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This team won't flinch in the fourth quarter

Packers must get back to stopping the run


Ken from New York, NY

I'll say this for the Packers: Their seasons are certainly not boring.

Are you not entertained?

Phil from Boise, ID

Remember last week when I said teams should just fair catch every punt? Yeah, I was wrong about that.

Kudos to linebacker Joe Thomas for pulling up and raising his arms just before he was about to contact a Cleveland player in the back.

Jeff from Green Bay, WI're saying there's a chance? I am surprised by the grit and determination this team is showing without "The Man." How do you think the momentum will translate to the field if or when No. 12 returns?


This team won't flinch in the fourth quarter. We know that. But playing two of the top teams in the NFC the next two weeks will require another level of play. Can Rodgers make the difference? Because the offensive struggles that seem to put the defense in bad spots and shift the game's momentum will cost you more dearly against playoff-caliber teams. There's a reason the Packers never mounted a rally against the Saints, but they did against the Bucs and Browns.**

Michael from Schofield, WI

Has there ever been a more analyzed pair of collarbones in human history?

Only by archaeologists maybe. But it's down to one analysis now. It's either thumbs up or thumbs down. Will we find out today, or will we find out Wednesday? Stay tuned.

Caleb from Shawano, WI

Man what a perfect time for Josh Jones to get his first career pick! Also, great effort on Matthews' part to create that opportunity.


The pass rush had a tough day, but nothing else to do except keep getting after it. You never know when the play to change the game will present itself. Matthews' quick change of direction to stay in the face of the scrambling Kizer was impressive.**

Grumpy from Joliet, IL

Spoff, thankfully it didn't matter but if on-field officials call a touchdown and the booth overturns it, why would the offensive team get a 10-second penalty? I'm trying to think common sense here but it's evading me. Isn't it the officials' mistake?

It is, but the common sense in the ruling is if it had been called correctly in the first place, the clock would have kept running. Detroit lost a game early this year to Atlanta on a similar sequence. The only way to avoid the 10-second runoff is to call a timeout, but the Packers had none left. I thought the way everyone stayed calm in a potentially frantic situation spoke to this team's maturity.

Aaron from Seattle, WA

Does the interception by Josh Jones count as this year's Hail Mary? I'm up for redefining the term if it's not.

Huge risk to take by Kizer in that situation with someone in his face. Winston took a similar risk last week while getting sacked, and it turned into a TD the other way. You see plays like that and it becomes obvious why McCarthy preaches to his quarterbacks that protecting the ball is always the top priority.

Ian from Sherman Oaks, CA

Three overtime wins in one season? Two in consecutive weeks? When was the last time the Packers did either of those things?

Never, I don't believe. Here's another one: As I pointed out in my editorial, Elias said it's the first time in team history the Packers have come back three times to win in the same season down 14 or more points. Cincinnati (21-7) and Dallas (21-6) were the others.

Kyle from West Valley, UT

That snow game was incredible! There is something indescribably enjoyable about watching grown men play in the snow. Should I be ashamed I had more fun watching the Bills game than our own OT thriller?

Not at all. Snow games like that are a species unto themselves.

Jim from Horsham, UK

Hey Spoff, even more impressed by Davante's moves now...


Flaunt 'em if you got 'em.**

Scott from Neenah, WI

A sigh, and ironic chuckle, and an old-timer's rant. Mike's responses to Matt from Kua about the decline of the game, and Jesse from Appleton about the boxes on the rails, put it together. Fantasy football is the attractive tie that binds now. The boxes are for Wi-Fi. It used to be you went to games to cheer on your team. Not to spend your time following your fantasy players. You used to go to bars to socialize. Now, you walk in and everyone is staring at their phones. Everybody is so connected, there's no connection anymore.

The connections are different, like the Inbox for example, and they've changed our lives. But we shouldn't have to desert our past way of life as a sacrifice. Rather, it's on us to connect the old way with the technology generation, and for them to give us the chance.

Cindy from Los Angeles, CA

Who wins a dance-off between Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams? What about between Biff and Spoff?


