“Death threats over a football game?” Valdes-Scantling said in his tweet. “Jesus you people need help. It’s actually sick. I’m good. My team got my back.”
Among those on the Packers publicly expressing support for Valdes-Scantling were quarterback Aaron Rodgers, wide receiver Davante Adams and Coach Matt LaFleur. “I don’t think there’s anybody in that locker room that doesn’t have Marquez’s back,” LaFleur said Monday.
After Green Bay and Indianapolis ended regulation tied at 31, the Packers got the ball first in overtime and Rodgers threw a short pass to Valdes-Scantling on second and two from their 30-yard line. As he corralled the ball and turned to head upfield, the Colts’ Julian Blackmon knifed between a pair of would-be blockers and poked the ball away from Valdes-Scantling. Indianapolis recovered the fumble at Green Bay’s 29-yard line and, after running three plays for eight yards, kicked a 39-yard field goal to win.
“At the end of the day, the ball is in my hands, and I’ve got to protect it,” Valdes-Scantling said Monday while noting it was the first lost fumble of his NFL career. “… It was just perfect timing, where [Blackmon] caught me transitioning the ball from the catch to the tuck. It was a great play by him. That’s what it boils down to. I have to be better with the ball security.”
“A lot of it is fundamentals, carrying the ball, but I’ve had my fair share of fumbles,” Rodgers said in a postgame media session. “It was just bad timing, obviously. … But that stuff happens.”
Rodgers added, “I have a lot of love for Marquez,” pointing out that the wide receiver “made a big play at the end of regulation.” Down three points and pinned at their own 6-yard line with just over a minute to play, the Packers faced third and 10 when Rodgers heaved a ball deep downfield that Valdes-Scantling caught while well covered by Colts defenders for a key 47-yard reception on a drive that ended with a tying field goal.
LaFleur praised Valdes-Scantling’s performance in the game, including his blocking on a play when Adams scored.
“He did so many good things yesterday,” LaFleur said Monday. “We wouldn’t even have been in a position to win the game without his efforts. … There were so many factors in that game that led to the result of the game, and I have more confidence in Marquez because of the game, just because all of the little things he’s been doing.”
Valdes-Scantling was the star of the Packers’ 24-20 home win last week over the Jacksonville Jaguars. He notched a career-high 143 receiving yards and a touchdown on four catches.
Asked Monday about his willingness to take questions after his costly fumble, Valdes-Scantling replied: “I talked to the media after a career game the week before, so I was at the highest point of my career, and now at the lowest point. So I can take it at both ends and not be fazed by it.”
Of sharing that he had received death threats, he said: “I wasn’t fearful for my life or anything. It was just more so to get people to understand we’re humans, too, not just some number on a jersey. We’re people first.”
After Valdes-Scantling posted his comments, Adams replied: “Been there my dawg. You know we got you! We all you need.”
Packers offensive lineman Lucas Patrick told Valdes-Scantling via Twitter, “No other man I’d want on my team!!!” Another Green Bay offensive lineman, Elgton Jenkins, encouraged the wide receiver by telling him, “All Love!!”
“Things didn’t go the way we wanted them to go at the end of the game,” Jenkins said Monday, “but I know ’Quez is a great guy, a great player, a great teammate, and he always gives his all to help the team win at the end of the day.”
“Those are the people that I care about,” Valdes-Scantling said Monday of his teammates, “and they hurt to see me hurt, to go out and cause that mistake at the end of the game. But that’s what the brotherhood is all about. No one is ever going to be perfect.
“Nobody really has access to me outside social media. Social media gives cowards the right to say whatever they want with no consequences.”