Sharp Quarterback Play Sparks Win vs. Rams

Aaron Rodgers is sharp in his preseason debut, Scott Tolzien played well for the second consecutive game and Matt Flynn threw a touchdown pass as Green Bay beat St. Louis 21-7.

Aaron Rodgers doesn't need much of a preseason to get into a midseason groove.

Rodgers, who was held out of the Green Bay Packers' preseason opener last week at rainy Tennessee, lit up a quality St. Louis Rams defense on Saturday afternoon to key a 21-7 victory.

Playing only two series, Rodgers completed 11-of-13 passes for 128 yards, with his receivers doing most of the work on a barrage of quick-hitting passes. His first series ended with a 3-yard touchdown pass to Randall Cobb. His second series resulted in a field goal after a touchdown pass to Jordy Nelson was nullified by a penalty.

Green Bay's No. 1 defense played two series with mixed results. The Packers allowed two first downs on the opening possession before forcing a punt. On the second possession, a 41-yard catch-and-run by Brian Quick against Sam Shields and HaHa Clinton-Dix and a pass interference penalty against Shields set up Sam Bradford’s touchdown pass to Lance Kendricks against tight coverage from Micah Hyde.

The Packers took plenty of good vibes home from St. Louis. Scott Tolzien, who was given the second-unit reps after an excellent performance last week, survived shoddy pass protection early from tackles Derek Sherrod and Aaron Adams to complete 10-of-15 passes for 107 yards. However, the Packers failed to score on Tolzien's five possessions.

Matt Flynn guided the Packers to 10 points on three posessions, even though he completed only 2-of-3 passes. Rookie Jeff Janis, who missed the first week-and-a-half of training camp with shingles, showed his blazing speed when he turned a short crossing route into a 34-yard touchdown. Undrafted rookie running back LaDarius Perkins had a catch of 15 yards and a run of 14 yards to set up Mason Crosby's 49-yard field goal, which capped the scoring.

The defensive depth showed up after the first unit got the afternoon off. St. Louis managed only 218 yards, with 118 yards on the first three possessions but little else on its final nine possessions. Rookie outside linebacker Jayrone Elliott was the star of the late-game show with three sacks in a span of four plays. The last of his sacks resulted in a fumble, which the Rams recovered.

The Packers outgained the Rams 386-216. However, Green Bay went just 1-of-4 in the red zone and, in a related issue, was penalized 12 times for 95 yards. The Packers had two touchdowns taken off the board. The first was Rodgers' pass to Nelson, which was waved off by a hands-to-the-face infraction on left tackle David Bahktiari. Tolzien threw a beautiful touchdown pass to Myles White, which was negated by a hands-to-the-face penalty on rookie center Corey Linsley.


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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 packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.