Aaron Rodgers, Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson had their second consecutive big games as the Green Bay Packers beat the St. Louis Rams 30-20 on Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome.
Rodgers completed 30-of-37 passes for 342 yards with touchdowns of 3 yards to Nelson and 5 and 39 yards to Cobb.
The long one to Cobb was the game’s biggest play. The Rams, outplayed for most of the first three-and-a-half quarters, had pulled within 20-13. On third-and-8, Rodgers drew the Rams offside, scrambled to his left and fired a perfect strike to Cobb over 6-foot-3 rookie corner Trumaine Johnson for the touchdown, making it 27-13 with 3:06 remaining.
After going loss-win, loss-win, loss-win to start the season, the Packers improved to 4-3 with back-to-back victories. If not for a second-half collapse at Indianapolis, the Packers would have swept through a three-game dome trip.
"I'm tired of the big-picture questions," coach Mike McCarthy said. "I'm really ready to get on to our next opponent, Jacksonville, and get back home and win another game. We are clearly about one game at a time."
With almost no running game to speak of — the Rams held Alex Green to 35 yards on 20 attempts — Rodgers had to have a big day against a pass defense that ranked in the top five in the league in passer rating, touchdowns allowed, yards per completion and interceptions.
Nelson finished with eight catches for 122 yards, including the opening touchdown on a fade over Bradley Fletcher. Cobb added eight catches for 89 yards and one carry for 19 yards. James Jones’ three-game streak with two touchdown receptions was snapped but had six catches for 53 yards.
That gave that trio 22 catches for 264 yards and three touchdowns. Last week at Houston, they combined for 19 receptions for 256 yards and five of Rodgers' six touchdowns.
Even with four starters on the sideline, the defense was outstanding, with most of the Rams’ offensive numbers exaggerated. St. Louis managed 108 rushing yards on 22 attempts but that was mostly a nonfactor after Green Bay took control. Rams quarterback Sam Bradford finished 21-of-34 for 255 yards with one touchdown and Casey Hayward’s fourth interception in the last three weeks. Chris Givens’ 56-yard catch-and-run on a pass deflected at the line of scrimmage by Clay Matthews set up the first of the Rams’ fourth-quarter touchdowns and Bradford led a 77-yard touchdown in garbage time for an inconsequential score.
Of St. Louis’ 354 yards, 166 yards came in the final 11:50.
Rodgers' touchdown to Nelson put the Packers in front 7-3, and McCarthy dialed up an onside kick that was recovered by Jamari Lattimore. The Packers turned the extra possession into a field goal and a 10-3 lead.
"We have it up every week," McCarthy said. "It's a skill that Mason Crosby I think is exceptional at. Frankly, watching him kick it Friday in practice, he hit two that were as high as I've seen him kick it. I even said to Shawn, if the opportunity comes, I feel good about the way Mason's striking it. At that point in the game, I was trying to get the momentum to switch ... keep the momentum. We had just scored, obviously, but I felt like they came out and they were ready to play. They were ready to play and they got after us on the first series, so I thought it was a good time to try to steal a series from them and our guys did a great job executing it."
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.