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Packers vs. Rams: Quick Takes from Green Bay's 21-7 Win

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Packers vs. Rams: Quick Takes from Green Bay's 21-7 Win

The Green Bay Packers started fast and finished strong Saturday afternoon, using 10 first-quarter points and 11 in the second half to beat the St. Louis Rams by the final score of 21-7 at the Edward Jones Dome. 

 

It was over when…

…Rookie Jeff Janis turned a short pass over the middle into a 34-yard touchdown late in the third quarter. You can't teach speed, and Janis showed he has plenty of it. The seventh-round pick turned the corner and then outran the Rams secondary to the end zone. The score and ensuing two-point conversion put the Packers up 18-7. 

 

Game Balls 

  • Aaron Rodgers: He was surgical in his preseason debut, completing 11-of-13 passes for 128 yards and one touchdown over just two series. The offense, which utilized the no-huddle on each drive, scored on both possessions. The pace and rhythm of the whole operation was close to perfect. Rodgers is already in mid-season form.
  • Mike Pennel: The undrafted free agent proved difficult to block for the second straight week. He had a sack in the first half when he cleaned up the quarterback following Mike Neal's pressure, spinning out of double team to get home. Much like last week in Tennessee, No. 64 was in the backfield on a number of snaps, especially against the run. 
  • Tim Masthay: His first three punts averaged 54 yards, and all three ended up inside the 20-yard line. He was a big reason why the Rams' average starting position was at the 16-yard line during the first half. Hey, punters are people too. 

 

Key Stats

The Packers ran 64 plays and totaled 386 yards (6.0 yards per play) and 22 first downs…The Packers defense allowed just 216 yards on 62 plays (3.5 yards per play). The Rams ran 27 times for 79 yards, good for an average of just 2.9…In his first live action since tearing his ACL, Sam Bradford completed 9-of-12 passes for 101 yards and a score. His passer rating was 127.4…The Packers had two touchdowns wiped out by penalties. The errors cost Green Bay at least nine points (but more likely 11, if the extra points were converted). Another penalty took away an interception. Overall, Green Bay committed 12 penalties…Undrafted free agent Jay Elliott had three sacks and a forced fumble on his first series…DuJuan Harris' fumble was the only turnover of the game…The Packers had seven sacks, while the Rams registered just two. However, St. Louis hit Packers quarterbacks six times…Andrew Quarless led all receivers with 58 yards on four catches. Harris led the Packers with 32 rushing yards on seven attempts…Mason Crosby made both of his kicks (long of 49) and his only extra point attempt…Davante Adams caught two passes for 28 yards, converted the two-point conversion and fielded two punts for zero yards (but zero fumbles)…The Packers were 1-for-4 scoring touchdowns in the red zone.

 

Other Notes

--What a first drive. With the 11 players expected to start against Seattle on the field, the Packers first-team offense marched 86 yards over 12 plays, taking up almost five and a half minutes. Eddie Lacy ran five times for 25 yards and caught two passes for 22 more. Rodgers completed 6 of 6 passes for 47 yards and a four-yard touchdown to Randall Cobb. It was a clinic. The next drive went 12 more plays and spanned 80 yards, but stalled after David Bakhtiari's penalty negated a second touchdown in the red zone. Overall, the two drives with Rodgers under center totaled 176 yards and produced 10 points. Can't ask for much more. 

--Julius Peppers was much more active this week than the last. After 10 forgettable snaps in Tennessee, Peppers' first series vs. the Rams consisted of at least one hurry and one tackle for loss. He also beat the right tackle clean to the inside on one quick throw from Bradford. There would have been a sizable collision in the pocket had Bradford held the football for one or two more seconds. On the second defensive series, he beat rookie Greg Robinson with speed off the right edge. His near-sack forced an incompletion. Later on the drive, Peppers rushed from a 3-point stance and got some push, but Bradford made a strong throw for the score. Mike Daniels was also impressive pushing the pocket. 

