need to be made?

Yes, and I think he previewed his fears back in training camp when he challenged the young receivers to accelerate their development. It was in the days immediately following Jordy Nelson's injury. I think Aaron Rodgers saw this coming.

Jon from Campbell, CA

Frustrating loss against Chicago. I thought Davante Adams had a terrible game. Could not catch the ball and was off rhythm with his QB. Your thoughts?

Yet, if James Jones catches that pass on third down, the Packers are 8-3 and a Vikings loss in Atlanta away from a firm grip on the NFC North title race. One play can make that kind of impact, and then one play becomes two plays, and success begins to pile up. "There's no big 'something is broke here.' We've got to do a better job on the little things. If we make plays on the ball tonight, the outcome has a real good chance to change. That's the difference between winning and losing in this league," Coach McCarthy said. He's right.

Trevor from Arvada, CO

Are you shocked they didn't score? If you would have told me there would be three games the Packers would be inside the 10 with a chance to tie or win with Aaron Rodgers and they wouldn't win one of them, I wouldn't believe you. I guess that's football. At least it was entertaining and should make an interesting December.

In the fourth quarter, I go from the press box to the media interview room. I do the short bulletin story from there. It's a story I want to post the moment the clock hits zero, so I write ledes in advance of the outcome. When the Packers got the ball back with 2:45 to play, I began writing this lede: "Aaron Rodgers rallied the Packers to a 20-17 win over the Bears, with a final-minutes, 80-yard touchdown drive that capped a night of tears and triumph at Lambeau Field." A few minutes later, it was highlighted and deleted.

Jonathan from Hednesford, England

Vic, we were running the ball and struggling with the pass. Why four straight passes from the Bears' 8?

The Packers were out of times out. If they had used one of their four plays to run the ball, and it failed to score, they would've had to use the next play to spike the ball and stop the clock. Had that occurred, my inbox would've gone into full play-calling meltdown.

Doug from Estherville, IA

This team keeps beating themselves with dropped passes, fumbles and missed tackles. The question is who is going to fix it?

The same guys that broke it.

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