GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – For the first time in 2021, the Packers came into Sunday’s battle with the Los Angeles Rams as a home underdog.
Green Bay flipped that narrative early and kept its foot on the gas throughout, finding key plays in every phase of the game and piecing together a complementary performance in a 36-28 victory at Lambeau Field.
Aaron Rodgers threw for 307 yards and two touchdowns, Rasul Douglas returned a third quarter interception for a score, and the Packers improved to 9-3 to head into a much-needed bye week as the No. 2 seed in the NFC.
Green Bay’s offense racked up 399 total yards, missing the 400 mark only on Rodgers’ final kneel down at the end of the game.
Los Angeles amassed 353 yards in the game, but outside of two long touchdown passes, the Packers defense stymied the Rams for most of the day.
The Packers forced three turnovers in the contest and held the ball for more than 39 minutes, dominating time of possession and the line of scrimmage against one of the preseason Super Bowl favorites.
Green Bay will finish the 2021 regular season with a 4-0 record against the NFC West.
The Packers caught the first break of the day late in the first quarter. Returning from a hyperextended elbow, outside linebacker Rashan Gary got off the edge and sacked Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford, forcing the ball loose on the play. Preston Smith recovered inside the LA 10-yard line, setting the Packers up with first and goal and a chance to take the lead.
On third and goal from the one-yard line, Rodgers triggered déjà vu with a touchdown run, throwing cornerback Jalen Ramsey off balance with a pump fake and scooting toward the pylon for the opening score. In January, Rodgers converted a similar play in the opposite end zone against the Rams in the NFC Divisional playoff game, pump faking to get Leonard Floyd in the air before winning the race to the goal line.
With a 7-0 lead, the Packers defense stood tall again on the following drive, forcing a three-and-out before stuffing LA on a fourth down attempt on the 29-yard line. Mason Crosby knocked through a 45-yard field goal to give Green Bay a 10-0 lead less than two minutes into the second quarter.
The Rams responded quickly with their first splash play of the game. Seeing Van Jefferson deep in single coverage, Stafford lofted a perfect ball to his receiver, hitting him just beyond the outstretched arms of Chandon Sullivan for a 79-yard touchdown connection.
Green Bay responded quickly as the game began to pick up pace. Rodgers found Randall Cobb in the slightest of windows on third down, with the veteran receiver racing 54 yards down to the LA 14-yard line to set up another Crosby field goal.
Trailing 13-7, the Rams would catch a break with Cobb muffing a punt return on the ensuing drive. But Green Bay’s defense held in its own territory, forcing a Matt Gay field goal to retain a 13-10 lead.
The Packers continued to pick up chunk yardage plays on their ensuing drive. Rodgers hit Cobb for 27, Davante Adams for 43 and eventually Cobb again for a seven-yard touchdown to cap the march.
Cobb finished with four catches for 95 yards and a touchdown, leaving the game at halftime with a groin injury. It was a season-high yardage total for the veteran receiver.
Adams surpassed 1,000 yards receiving for the 2021 season with a 104-yard performance against LA.
The Rams would respond quickly before half, marching off a 75-yard drive in just 2:53 before Stafford hit Darrell Henderson for a six-yard touchdown, cutting Green Bay’s lead to 20-17 at the break.
The Packers, however, would come out with a fire in the second half.
The Green and Gold marched off a 13-play scoring drive to begin the second half, chewing 7:42 off the clock and capping it on a five-yard touchdown pass to AJ Dillon.
That would begin a dominant second half for the sophomore running back, who finished with 90 total yards and a touchdown in a victorious effort.
Facing a 30-17 deficit late in the third quarter, the Rams began to press through the air. But Stafford made the critical mistake, throwing across his body to Cooper Kupp and allowing Rasul Douglas to jump the route and convert a 33-yard pick six to make it 36-17 late in the third quarter.
Los Angeles would cut the lead early in the fourth quarter on a 54-yard touchdown pass to Odell Beckham Jr., but the Rams never got within striking distance, failing to make it a one-score game until the final minute and coming out on the wrong side of an onside kick.
Stafford, the former decade-long starter for the Detroit Lions, fell to 3-8 at Lambeau Field in his career and 7-14 overall against the Packers. He threw a pick six for the third consecutive game.
Green Bay has not lost back-to-back regular season games under Matt LaFleur, winning bounceback games by an average of 13.9 points.
By virtue of the Vikings’ loss at San Francisco, Green Bay extended to a 3.5-game lead in the NFC North. The Packers head into a much-needed bye week as the No. 2 seed in the NFC and will face Chicago on Sunday Night Football in their next game on December 12.