It was sure to be expected, yet it stings nonetheless. Merely two weeks after realizing a winning record for the first time in years, the St. Louis Rams fall back below .500. It's now a losing streak that shows no clear end in site, at least in immediate coming weeks. But, oh well, let's dwell for a moment.
Packers too much for Rams - In the end, it was shown that the Rams just aren't yet prepared to contend with playoff-bound, Super Bowl-caliber teams. They fought hard and showed promise - as they have and will all season - however, 60 minutes has proven to be far too long to play for field goals, especially against Pro Bowl dominating offenses. Green Bay was the best team that Jeff Fisher's Rams have played all year, and may very well remain that way throughout 2012. Bear in mind that St. Louis scored a whopping 3 points against them last year. That in itself is a respectable measure of progress. Hey, the Patriots and 49ers are next on the schedule; sometimes a moral victory needs mentioning.
Post-game report card - With a few notable exceptions, the Post-Dispatch's Jeff Gordon liked what he saw in the Rams' performance. The running backs - one of whom finally scored a touchdown - continued to build on their "Thunder and Lightning" reputation, averaging nearly 4.5 yards per carry, a number only slightly impaired by a brief Isaiah Pead showing.
Brian Quick and Austin Pettis, who scored his first NFL touchdown in garbage time, joined a receiving unit that actually fared well by recent standards. Chris Givens' streak of games with a 50+ yard reception extends to four. He now has ten catches for 270 yards, a 27 yard average. That number, behind only three players who combine for six total catches on the year, is absurd.
The defense, which has been the staple of Jeff Fisher's franchise, had its worst game to date. Best of the unit was the defensive line, which pestered Aaron Rodgers throughout the afternoon; however, more often than not, they simply chased the All-Pro quarterback out of the pocket until he soon after connected with a target deep downfield.
Obviously, as is usually the case with teams facing off against the Packers, the secondary emphatically failed. Green Bay's receivers, notably Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb, torched the back end without hesitation. The two combined for 211 yards and 3 touchdowns while helping Rodgers achieve a 132.2 passer rating.
Sando's wrap-up - First and foremost, what ESPN's Mike Sando didn't like, no Ram fan the world liked. Green Bay's successful onside kick to follow up their go-ahead touchdown was both a slap in the face and the beginning of the downhill skid that ultimately led to a second straight mark in the loss column. Surely Mike McCarthy respected his opposition enough to make such a bold move, but, really, a mid-first quarter onside kick?
Rams in midst of Rodgers' greatness - Many thought that there would be no way Aaron Rodgers could duplicate his monumental 338 yard, 6 touchdown performance from last week against a growing Rams defense, and they were right. Unfortunately, they weren't 100 percent accurate, as Rodgers did, in fact, light up the scoreboard with 3 touchdown passes and no interceptions. The 28 year old future Hall of Famer now has 19 scoring throws in 7 games. Luckily for St. Louis, the team likely won't meet again with the NFL's A-Rod for some time.
Another new look for the offensive line - Down a fourth starting offensive lineman - due to already preceding injuries - the Rams again were forced to reshuffle their front on Sunday. Joe Barksdale, a disappointing third-round pick by the Raiders in 2011 and waiver addition from last month, took over at left tackle for Wayne Hunter, who has been filling in for Rodger Saffold. Shelley Smith, a third-year journeyman, made his first career start, filling in at left guard for Quinn Ojinnaka, who seems to be on his way out. All for all, considering the edge-rushing nightmare matchup that is the league's Fabio (Clay Matthews), the two appeared to fare well.