Packers vs. Rams score, takeaway: Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay rely on ground game to stay in playoff hunt

Packers vs. Rams score, takeaway: Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay rely on ground game to stay in playoff hunt

The Rams entered Lambeau Field hoping to play spoiler in Baker Mayfield’s first official start as Los Angeles’ quarterback. And at least for a half, it looked like it might, even though Mayfield struggled to get the ball out of the gate. After his slow start in the red zone, however, Aaron Rodgers found a groove by leaning on the Aaron Jones-AJ Dillon backfield combination, and the Packers cruised to a 24-12 halftime victory, keeping them alive in the NFC wild-card spot. in the race process.

Matt LaFleur’s offense didn’t necessarily come full circle in front of the home team. Rodgers threw an ugly deep ball option to Taylor Rapp, and Jones missed a layup that could have rejuvenated the Rams’ chances in the second half. But A-Rod also showed some signature zip while nurturing rookie receivers Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs. And both Jones and Dillon found success near the end zone, combining for more than 120 yards rushing and three total scores in the win.

Here are some highlights from Monday’s win over the Packers:

Why the Packers won

Matt LaFleur’s side of the ball finally found some balance. In truth, his unit has been on a quiet upward trajectory for weeks. But after an Aaron Rodgers pick and three that forced him to settle for a third-and-goal, they hit their stride. Dillon was the hitter, excelling especially in the red zone, while Jones had several gallops into open space to extend drives and ultimately seal the deal with a late third-quarter TD catch. Rodger, on the other hand, made a lot of middle-of-the-road strikes in the cold weather to keep the Rams in check. The defense stepped up when it needed to, limiting the Rams to 13 first downs and 3.6 yards per play, and had a late interception of Mayfield to put the ‘W’s back on track.

Why the Rams lost

The battered and bruised attack failed once again. Baker Mayfield struggled with a temporary supporting cast, but the accuracy and deep ball that underscored his heroic Rams debut were mostly missing this time, as the former Browns and Panthers starter flirted with a pair of pick-sixes and was done. completing only half his shots. It didn’t help that no one came up with much separation, with Cam Akers “leading” the pass catchers in the fourth. The vaunted defense, meanwhile, fell victim to a handful of big plays despite a strong early showing. Still missing Aaron Donald, the forward got to Rodgers a few times, but he left big lanes for Aaron Jones and was unable to avoid the quick attacks of Doubs and Watson in the second half.

Turning point

After Matt Gay’s 55-yard field goal, the Rams trailed by just four points at halftime. But then came the Packers’ first drive of the second half: an 11-play drive that got an early boost from a defensive holding penalty in LA, featured back-to-back bullets against Watson and Doubs, and capped it with a strong one. three-yard TD run by AJ Dillon. With a 17-6 lead, Green Bay never looked back, maintaining a comfortable lead against time and weather.

the game

Credit to AJ Dillon, whose first TD broke an early 3-3 tie and set the tone for cold-weather football:

What’s next

The Packers (6-8) travel to Miami on Christmas Day to take on the Dolphins (8-6), coming off a Week 15 loss to the Bills and showing playoff-related reasons. The Rams (4-10), meanwhile, are now officially out of the playoffs. They will also play on Christmas, at the hands of the Broncos (4-10), who beat the Cardinals on Sunday and return Russell Wilson under center.

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