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Loss to Bills can take Packers to higher peak

Accountability is the key


Mike from Stephenson, MI

The Lions, Bills and Seahawks all played rush four, drop seven. The Lions and Seahawks stopped the run. The Bills could not from the beginning, so why not keep going with it? I understand we have "The Man," but why not grind it out on the ground when they were inviting it and Green Bay was delivering it? Take what's there, not try to take what's not.

That all sounds very logical in reviewing the play-calling. Maybe they should've run the ball more often. What we don't know is how many times a running play was changed to a pass at the line of scrimmage, and what the game plan was, etc. You can't completely abandon your play-call sheet because one thing isn't working. Those are the plays you practiced all week. The kind of draw-it-up-in-the-dirt flexibility fans think offenses possess doesn't exist. As the Bills increased their lead, I was surprised when the Packers turned even harder to the run on the one particular series when Eddie Lacy was gashing them. The problem was that a negative play or penalty would always seem to kill the momentum. You have to have balance in your offense, and the Packers didn't have it on Sunday. When your quarterback's passer rating is 34.3, especially on a team that is built to feature the quarterback, you're probably not going to win the game.

Chris from Lexington, KY

I think if Jordy makes that catch, it's a game changer. We take the momentum and get a spark that allows us to take control of the game. Do you see one play having that power?

One play can change a game. Marcus Thigpen's punt return changed the game. The Packers' longest pass completion went for 20 yards. They lacked a game-changer on Sunday.

Walter from Long Beach, CA

Do you think the unexpected loss vs. Buffalo will actually give our guys an edge? Anger at a loss for which players weren't at the top of their games, as they have been, could be the perfect motivation for the Packers to not lose a game until next preseason. I think our guys will be motivated enough to win out.

Anger won't get it done. Accountability will. Every player needs to "own" his performance. Did he do his job? Though football is a great team sport, success depends on the individual. Just do your job. Don't worry about the team winning or losing, worry about doing what you're supposed to do. Sunday's game is the kind of late-season loss that can re-focus a team and take it to a higher peak. If it doesn't, then the Packers peaked too early, but I don't think that's the case. I think you're going to see the Packers go to a higher level, and I think Sunday's loss will be a catalyst.

John from Ash Grove, MO

Your inbox surprised you with its upbeat nature, but there are still many Packers fans ready to throw in the towel on this season. The Packers are still in control of their own destiny.

Winning cures all ills and erases all disappointment.

Randy from Mildred, PA

Vic, it didn't occur to me until someone mentioned the Packers receivers were manhandled during the last game. Do you think there is less emphasis on downfield contact now? Do you think this might have something to do with the Seahawks' resurgence?

I don't get that feeling. I watched the action on the outside closely. The coverage was tight and physical, but I didn't think it was deserving of penalty. The Bills' defenders won. In his press conference yesterday, Tom Clements didn't allow for excuses for his offense's performance. He said the Bills' corners weren't any more physical than other corners. That's the attitude that wins. Be accountable for your performance, instead of blaming it on someone else.

Matt from Sun Prairie, WI

We wanted the Packers to pass more during the Detroit game because it was clear the run was not effective. This time, we wanted the Packers to run more because it was clear the pass was not effective. I don't see it as being hypocritical, as you are suggesting.

I get it. I've been doing this a long time and I've never known fans to compliment the play-calling in a defeat. If the plays didn't work, they should've run different plays, right? Here's what I know to be true: When the opponent invites the run, this team needs to find a way to win. I don't care if it's the Lions or the Bills; find a way to win. Flood the passing lanes has become the way to beat the Packers, and now the Packers have to find a way to beat that defense. They'll have a chance to do it in two weeks. Hey, maybe Tampa will try to do the same thing.

Ben from London, Ontario

Vic, I'm sick and tired of sports journalists (not including Mike and yourself) who seem to change their opinions every single week. In one week, Green Bay has gone from a Super Bowl favorite to a probable one-and-done team. It truly is exhausting, and if I didn't get to read your perspective twice a day, I would possibly lose my mind.

That New England game seems like ages ago, doesn't it?

Kevin from Saint Michael, MN

Yes, the Packers offense had a bad day, but how much of their failure was caused by a defense that did not give them much space and got in their heads? There were more drops than usual. Some of this is owing to the fact they were under more pressure, not simply that they had a bad day. Your thoughts?

The Bills won the one-on-ones. As schemes go, rush four and drop seven is as vanilla as it gets. That was truly players, not plays.

Ben from Milwaukee, WI

Do you think the Packers have found their identity? If so, what is it?

The Packers' identity is that of a team that can blow your doors off if you can't match up with them. What concerns me is for the times when the opponent has the talent to match up with the Packers. It seems to take the Packers out of their identity.

Brad from Mounds View, MN

Vic, I really do appreciate your perspective regarding the Packers, but (the loss in) Buffalo cannot be defended nor can the coaching staff be defended. The Packers coaching staff, unless they have been living in a cave, have known that teams, including Buffalo, would rush four and play coverage, but the team was ill-prepared from the start of the game to deal with it, and now there is a sense of urgency? We've known this since Game 1 and still have not solved this mystery? What could possibly make anyone think this coaching staff can execute a game plan to account for this?

How do you know the team was ill-prepared? That's a reckless and unsupported comment. To a man, they all said they knew what was coming. They said that's Buffalo's scheme. So beat it. You're telling me the losses to Seattle, Detroit and Buffalo are all on the coaches? That's baloney. Beat your man! That's the name of the game. This isn't Madden. This is for real.

Luwana from Dixon, IL

What chances do the Packers have in making it to the Super Bowl this year?

I haven't digested all of the updated playoff scenarios, yet, but if the Packers win the next two games, I suspect they'll be the No. 2 seed, and the second seed has launched a lot of champions. The Packers lost a game to a quality opponent on Sunday. They need to rebound and begin a new run, the final run.

John from Neenah, WI

Vic, allow me to provide some perspective on why Packers fans are so worrisome. Thanks to the teams of the 1970s and '80s, we know how bleak and hopeless things can be. In the back of our mind, we know those days will return eventually, and that's where the worry comes from. It makes us desperate to seize the moment and succeed. When you have a rare bird like No. 12 leading your team and setting the record books on fire, you have to get it done, or at least do better than a consistently easy out in the playoffs. Are we being greedy to feel this way? Absolutely. Is it unreasonable to demand to seriously compete for a title every year? Probably. Unrealistic? Not when you have Aaron Charles Rodgers on your team.

Living in fear of something that happened 30 and 40 years ago? The game has changed dramatically since then. The salary cap will not allow a quality franchise such as the Packers to go dormant for two decades. Those days are over. Enjoy the moment. Don't live in fear.

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