Rapid Reaction: Packers 30, Rams 20
October, 21, 2012
By Mike Sando | ESPN.com
Thoughts on the St. Louis Rams' 30-20 defeat to the Green Bay Packers at the Edward Jones Dome in Week 7:
What it means: The Rams fell to 3-4 with their second consecutive defeat. The tough stretch could continue thanks to the schedule. St. Louis faces New England in London, then San Francisco on the road following a bye. Three of the Rams' four remaining division games are on the road. No one said Jeff Fisher's first season would be easy.
What I liked: The Rams' defense set the tone early by stuffing a Packers run and sacking Aaron Rodgers while forcing a three-and-out on Green Bay's first possession. Rookie defensive tackle Michael Brockers collected the first sack of his career.
The offense established a ground game right away, helping St. Louis win time of possession by a wide margin in the first half. The pass protection for Sam Bradford was better than anticipated for a team with third-stringers at left tackle and left guard.
The Rams put together a six-play, 80-yard touchdown drive in the fourth quarter, sparked by rookie Chris Givens' 56-yard catch-and-run. Steven Jackson played a key role on the drive, converting on third-and-1 before scoring on a 6-yarder up the middle.
What I didn't like: Green Bay seized the underdog's initiative away from St. Louis by succeeding with an onside kick following a first-quarter touchdown. That was the type of play St. Louis has sought to execute as a means toward manufacturing points. Watching the Packers accomplish that feat had to make the Rams' coaches grimace.
The Rams continued to squander chances for scoring touchdowns. They failed on fourth-and-2 from the Packers' 14-yard line. Bradford couldn't handle a shotgun snap on a third-and-8 play from the Green Bay 25, leading Bradford to scramble for no gain.
It's easy to read too much into the situation based on what we know about the state of the Rams' offensive line. However, I thought there were times when Bradford appeared to rush throws as if he did not trust his protection, even when he wasn't about to get hit. That seemed to be a possibility on the interception Bradford threw on a deep pass up the left sideline from near the Rams' goal line.
Gutsy call: The Rams failed to convert a fourth-and-2 from the Green Bay 15 while trailing 10-3. The move was understandable given that the Rams had to figure field goals weren't going to be enough. But getting a first down in that situation wouldn't have guaranteed a touchdown later on the drive. The Rams' defense was playing well overall and the game was still young. Before this game, the Rams had converted twice on eight drop backs when needing 2 yards for a first down on third/fourth downs.
Givens' explosiveness: Givens has a reception of 50-plus yards in four consecutive games. Willie Gault had been the last player to do that in three consecutive games. He did it during the 1983 season. The Rams were checking to see which player, if any, had done it four games in a row. Givens is the Rams' most explosive player.
Respecting Rodgers: When the Rams allowed Rodgers to connect on his second scoring pass, they had allowed four TD throws in 6.5 quarters after allowing two of them in the first 20.5 quarters of the season. Rodgers was phenomenal in this game. He completed 20 of his first 22 passes for 232 yards and two scores. His third scoring pass was memorable. Rodgers rolled left and threw across his body to Randall Cobb for a 39-yard score.
Running stats: The Rams carried 16 times for 93 yards in the first half. They carried six times for 15 yards in the second half. The disparity arose because the Packers controlled the ball after halftime. Green Bay had scoring drives spanning 6:56, 4:25 and 5:44 in the second half.
Infirmary report: The Rams lost defensive end Eugene Sims to a knee injury in the first half. Sims was part of the nickel defensive line and overall defensive line rotation. Cornerbacks Bradley Fletcher and Trumaine Johnson were shaken up. Bradley did not miss any playing time. Receiver Brian Quick landed hard on his left hip while falling out of bounds on a pass near the end zone late in the game.
What's next: The Rams face the New England Patriots in London.