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It's the most heartbreaking loss I've ever covered

Any play at crunch time might've changed the result


James from Paris, France

Vic, do you think this loss is a case of the Packers getting ahead of themselves in the fourth quarter and starting to think about going to the Super Bowl instead of concentrating on putting the game away? I've seen it happen before.

The loss is the result of not making plays at crunch time. I think everybody that reads this column knows how I feel about crunch time. That's when games are decided. That's when championship teams play their best football. The Packers played their best football at crunch time on several occasions this season – the Cowboys game immediately comes to mind – but something happened in those final seven minutes of yesterday's game that I can't explain. It felt as though a switch was turned off, and I'm not referring to Coach McCarthy's play-calling. A pass was dropped on third-and-4; let's not forget that. I'm referring to performance. It wasn't there at the end. I don't know why it wasn't.

Gary from Bristow, VA

Vic, will the experiences of the loss at Buffalo, which cost the Packers home field advantage, and the many missed opportunities they had to beat Seattle in the NFC Championship game, enable Green Bay to become an even better team in 2015, or given typical roster turnover, will it pretty much be back to square one when the next season begins?

It's back to square one. All teams change in the offseason. They start anew and stand on their own. I thought about that on the ride home last night.

David from Tacoma, WA

Vic, what happened on those last few drives? How does a defense that is dominating all game suddenly not be able to stop the Seattle offense?

That defense hadn't allowed a point. Then they allowed 21 points in the Seahawks' next three possessions. I can't explain it. All of a sudden, they couldn't stop the run or the pass. A switch went off. That's my only explanation. Why did it go off? I don't know.

Tim from Rosario, Argentina

Did the team lose its edge after the Burnett interception? Not much went right afterwards.

Yeah, the Packers lost their edge. That's the only explanation I can offer. I think I lost mine, too. At that point in the game, I was in the interview room, watching the game on the TV monitor and writing my bulletin story. After Morgan Burnett made the interception, I wrote in my story that the "win was clinched when Morgan Burnett intercepted a Russell Wilson pass that deflected off his receiver's hands." Shortly after that, I deleted those words from my story. I thought it was over. Maybe the Packers did, too.

Ted from Findlay, OH

Vic, I think we need your help to get through this loss. I am hurt. I am bitter. I could not sleep last night as I relived the half dozen or so opportunities that likely would have changed the outcome. I don't even feel like watching the Super Bowl this year. I can see the commercials online. The game will just bring pain to me.

As I sat in the interview room waiting for Coach McCarthy's interview to begin, I felt great empathy for all of the Packers fans that were suffering from what had just happened. I thought of all of those wonderful people at the pep rally on Saturday, and how they were suffering. I'm not Wisconsin born, but I know what this team means to its fans, and I hurt for you. We'll get through this because in the final analysis it's just a game, but this will be a difficult time for everyone who loves the Packers.

Jake from Sacramento, CA

How do you move on after a loss like that? What would Vic the fan do?

Vic is trying to minimize the importance of football in his life today.

Jim from Appleton, WI

I just don't see the point anymore. I can't sleep, can't eat. I feel like I had my heart broken.

You did.

Tim from Brazil, IN

How surprised are you the Packers defense played that well for three-and-a-half quarters? I wish they could have finished it out but they played extremely well and I think we should look forward to next year.

That's too quick. I'm not ready to turn the page. I need to get away from football for a while. I'll be doing interviews with Tony Pauline from the Senior Bowl over the next three days, but my heart won't be in it. Tony's will. I'm grateful for that. I'm glad we have him to help turn the page.

Michael from Berlin, Germany

Vic, I just learned that Brandon Bostick deliberately chose not to honor his responsibility on the onside kick play. Had he just done what he was supposed to do, Jordy Nelson would have most likely secured the ball and the Packers travel to Arizona. So now you basically have a fringe player on your roster that cost you a trip to the big game because he didn't bother to listen. What would coach Ketchman do with such a player?

Teach him, develop him. Punishment isn't the answer. How do you think he feels today? His hurt is all of the punishment he needs. He learned a very harsh lesson: Just do your job.

Jackson from Curitiba, Brazil

What do you think cost us the game? Was it one or two plays here and there, or was it a change in the game plan in the second half?

Pick one. The dropped pass on third-and-4? If the Packers convert, the Seahawks might've gone flat. Pick any play the Packers didn't make at crunch time.

Robby from Loma Rica, CA

Vic, I'm wide awake at 2:30 a.m. It's dead silent outside, and the game is starting to settle in along with some thick fog in these California foothills. When's the last time you've covered such a heartbreaking loss?

I've never covered a game that hurt as much as that one.

Isaac from Lubec, ME

What does Coach McCarthy have to fix this offseason about the team or about himself as a coach?

He has to reshape the team based on the personnel changes the Packers are going to experience. It's the same for every coach in the league. As far as this team goes, there was nothing to fix. It had it all. That was a championship team that inexplicably flipped a switch with the Super Bowl on the line. I'm devastated for every Packers fan that is trying to make it through their hurt today.

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