The Los Angeles Rams came storming into Lambeau Field seeking revenge after falling short to the Green Bay Packers in the playoffs last season in the NFC Division game.
As the Rams attempted to put their recent shortcoming behind them – dropping each of the last two games entering Sunday – they couldn’t find ways to overcome the Packers, surrendering their fourth loss of the season in Green Bay by the final score of 36-28.
The Rams offense got off to another slow start with their first three drives all ending without a score. Notably, on the second offensive series, quarterback Matthew Stafford was sacked and fumbled with Packers defensive end Rashan Gary getting into the backfield and bringing him to the ground.
While it appeared the first quarter was on the cusp of getting away from the Rams for the third consecutive game – falling behind by two-plus scores – they rallied back, punching in two touchdowns and tacking on a field goal leading into halftime. Therefore, the Rams got within three points of Green Bay at the halfway point.
The Rams' big spark in the first half came when Stafford uncorked a deep pass to Van Jefferson that resulted in a 79-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown. The ball was slightly underthrown, though Jefferson positioned himself accordingly, going up top and coming away with the grab before navigating his way into the end zone after the catch. Jefferson had a career-high day, logging three grabs for 93 yards and a score.
As the Rams entered halftime looking full of momentum, they came out in the third quarter and what could go wrong did go wrong. The Rams allowed Aaron Rodgers to orchestrate a 13-play, 75-yard drive for a touchdown on the opening series in the second half. Moments later in the third quarter, Rams punt returner J.J. Koski then muffed a punt in which the Packers recovered and cashed in on a field goal. Meanwhile, in getting the ball back shortly after, Stafford was picked off by Rasul Douglas, who took the interception to the house for a touchdown.
“Lot of the same narratives,” McVay said after the Rams’ third consecutive loss. “We turned the ball over too many times. We can’t get behind against a good football team like that.
“We’ve got to stop with some of these self-inflicted wounds, and that’s going to continue to be a focus and concentration for us, and then (we’ll) expect to start to see some results.”
The Rams cashed in once the fourth quarter began as Stafford hit newly-added wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. for a 54-yard touchdown, the first of his Rams career. That marked Beckham's first touchdown since Oct. 4, 2020 – his first score since 10 games ago when he was a member of the Cleveland Browns.
While L.A. played from behind all throughout this contest, Stafford's inconsistencies did the team no favors on Sunday in trying to get back into the thick of things.
“Listen, this is a team game, all right?” McVay said. “I’m not interested in revisiting the past and some of the things that haven’t always gone the way that we wanted (them) to. There’s a lot of different snaps, there’s a lot of things that he’s (Stafford) done at a really high level. When you want to just isolate those individual plays, of course, we want to be able to play better. It’s not always exclusively on him."
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Stafford finished the day 21-of-38 for 302 yards, three touchdowns, one interception and one fumble. Stafford has now thrown a pick-six in three consecutive games.
“You’ve got to take ‘em all individually,” Stafford said of his interceptions. “I know that’s tough for you guys to hear, for everybody to hear, but that’s the truth of the matter.
“I’m going to do everything I can to be as good as I possibly can with the football, while still trying to be efficient and explosive and do all the things we want to do as an offense."
As a team, the Rams converted just four of their 13 3rd down attempts. Converting at a rate of 30% is difficult to sustain drives, let alone overcome the play of Rodgers and the Packers offense.
“We’re too good to be losing games like this,” Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey said. “We’re not playing like we’re good right now.”
Rodgers completed 28 of 45 attempts for 307 yards and three total touchdowns. He also relied on his running game down the stretch, handing the ball to AJ Dillon and Aaron Jones who totaled 92 yards, collectively.
As Green Bay ultimately came away victorious, a key factor was the time of possession battle. The Packers had the ball for roughly 19 more minutes than the Rams did. This was an aspect that haunted the Rams last season when the two teams met and it once again held them back in this one.
The Rams have now dropped three games in a row, falling to a 7-4 record. In Week 13, the Rams will play the Jacksonville Jaguars on Dec. 5 at 1:05 PT inside SoFi Stadium.
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