The margin of victory in three of the Los Angeles Rams last four games has been three points or less. Two of those victories (against Seattle and Green Bay) have been by just two points.
The Green Bay Packers had the best chance to beat the Rams on Sunday. Had it not been for a costly turnover by Ty Montgomery on the kick-return, the Packers may have won that game. Aaron Rodgers is most clutch when he’s behind. But the Rams made the play when they needed it and kept their undefeated record intact.
The Packers nearly beat the Rams by setting the tone early and being relentless on defense, especially in the pass-rush.
Setting the tone
The Rams ran no-huddle on the first drive and on third-and-four, they should have had the upper-hand on the Packers defense. Yet on the snap, Green Bay stayed in zone, which kept most of the field covered. Goff, who had all the time in the world to run and a lane that could fit an 18-wheeler, saw Bradin Cooks too late on a curl and got sacked.
On third-and-five, Packers go shotgun and send everybody but Devonte Adams on 5-6-yard routes. Adams, however, throws a double-move which allows him just enough separation.
The Rams send five pass-rushers and Rodgers waits until the pressure is right in front of him to whip a rainbow pass to Adams chest on the run.
The Rams appear to be in Cover 2, but Jimmy Graham is able to find an open field for the 22-yard reception. Lamarcus Joyner shifts over to Rodgers X-reciever, who in this case was Marquez Valdes-Scantling.
After Graham slips past Cory Littleton, Josh Johnson appears to get fooled by Rodgers eyes as he whips himself into a circle, thinking maybe the ball was going to Geronimo Allison.
On this play from the 1-yard line, Ndamukong Suh falls over (I believe he was trying to get the jump on the play and blow it up), which actually ends up helping the Packers.
With him on the ground, Corey Linsley is able to get to the second level and block Bryce Hager.
The Green Bay pass rush
On this play, Havenstein hops to his right too much, which throws him off balance as he’s trying to overcorrect on his block. it blows up in his face with one move from Matthews.
On the same drive, Blake Martinez uses a great cut-step to push through John Sullivan for the sack. Had Todd Gurley not moved over to shore up the left-side protection, this could have just been a throw-away incompletion.
On a separate drive in the second quarter, the Packers send the blitz, which Martinez pretends to be a part of. But Martinez hangs around to split Sullivan’s attention before he drops back in coverage.
Sullivan gets beat by Kenny Clark, who appears to kick out Goff’s legs for the sack. He didn’t throw his full bodyweight on Goff so I guess that’s cool.
This game reminded me a lot of 2016 Robert Havenstein. He was undisciplined and panicked. Take this play for example. He initially takes a first step towards the defensive back on the outside, then steps back inside and turns towards the pressure that isn’t there, giving the outside rusher enough time to pressure Goff.
The Packers pass-rush found success from inside and outside the tackles, and LA should tip their flat-billed Dodger caps to Green Bay. The defense found a way to apply pressure without having to sacrifice their pass-coverage.
Its also rare to see Andrew Whitworth get beat like that.
The swing point
In my opinion, the Rams were able to swing momentum back their way when Mark Barron recorded the safety to give LA its first score of the game.
Bell Byran, who was the RG on this play, decided to go to his right, which gave Barron the opening to shoot the gap and tackle Aaron Jones. After this play, the Rams found the end-zone before halftime and it felt like the Rams were on even ground with the Packers.