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It was about a sense of urgency

Defense's part in the win underrated


Mike from Marshall, MI

Are you disappointed McCarthy took back play-calling? What message do you think he is sending?

The message he wanted to send, in my opinion, is it's time to get this right. The message was all about a sense of urgency, and I think he got his message across. I don't care who calls the plays, nor do I care what plays are called. The plays that were called yesterday are the same plays I've seen called all year, including during the first six games of the year. Whatever it takes.

Dustin from Nashville, TN

You've talked a lot in the past about good teams imposing their will. There was a moment before that final touchdown on Sunday that I got the feeling the Packers were about to impose theirs. I think everyone in the stadium knew Eddie Lacy was going to get the ball and when I cheered him as he plowed right through the Dallas defensive line, I saw a team that was imposing its will. Do you agree?

It happened long before that. If you're going to run the ball, you must commit to a long and patient process that also involves defense. Sunday's game was a classic run-the-ball event. After three quarters, the Packers had only scored 14 points and were leading by a mere seven points, despite dominating the statistics. In the fourth quarter, the dam broke, and that's how it goes with a run-the-ball game plan. You pound it and pound it, and the defense buys you time to stick to your game plan, as the opponent's defense slowly wears down. When it works, it's wonderful. When it doesn't work, the fans scream about conservative play-calling.

Dominic from Islington, UK

It seems the Packers are getting relatively lucky with injuries this year, if you look at the upheaval around the league. Do you think the health of the team bodes well for a strong run into January?

You're not hurt until your quarterback is hurt. The Bengals lost Andy Dalton. All of a sudden, a season of winning is in jeopardy of collapse. The Packers have a good look about them.

Curt from Westby, WI

Mike McCarthy said the play-calling was about rhythm and flow. I think it was about the speed of the play-calling. The last few weeks they were always bumping up against the end of the play clock. Against Dallas, that was never an issue.

I like that observation.

Roger from Auburn, CA

Vic, I know you are going to get slammed with the players vs. plays question today. The Cowboys couldn't stop us and they have a good defense. So what did happen?

The performance of the Packers defense was as important in that win as the offense's performance was. Early in the fourth quarter, with the score 14-7, the Packers offense went three-and-out and the Cowboys had the ball at their 28. I sensed tension in the crowd. The Packers defense then forced a three-and-out, the offense marched 84 yards in 12, time-consuming plays, and the outcome of the game was decided. What if the defense had allowed the Cowboys to score and tie the game? What would be saying today?

Josh from Pullman, WA

You should do the full column in Pittsburghese.

I could give Aaron Rodgers Pittsburghese lessons, if he wishes. He needs to learn how to pronounce some key words: out (aht), downtown (dahntahn), business (bidness), really (rilly), sandwich (sammitch), steel mill (still mill), battery (battry), towel (tahl), tennis shoes (tinnies), winter (winner), mountains (maahntins) and Cowher power (Cahr pahr) will give him a good start.

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