I'm not worthy.**

Calvin from Livingston, MT

I ask questions all the time and yet you continue to answer other people's questions from Montana, and half the time I'm fairly sure the towns these people are from aren't real towns in Montana which makes me feel like they're fake questions. Are you a Russian, Spoff and/or Wes?

Oh, Danny, this isn't Russia. Is this Russia? This isn't Russia, is it? I didn't think so.

Mike from Novato, CA

Well, this is exciting. Just wanted to comment on Hundley's play. Yeah, he's had his problems, and that INT vs. the Ravens may haunt us into the offseason, but comparing him to Matt Flynn as a backup, I think he's done fine. He (unlike Flynn) hadn't started a single game before this season, six of his seven games have been against top-15 defenses (four in the top 10), and he really has been solid in crunch time. I'm not convinced anyone else who would have been available could have done better. And he never seemed to let it get to him, and never passed the buck. Credit where it's due; the guy played like he belongs, IMO.


He showed his crunch-time coolness in Chicago, and he continued it these last three weeks. He hasn't played a solid four-quarter game – Pittsburgh was his closest – but there's something to be said for how he's performed with games on the line. I don't know how to explain where it comes from, really, when the offense has gone through so many lulls in those same games. He has an ability to shake things off and keep plugging away that's admirable, even as the struggles can be frustrating for all involved.**

Jim from Bluffton, SC

Insiders, I am a daily devourer. The Kevin King injury is a chronic problem. The shoulder situation was well known during the draft process. What is the prognosis for his shoulder? Hope there is information here. Thanks for the insight.

He's having his surgery done Tuesday by the best in the business, Dr. James Andrews. My own read of the situation is this procedure will be more extensive than the one King had in college, and he sounded very confident on Friday this will get everything back to normal.

Taylor from Amarillo, TX

I hope the NFL is very careful moving forward on how it's going to legislate/suspend players for illegal hits. Suspensions for plays like Gronk made, Mike Evans a few weeks back, or Crabtree/Talib is one thing. For plays like Trevathan's hit, Iloka on Thursday, even T.J. Watt's sack on Hundley – everything happens so fast, gauging intent is ridiculously challenging. I really don't want to see officials "go to the hood" and bring the former official on the broadcast to discuss it every time.

I hear you, but I do think we're going to see more suspensions for repeat offenders as we go forward. For a first-timer, it would have to be an egregious hit, with obvious intent, for me to advocate for a suspension right off the bat.

John from Little Rock, AK

I hope Aaron Rodgers has been taking advantage of his downtime and the nature of his injury to practice throwing left-handed. Need to check that left-handed TD pass off the bucket list.

Already did. His 300th career TD pass, earlier this season, came on a left-handed shovel pass.

Tom from New York, NY

Does a glowing Vic ever show up in your office like Obi-Wan Kenobi from the sub-dimension of retirement to give you advice? "May the December friend be with you"…"Aaron's right clavicle is more machine now than man…"

Thanks for ruining my sleep for the rest of the month.

Chris from Remington, IN

Which route has better odds with the remaining schedule for the NFC? The Packers winning out and 1) Vikings losing out 2) passing two of the following teams in standings: Seahawks/Rams, Falcons, Panthers? Obviously, the Packers have to take care of business first of all, but as fans it can be fun to talk about.

OK, I'll break the Mora-torium and entertain playoff scenarios now, as promised. There are a lot of different ways this could play out, but I don't see the Vikings losing to both the Bengals and Bears. In the wild-card picture, I'm still trying to figure out if Carolina playing at Atlanta in Week 17 is going to turn out to be a good thing or a bad thing.

Dave from East Burke, VT

Okay Mike, what are the obstacles to making it into the playoffs? Seems like it might be getting harder than easier.

The Packers have to beat two legitimate Super Bowl contenders the next two weeks just to get to Detroit with a shot, and they'll still need two of the following three things besides: The Panthers to lose another game aside from next week, the Seahawks to lose another game, or the Falcons to lose twice. I'll make sure to cover all scenarios in "Path to the Playoffs" at the end of the week.