--The Packers starting offensive line passed its biggest test of the preseason with flying colors. Rodgers routinely had clean, well-formed pockets to throw from, and the running game was mostly productive, especially on the first drive. The Rams were without Michael Brockers, but the likes of Robert Quinn, Chris Long and Aaron Donald were non-factors. Make no mistake about it: this was a statement performance, a confidence-building effort. The Packers won't face a better front before traveling to Seattle for the season opener. 

--Pennel is making the final 53-man roster. How could the Packers justify risking him on waivers? Big guys with his power and movement skills are too rare. Playing the run looks like a strength of his, and he even showed off some pass-rushing skills in the first half. If healthy, he should be on the Week 1 roster. 

--Janis looked comfortable returning punts. Dealt with some traffic, but he remained calm and caught the football. Of course, he wasn't looking up into a monsoon. It was still a promising start. Janis can wrap up the No. 5 receiver role if he shows an ability to return punts, a role still very much up for grabs. His touchdown showed why the Packers might have to keep him regardless. Janis can really run. 

--Scott Tolzien (10 of 15, 107 yards) looked shaky on his first series but settled down in the second half. He was sharp after the break, completing eight straight passes at one point. Flynn (2 of 3, 44 yards) threw a touchdown pass on his first attempt but had limited opportunities. He took two sacks behind a leaky backup line. Not sure either quarterback moved the needle on the backup competition.

-- The slightly more important third preseason game will bring the Oakland Raiders to Lambeau Field for a nationally televised contest next Friday night. The starters will play their most snaps of the exhibition schedule. Charles Woodson, James Jones and C.J. Wilson return to Green Bay. The Packers could look dominant against a Raiders team that has been really poor early on in each of their first two preseason games. 

 

Zach Kruse contributes to Cheesehead TV. He is also the Lead Writer for the NFC North at Bleacher Report. You can reach him on Twitter @zachkruse2 or by email at [email protected].

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Fan friendly comments only: on Comments (22) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Mojo's picture

Just one thing to say: Aaron Rodgers is one bad mother .....

Ibleedgreenmore's picture

I liked how some on both sides played. We have talent, who goes and who stays glad I am not MM or TT but I would take their pay.

Ibleedgreenmore's picture

I liked how some on both sides played. We have talent, who goes and who stays glad I am not MM or TT but I would take their pay.

Ibleedgreenmore's picture

I liked how some on both sides played. We have talent, who goes and who stays glad I am not MM or TT but I would take their pay.

Nick Perry's picture

The offense looked great on those first 2 drives. Rodgers looked sharp and Tretter and the rest of the OL did a great job. The defense looked really good, especially the run defense. Hopefully Pennel keeps this up and makes the 53, I like his hustle.

Clay Zombo's picture

Jayrone Elliott, Mike Pennell and Jeff Janis made the 53 today, If they cut any of those guys they are stupid.

Julius Peppers needs to rush the QB from a 3 point stance, his get off is so much better there whether its as an Elephant End or in a 4-3 over alignment.

As good as Sherrod looked last week, he was equally as bad this week maybe worse. JC Tretter looked like a bad ass out there though.

Brandon Bostic looks real good when healthy but can't stay that way. Hope his leg injury is minor and they only held him out because its preseason.

Glad they decided to give Davante Adams another shot at PRs but after his first attempt, I think I have seen enough.

Frickin DuJuan Harris...still love the guy but hes pissing me off.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

Jayrone Elliott beat up a really bad Tackle who also got smoked by Hubbard the following drive. The Rams think so little of him they moved their starting Guard to Tackle for a preseason game because Jake Long is not ready yet. I'm not saying I think Elliott is not a good find. I just want to see more of him. I want to see him hold an edge in the run game, and run with a TE before I get too giddy.

Nick Perry's picture

Gotta agree there. I've read they like Elliott but I actually felt bad for that LT, he was horrible.

