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The Good, the Bad and The Difference

Aaron Rodgers was too much for Aaron Donald

Divisional Round - Los Angeles Rams v Green Bay Packers Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Aaron Rodgers is not a “great” player any more than Aaron Donald is a “great” pass rusher. They are much more than “great” at what they do.

The conversation of Rodgers as “the greatest ever” however is overshadowed by the reality that he hasn’t been as “Rodgers” in the playoffs. It’s not that people could make a strong argument against Rodgers if they were simply watching him play — maybe nobody has ever looked more talented at the quarterback position — but his last Super Bowl appearance was a decade ago.

His next might be in three weeks and his performance on Saturday against the Rams should be hailed as one of his best ever, even if Donald wasn’t at his most “great.”

There are many reasons why the Rams lost 32-18 in Green Bay — but also many reasons that LA kept it close in the fourth quarter and had Rodgers not recovered a late fumble by A.J. Dillon, the Rams would have a “great” opportunity to tie the game right then.

Instead, Rodgers finally connected on one of his deep throws and Allen Lazard scored from 58 yards away.

This was some Good, some Bad, and the Difference in Saturday’s loss to the Packers.

The Good

Troy Reeder stops Allen Lazard on third-and-Goal at the 6

It was plays like this one early that kept the Rams alive late.

Robert Woods one-handed grab

Woods also had a 19-yard catch two plays later.

He is such an obviously talented player that his production this season has been disappointing. Perhaps that is not his fault, but players as good as Woods should not finish with 48 yards on 10 targets. Half of Woods’ games this season resulted in 6 yards per target or less. If Woods is simply a highly effective “singles” hitter, then the Rams are going to need a highly effective “home run” hitter, and they don’t have that.

Josh Reynolds catches a 28-yard pass from Jared Goff

Reynolds will be a free agent in March and I would be surprised to see the Rams use what little spending money they have to retain a receiver. However, he could be a significant loss. Where would the Rams have been on Saturday without Reynolds? Knowing that Cooper Kupp has missed a few games in his career, what is LA’s plan next season if they had to go a stretch without him?

Woods and Van Jefferson? When it comes to the quality of the receiver depth chart, a lot is depending on the development of Jefferson.

Rams MARCH down the field for 75-yard touchdown drive at end of half

This was as good of a drive as the Rams had all season. Why can’t they do it more often?

Darious Williams pass defensed forces first punt by Packers

Darious Williams had a really good season and will be a restricted free agent. Will a team come after him? What will LA be willing to do to keep him? Troy Hill is also a free agent.

Cam Akers scores a touchdown out of Wildcat

Cam Akers scores on a two-point play

Cam Akers is great. Great draft pick.

The Bad

Unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Aaron Donald gives Packers a first down

(Pay zero attention to the commentary on Twitter by this “@biasedslightly” user. They just happen to post the clips.)

This changed what would have been a third-and-7 into a first down. It would have been a third-and-7 so let’s not overreact and pretend that Donald single-handedly gave up a touchdown. However, we do know that third-and-long is what the Rams defense was hoping to see a lot of on Saturday.

Aaron Rodgers throws short touchdown to Davante Adams

As we noted last week, Green Bay prefers to throw on third-and-Short more than they prefer to run in those situations. LA didn’t have an answer for the NFL’s leading touchdown-catcher in 2020 on this play.

Rams use multiple timeouts in first half to avoid penalties

There were issues with timeouts and timing throughout.

Aaron Rodgers scrambles for touchdown around Leonard Floyd

The Rams came close several times on third downs, only to get beaten. That was the story of the game going into it and that’s what turned out to be true. Rodgers is “Rodgers.”

Aaron Rodgers escapes to complete 33-yard pass

More of it.

Refs overlook offensive pass interference penalty on Marquez Valdes-Scantling

Valdes-Scantling was clearly seen holding John Johnson’s right arm back so that he could not make an interception, which should have resulted in a 15-yard penalty. That would have pushed Green Bay’s end-of-half field goal attempt from 39 yards to 54 yards.

Aaron Jones runs for 60 yards

The Aaron Rodgers stuff is more acceptable than this. Aaron Jones is one of the best running backs in the league, but the Rams defense knows its better than this.

Jared Goff sacked by Rashan Gary

Jared Goff sacked by Kenny Clark, then Rams waste a timeout

Down seven points in the fourth quarter on the road with three timeouts, the last thing you’d want to do is use one of those timeouts when it was third-and-16. The subsequent third down attempt was a throw that traveled zero air yards and gained only five.

Allen Lazard gets behind Rams defense for 58-yard touchdown

I don’t get too mad at this play. It’s a lot of time to be playing defense. Or maybe be mad as hell, I don’t know!

The Difference

This could go a number of different ways, but I saw McVay and Staley both being called out by name during the game. Rodgers is a clear answer too, but I wouldn’t overlook Green Bay’s rushing attack.

The Packers love to run on first and second down to setup Rodgers and they picked up way more yards on the ground than any other team did against the Rams all season. I’m not saying it is the difference, but it was a clear weakness for LA.

Among a few other things.

Poll

What was THE DIFFERENCE in Saturday’s loss to the Packers?

This poll is closed

  • 28%
    Aaron Rodgers
    (260 votes)
  • 21%
    Aaron Donald not being "Aaron Donald"
    (195 votes)
  • 6%
    Sean McVay was outcoached
    (63 votes)
  • 10%
    Brandon Staley was outcoached
    (100 votes)
  • 32%
    Packers run game too effective
    (301 votes)
919 votes total Vote Now