Packers rip Rams to cap 2-1 road stretch
Green Bay Packers News – While the Green Bay Packers were putting the finishing touches on a 30-20 victory Sunday at St. Louis, their fans were treating the Edward Jones Dome as if it were Lambeau Field south.
Chants of “Go! Pack Go!” reverberated inside the dome while disappointed Rams fans filed out the exits.
“Our fans are unbelievable,” Packers head coach Mike McCarthy said. “To drive in from the airport (Saturday) and to see Packer fans everywhere, it was like walking down Oneida Street. … So, thank you fans, they were outstanding today.”
So were Aaron Rodgers, Randall Cobb, Casey Hayward and others as the Packers (4-3) completed a 2-1 road stretch with consecutive victories for the first time this season.
Rodgers was razor sharp against a Rams defense that had been tough on opposing quarterbacks this season. But that was against a collection of rookies and wannabes.
Defending the NFL’s reigning MVP was a different deal.
Rodgers extended plays with his legs and executed them with his arm. He connected on 20 of his first 22 passes for 232 yards and two touchdowns. He finished 30 of 37 for 342 yards and three scores.
Against Houston’s and St. Louis’ well-regarded defenses, Rodgers completed 54 of 74 passes for 680 yards, nine touchdowns and zero interceptions.
“He’s going to make throws that others won’t,” Rams linebacker James Laurinaitis said.”
McCarthy lauded Rodgers’ play, but was quick to mention others.
“It is more than Aaron being dialed in,” he said.
Indeed, it was second-year pro Randall Cobb making big-time grabs. Rodgers targeted Cobb eight times, and the receiver hauled in each to finish with eight catches for 89 yards and two touchdowns.
Cobb’s acrobatic, end zone catch for a 39-yard touchdown put Green Bay up 27-13 and ended any Rams’ hopes for an upset.
It was difficult to decide which was more impressive: Cobb’s circus grab or Rodgers’ laser. The Packers’ QB was rolling to his left when he delivered the perfectly placed bullet.
Rodgers is enjoying the newest of his many weapons.
“He’s a star in the making,” Rodgers said. “He’s a big-time player. He has the right approach for being a professional. He takes his job very seriously. He sees the game through the eyes of a quarterback. He’s played quarterback before, but he asks the right questions. He wants to be on the same page with me.”
McCarthy also heaped praise on Cobb, a second-round pick who played quarterback at Kentucky.
“Randall is a unique player,” McCarthy said. “He can play the 1-2-3 spot in the wide receiver position and he can play out of the backfield. Obviously, we know what he can do as a returner. … He is a young, dynamic player.”
Another young, dynamic player is Hayward. The rookie cornerback celebrated his first NFL start by nabbing his fourth interception. Hayward’s ability to locate the football while maintaining contact with the receiver is exceptional. Furthermore, his soft hands and ball skills enable him to catch it once he gets his hands on it.
The defense also got strong play from Clay Matthews (of course), Erik Walden (again) and Dezman Moses (stepping up). Each finished with a sack of the Rams’ Sam Bradford, who had a disastrous day.
For Packers fans that traveled to St. Louis it was a terrific day.
Rodgers said: “The chants are incredible. The boos that we had today from our fans on one of those calls (against the Packers) was incredible. It was louder than the cheers for the Rams.”
Now, the Packers return home for a Sunday noon matchup against the depleted Jacksonville Jaguars, who lost quarterback Blaine Gabbert and running back Maurice Jones-Drew to injuries in a 26-23 overtime loss against the Oakland Raiders.
The Jaguars can expect to hear plenty of “Go! Pack Go!” chants on their way in and out of Lambeau Field. A Packers’ victory would put them at a respectable 5-3 at the season’s midpoint, leaving the disappointment of tough losses at Seattle and Indianapolis in their rear view mirror.
Last week’s prediction: Packers 35, Rams 10 (Packers 30-20)
This week’s prediction: Packers 34, Jaguars 6
Chris Havel is a national best-selling author and his latest book is Lombardi: An Illustrated Life. Havel can be heard Monday through Friday from 4-6 p.m. CDT on WDUZ FM 107.5 The Fan, or on AM-1400, as well as Fan Internet Radio (www.thefan1075.com). Havel also hosts Event USA’ MVP Parties the evening before home games.