DoURant's picture

Our #1 offense is SCARY great, our OL out played The Rams highly touted DL, they didn't even come close to touching Aaron. Our run defense was awesome, they had to have between 7-10 stops for a loss or no gain, easily. Jeff Janis is a lock to make the 53, if he doesn't he will never make it through waivers, and I will be extremely irate. You can't teach speed, and he showed what speed can do on his TD, the safety had the angle and he just flat outran him to make the corner. He also looked very comfortable at PR fielding all 3 punts smoothly.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

I was impressed with Tretter. He's put together too, no big fat belly, just a big cut athletic guy. I'm wondering if they will try pulling him like Mike Pouncey on power running plays.

DrealynWilliams's picture

Sooooo,no one wants to talk about how good Tolzien looked?

LAS VEGAS-TOM's picture

Stroh, I think Tolzein is the better of the 2 QB's. That's not my Badger Red talking, that's my opinion. I hope you agree, after seeing the last 2 games. Having said that, I've also said Tolzein at times has had a confidence problem. Hopefully, he has gain some confidence in the last 2 games. I'd be surprised if GB doesn't keep both Tolzein & Flynn. Defense is still a ?. I really liked what I saw offensively. Wish I had more money on them.

From what I saw of A Rod & the 1st string offense, I hate to say it, but I think MM should keep all them guys out as much as possible before the Seattle game. I know the thinking is, they need to have Chemistry, but they looked to me like they were chaumping at the bit. They were firing on all 16 cylinders. I'd like to see that in the Seattle game. Not sure I've seen the 1st unit more Confident.

LAS VEGAS-TOM's picture

Goldfinger, I've been back & forth to Vegas. Leaving Wed again. I stopped posting because no one seemed to agree with me on things. I do think Tolzein is the better of the 2 QB's, but I've said a number of times, he has a confidence issue. I think he's played well, but he would play much much better if Flynn wasn't there. All the pressure is on Tolzein. He's #2 as far as I'm concerned. As I said, that's not my Badger Red speaking, I think he is a lot better QB. I also believe GB will keep both Flynn & Tolzein. I don't think STROH agrees with me on anything, but I do hate to admit, he is right on the Points issue, but it not because Flynns a better QB, it's been because of some Great play on Tolzeins part, & then some Rotten Luck. Stroh has been right on the points issue, but that will change. Cream rises to the top. The people from California love Tozein. They say he damn near beat out Kapernick for the #2 spot when Smith was there. I'll be posting more when the season starts. I wanted to give A.J. the game ball for the 1st game. He only missed 1 tackle, then again he only had 1 chance. Stroh, I'm watching A.J. I'll be the 1st to credit him, if he ever deserves it. LVT

LAS VEGAS-TOM's picture

Stroh, We will see about Tolzein/Flynn. If Flynn wins the job, then he deserves it. I still believe they will keep both, & Tolzein will be #2. Having said that, I also like Matt Flynn, & will support him as well, if he happens to come out on top.

You've been in love with A.J. Hawk since they wasted that #5 pick on him. I wanted to get rid of him 4 years ago. Last year when I was trying to Trade Hawk, to keep JJ, you were against that as well. GB has been wasting money on Hawk for years. The 1 thing you should know, you don't!! With all the good receivers GB has, JJ would have contributed more to this team than A.J. will. He has No More Excuses this year.

You've been correct on the points issue with Tolzein, but IMO not on your assessment of the 2 QB's. Last year when he threw for 330 yrd's & lost, he took the team all the way down the field with little playing time, & threw & interception on the 1 yrd line. He's thrown some Great passes that have been dropped. Flynn may have 2 TD's, but his play isn't as good. I'm watching the same game you are, I think?

