Win starved Packer fans have reason to celebrate this week. In a statistical gem of a defensive showing, the Packers shut down the Ram offense and the Green and Gold’s offense put together enough plays to put 20 points on the Jumbotron.
Now, were the Packers helped by the Rams missing their star quarterback, Matthew Stafford? You bet your bratwurst they were. Stafford’s replacement, Brett Rypien, beat Jordan Love twice in college, but he couldn’t make enough plays to keep the Rams on the field.
Green Bay’s defense played without three starters, Safety Darnell Savage, linebacker Quay Walker, and Safety Rudy Ford. Add on the traded Rasul Douglass and Kenny Clark’s early departure and the built in excuse for a poor defensive showing was available. But this Packer team got outstanding performances from every substitute on defense.
Isaiah McDuffie had multiple tackles for loss, one that got the defense off the field on third and short and had multiple additional tackles at or near the line of scrimmage. McDuffie played the game we have been hoping to see Quay Walker produce. Jonathon Owens and Anthony Johnson both created a turnover, and Carrington Valentine had three passes defensed and brought great energy.
Even though the offense gave L.A. great field position on fumbles by Aaron Jones and Dontayvion Wicks in back-to-back series to open the second half, the defense kept the Rams out of the end zone. Jaire Alexander finally looked healthy and was back to his disruptive self.
The offense? Well, it improved from last week. They scored a touchdown on their second possession after getting a short field thanks to Jonathon Owens strip-sack of Rypien. This offense was able to establish a consistent running game that was not producing big plays (Jones long run was his 9-yard fumble and Dillon’s long run was 12) but they helped move the chains and kept the defense honest.
Jordan Love is still struggling with an accurate long ball, missing a wide-open Christian Watson that would have opened the game up and given the home team a 14-point lead.
Watson did contribute later in the game when Love threw another jump ball deep pass, but this time Watson used all of his athleticism to climb the ladder and nab the ball at the high point, above Rams safety Russ Yeast. The 37-yard completion on third and twelve was the play the Packers have not made in weeks prior. It led to the game icing touchdown making the score 20-3.
The Ugly Side of Packers’ Win Over Rams
For fans who would rather focus on the frustrating, the Packers supplied enough to get your ulcer aching. Three fumbles, two lost. Eight penalties, two of them on third and short after the Packers had made the first down. Rashan Gary’s two back-to-back penalties on the Rams second possession in past games led to points, but Gary was bailed out after his 20-yard gifts by Jonathon Owens forced fumble recovered by Campbell.
The Packers offense has much room to grow, but there were signs of hope for the future. The offensive line battled in the run game. Even much aligned Sean Rhyan played significant snaps at right guard and held his own against Aaron Donald.
The offense put up 184 rushing yards and held the Rams to 68. Jordan Love had a QBR of 115. Aaron Jones looks healthy again and the young pass catchers are playing with a bit more consistency. The dropped passes of weeks prior were reduced and except for the controversial offside penalties that killed two drives, the offense seemed to have a game plan they could execute.
Next week brings an away game test in Pittsburgh against the 5-3 Steelers. Hopefully, the Packers can continue to improve and start a winning streak for the first time this season.