Eric from St. Louis, MO

Wow, what happened? I got on a plane after the failed fourth-down attempt in the third quarter. Not kicking the field goal there left a bad taste in my mouth as I took my seat, but what do you think of the choice not to kick? We can question McCarthy's decisions on fourth down but we certainly can't question the grit of his teams.


In a vacuum, I kick it, but McCarthy obviously felt good about his play call, and that's the part of the decision-making process we aren't privy to. It appeared to be a misdirection pitch to the outside, coming off run action up the middle they had shown earlier. The concept was sound, and Jones would have had the first down easily, but Hundley took responsibility for a mental error. I think of all the mistakes Hundley's had to come back from over the last two months, that had to be the toughest.**

Jim from Mounds View, WI

Did anyone else notice how Aaron Rodgers contributed to the win by helping to fake out the Browns' defense by signaling for Hundley to spike the football on first-and-goal on the game-tying drive? The FOX announcers bought into the expected spike as well.

I only caught a quick glimpse of the TV at that point, but I thought he was signaling to throw the fade.

Brian from South Lake Tahoe, CA

On the Packers' first extra point, Crosby kicked it from the left hash mark. On the subsequent extra points he kicked it from the right hash mark. Was there a big difference in kicking conditions between the two end zones?

It was pretty windy out there, so that had to be why. Crosby normally kicks his PATs from the center.

Greg from Danbury, CT

Adams ran to the locker room, so it wasn't a walk-off win.

I learned a few years ago the term "walk-off" was actually coined by baseball relief pitcher Dennis Eckersley to describe a sudden-death ending from the losing side. As the pitcher giving up the winning hit, all he could do was walk off the mound. It's funny how terms morph from their origins to become universally understood in a different way.

Muaaz from Chantilly, VA

He got the return! He got it! He got it! It finally came and at such a crucial moment. I couldn't keep my eyes open because I was scared of a flag. When do you think the momentum really shifted?


I put all my chips on Trevor Davis this week. Wrote about him on Friday being "on the verge" and picked him as player to watch in "Final Thoughts." I've probably used up my predictive powers now, so no need to listen to another word I say.**

Edward from La Crosse, WI

Hey Mike, what surprised you the most about the game – Kizer's "up for grabs" throw in OT, the Packers' fake punt, or no flags being thrown on Davis' huge return? Or was there something else?

I was surprised the Packers' run defense struggled for the second straight week against a rather pedestrian run game. The Packers have to get back to stopping the run the way they were earlier in the season to give themselves a realistic chance the rest of the way. Carolina just rushed for 200-plus against Minnesota. The Panthers are going to make the Packers stop the run.

Greg from Hamilton, Ontario

We're running out of cornerbacks! Is it time to panic?

Props to House for trying to gut it out, but he looked in serious pain there. Demetri Goodson could use a Mr. Miagi-type healing touch on that hamstring, and fast.

Kate from Ravena, NY

Hi, Mike! Looking forward to meeting you (and hopefully Wes) at my first pep rally this Saturday. My question is, since the 1 p.m. (ET) start has a possibility of being flexed out, will the schedule-makers know who Sunday's starting quarterback is before they make their flex decision? I'm sure the national ratings for Aaron's first game back will be huge whenever it is, but even more so against a wild-card rival like the Panthers. GoPackGo!

Sunday's game is not being flexed. The only time the league can flex a game the week of is in Week 17. See you in Charlotte, Kate.

Dan from Houston, TX

Draft-and-develop weekly reminder: Hundreds if not thousands of Packer fans wanted to cut Davante Adams two years ago. Now he is the team's No. 1 wideout (if not overall offensive weapon), going to be talked about as a top-five receiver in the game, and most definitely going to be paid like one.


Jaden from Fargo, ND

Wow! Awesome win! Keep believing and I'll keep cheering! What a huge emotional burst going into my college finals week! This will help me get through it! Love reading the Inbox every day! Thanks!!

You're welcome! There's a good Seinfeld joke to be made about all the exclamation points here, but I'm coming up empty and it's time to post! Happy Monday!

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