Our offense is Awesome, but our defense is Questionable. Our Corners are Too Small, & our Inside Linebackers, are Average at best. Personally, I think our DL will do ok. LVT

LAS VEGAS-TOM's picture

Stroh, I purposely made your point, because your numbers are correct. I've also said, he threw a poor interception last year on the 1 yrd line, that shouldn't have been called in the 1st place. He probably was nervous & excited as Hell at that point. He was doing Great, & then that happened. It changed everything around for Scott. He had all the pressure on him, while Flynn sat the bench & watched. He's had some Bad Luck, not all of which has been his fault. He's had 1 TD called back, & some Great passes dropped. Things like that make all the difference for a QB. 1 of Flynns TD's was a Gift. I believe Tolzein has played better & has far more upside than Flynn. You're Critisizing a Good QB. You should be Critisizing a Poor Linebacker.

LAS VEGAS-TOM's picture

Goldfinger, Glad we agree on Tolzein. You may be right with GB keeping only 2 QB's. My thinking was, they have got them for almost nothing. I agree with you, a 3rd QB carrying a clip board would take a spot away. I believe both QB's would be picked up somewhere, Tolzein for sure. Cleveland wanted him last year. I don't follow all the players like the rest of you do. I would think there would be someone expendable, other than a good back-up QB, if not, than we only keep 2 QB's, & hope our offensive line stays healthy. I support Tolzein, because I believe he is the better of the 2 QB's. You're correct, both are good QB's & can win you games. Then again, I thought Tolzein was a Great college QB, & he didn't get drafted. Maybe Stroh will wind up to be right on this one. We'll never hear the end of it, if he is. Right now, GB is still Not Strong up the middle. That IMO is their biggest problem. LVT

LAS VEGAS-TOM's picture

Goldfinger, You might be right, but I just feel there's a team out there willing to pay minimum for a decent back-up QB like Flynn or Tolzein.
I don't ever want to see Graham Harrel or B.J. Colman back in a GB uniform. I'd call BF back 1st. The more I think of it, I believe you are right. GB won't keep 3 QB's. They just need to release the right one. LVT

Spiderpack's picture

It's the preseason for god's sake. But I agree to some extent with what you are saying. Coaches will have to figure it outl

DoURant's picture

Tolzien has had back to back nice games, think we keep 3 QB's on the 53, alternated games with Flynn and Tolzien on inactive list

zeke's picture

No LaMichael James? Good luck with that.

Spiderpack's picture

Hey COW!!

What happened to the way you used to challenge everyone's beliefs and everyone's feel-good status? I miss the way you talked shit to everyone. Have you become impotent? This here summary is what you used to say to all of us:

COW: Our leader ARodge was playing patti-cakes with a shitty preseason defensive line and backfield who were all out of shape for the no-huddle and didn't game plan for him in the slightest. Nobody in the Rams secondary knew shit about what to do. Sober up boys, it don't mean nothin.

COW: Jeff Janis is not a "return specialist." He has not been a featured returner in the NFL, or EVER. Janis is not necessarily worth a SHIT against starting NFL Cornerbacks the likes of Richard Sherman or Revis (with his knee fixed). We don't know if Janis can beat a single good physical press player in this league. Everyone stop getting all excited for gods sake!!?!!

Spiderpack: I'm only kidding, its just that I wanted to say this because Cow's udders have become deflated and pumped-out. He's letting us all down.
But Janis is, without a doubt, on this team.

Cow, take some testosterone. Are you jealous? I bet you wished you had said this.

Cow, have you lost your Mojo for God's sake?

JimTaylor31's picture

Hopefully just a bad day for Sherrod. He does have to get used to the speed of the game regardless of the surface. No excuse. If you get your QB injured there is simply no excuse. My guess is he'll bounce back but still a bad sign when you get schooled by a late 7th rookie with marginal skills. I'm getting worried about D. Jones and Perry. If just one of the two blossoms into a legit #1 I'll be happy now. I had hopes for Bradford but I think it's time to move him to ILB and see if he can make the PS. That's best case for him. Give Elliott some snaps against better competition and see what he can do. Overall the roster looks pretty good. Miss Barclay though.

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