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Rush four, drop seven; Packers will see it again

Tampa game becomes huge


Eddie from Rotterdam, Netherlands

I'm quite optimistic, Vic, despite the loss. Rodgers said something really significant in the postgame conference about not letting this loss tear the team apart. If anything, this loss may prepare us for the defense we may see in the postseason and perhaps adapt/adjust. I'm not a downer today and I really love football the most when it comes down to the wire, especially if it comes down to the Lions. I'm excited and in awe of this season finale.

That's a wonderful attitude in the face of a very disappointing loss, but you don't have to look to the playoffs to think about how yesterday's game might prepare the Packers. They're going to see a similar version of that drop-seven defense in two weeks when the Lions come to Lambeau Field.

John from Olympia, WA

In the spirit of the season, I think what Thurl Ravenscroft said about the Grinch applies here: Stink. Stank. Stunk. Still, if they win out, none of us will care about this one.

I think we all know what winning out would mean. Maybe it would be better to focus just on winning the next one. All of a sudden, Tampa becomes a huge game.

John from San Francisco, CA

It would have been exciting to watch Lacy carry the ball 35 times. I think the outcome would have been different.

What if he had carried 35 times and the Packers had lost? Remember what my inbox was like after the Detroit game, when the Packers committed to the running game against a six-man front? In defeat, we always find a better way.

Mike from St. Paul, MN

What were your thoughts on the officiating in Sunday's game?

Early in the game, I said to myself, "Leavy's gonna let 'em play today." I'm referring to how physical and tight the Bills' defenders were playing the Packers' receivers. Aaron Rodgers went right to that fact in his postgame remarks, and he repeated that theme. Other officiating crews might've called it closer, but Leavy's crew was consistent. They called it the same for both sides. I don't have a problem with the officiating on Sunday. This is the way it is. Beat it!

Robert from Madison, WI

Vic, I'm disappointed by the loss today, but encouraged by a few things: 1) The defense played well enough for them to win, which in December on the road says a lot. 2) The passing game was atrocious, but the running game was on point. Rodgers will likely not play like that again this year, and odds are the special teams won't dog them, either. That will be the last loss of the season.

Did somebody kidnap my real inbox? I was expecting a boxing glove to come out of my laptop when I opened it this morning, instead, my inbox is a place of great encouragement and resolve.

Adam from Hillsboro, KS

Did you see what the fans in Philly did to the Cowboys' bus? Ah, brotherly love that you would appreciate.

We got a personal welcome in Buffalo. It always happens in the same place, where you round the bend behind the Bills' indoor facility.

Danny from Robbinsville, NJ

Do you see this loss serving as a late-season kick in the rear that might push the Packers a little harder? Have you come across a situation like this in your experience?

Yes, I have. It was 1979. The Steelers got blown out in San Diego late in the season. Terry Bradshaw threw five interceptions. The impact of the game was that San Diego claimed home field advantage for the playoffs and the Steelers would likely have to go back to San Diego in the postseason, but it all changed when Ted Thompson's Oilers waltzed into San Diego without Earl Campbell and Dan Pastorini and won an early-round playoff game that sent the AFC title game back to Pittsburgh, where the Steelers beat the Oilers. The moral of the story is don't think too far ahead. Upsets happen all the time. The Oilers beating the Chargers in San Diego with Rob Carpenter carrying the ball and Gifford Nielsen at quarterback was a huge upset. Nobody likes the prospect of having to go back to Seattle, but there's a lot of football to be played between now and the NFC title game. First things first: Get there.

Mick from Iowa City, IA

No platitudes. Speak with your play. Win or go home. Am I correct?

You are absolutely correct. We've reached that point in the season that it's just win, baby. Instead of having spent all of last week whining and crying about the defense's second-half performance in a win, we should've been thankful for the win because any kind of a win in December is a good win. Would you take that kind of win today?

Phil from Chicago, IL

Vic, you were right. That Buffalo defense was something else, despite our miscues. I'm taking your advice and moving on from this one. What do you see as the Packers' main focus or challenge this week heading down to Tampa Bay?

The challenge is to turn the page. Forget about what was lost in Buffalo and focus on what can be gained in Tampa. I haven't crunched all of the tiebreaker facts, yet, but I have a feeling a lot will be on the line in Tampa.

Don from Oak Creek, WI

The Packers are 3-4 on road, with two of the three victories in tight games, but they are dominant at home. I realize teams generally play better at home. Why such a huge disparity for this Packers team?

Three of the four road losses are to Seattle, Detroit and Buffalo, teams of a similar style. I wrote about that last week in Friday’s scouting report. They're teams that didn't load the box, they loaded the passing lanes. Packers receivers have to prove they can beat that kind of defensive strategy. They're going to see it again.

Darryl from Glen Carbon, IL

Vic, the players had to know what was at stake in this game. Lose this one and home field is gone. Seattle is going to be the No. 1 seed. Anyone who thinks the Packers would even stand a chance is delusional. The offense appears to have taken on the identity of being soft prima donnas that sulk when they get roughed up. I believe this team was beat the minute they took the field. I'm tired of caring more than they do. I guess a ton of money helps.

Thanks, I needed that. I was beginning to worry.

Chris from De Pere, WI

Vic, what is the purpose of the fumble rule under two minutes? I don't understand the reason for it.

It's to prevent one player from intentionally fumbling to another player to extend a play at desperation time. I suspect it's "Holy Roller" based. Despite that rule, I'm not sure Eddie Lacy got all of the ball out of the end zone. Remember, all of the ball must come out of the end zone to avoid a safety.

Mitchell from Houston, TX

The real issue is our special teams. Six blocked kicks in one season. What's wrong with our special teams?

Shawn Slocum talked about in Friday’s scouting report. He talked about how a protection weakness will expose a team until it gets it fixed. Apparently, the Packers have a protection weakness and I would expect the focus on fixing it will be intense this week.

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