For the second time this season, Rasul Douglas came up with a massive play just when the Green Bay Packers needed it.
Against his old team, the Arizona Cardinals, it was a last-second interception to seal a victory. Three weeks later, Douglas turned in a pick-six and four total pass breakups against the Los Angeles Rams, helping provide the final margin of victory in the Packers’ 36-28 win at Lambeau Field.
Douglas was partially responsible for a big touchdown reception by the Rams’ Odell Beckham, Jr., later on in the game after dropping another easy interception, but his sure tackling and consistent tracking of the football throughout the game made him one of the Packers’ defensive standouts in the contest. Green Bay held the Rams to just seven first downs on their first ten offensive possessions, though the Rams picked up 17 points in that time thanks to one other long bomb and a special teams gaffe.
On offense, the Packers got big games from a trio of ball-handling players, with AJ Dillon, Davante Adams, and Randall Cobb each racking up at least 90 total yards from scrimmage. Cobb had four receptions for 95 yards and a touchdown — all in the first half after leaving the game with a groin injury — while Adams had eight grabs for 104 yards. Dillon carried the football 20 times for 69 yards and added five receptions for 21 yards and a receiving score, helping the Packers drain clock in the fourth quarter with his tough running.
Green Bay now looks ahead to a bye week, affording some of their injured players time to rest and recuperate. One of those players, Rashan Gary, was back this week after a one-week absence and made his presence known, with a sack-strip of Matthew Stafford in the first half to help lead the way on the front seven.
The Packers won a coin toss for the first time in two months, and their defense put up a stop on the Rams’ opening series. The Packers’ offense took over at their own six-yard line after the Rams’ punt and would rip off a 15-play drive, converting a pair of third downs and a fourth-down opportunity. However, the offense stalled out just across midfield. After Mason Crosby initially took the field for what would have been a 56-yard field goal attempt, Matt LaFleur called a timeout and sent Corey Bojorquez out to punt. Bojo’s punt only netted 23 yards of field position, however, setting the Rams up at their 15-yard line.
Rashan Gary’s return to the lineup paid off two plays into the Rams’ second drive. Gary’s bullrush on left tackle Andrew Whitworth drew a holding penalty, but he hit Matthew Stafford and stripped the football. Preston Smith picked up the ball and returned it to the six-yard line and three plays later, Aaron Rodgers ran it in. On third and goal following a five-yard pass to Davante Adams and a run for no gain by AJ Dillon, Rodgers kept the ball off a play-fake to Dillon. Rodgers ended up matched one-on-one with Jalen Ramsey, but a pump-fake (with no receivers anywhere in the area) got Ramsey just enough to give Rodgers room to outrun him to the pylon for a touchdown and a 7-0 Packers lead.
The Rams then gave the Packers incredible field position once again on the ensuing drive, with a desperate Sean McVay keeping his offense on the field on 4th-and-1 from the Los Angeles 29-yard line. Adrian Amos knifed through the line to stop Darrell Henderson short of the line to gain, and Green Bay took over inside field goal range. However, the Packers went three-and-out, but Mason Crosby whistled a 45-yard field goal through the uprights to extend the lead to 10-0.
That two-score lead was short-lived, however. Stafford would hook up with Van Jefferson for a 79-yard touchdown to gut the lead back to three points, as Jefferson burned Chandon Sullivan. With Cooper Kupp double-covered, it was one-on-one coverage on Jefferson and he made the catch around the Packers’ 40-yard line before scampering into the end zone.
Aaron Rodgers and Randall Cobb would connect for a huge play to respond, as the two veterans hit on a gain of 54 yards. Rodgers threw a perfect ball to Cobb just over the fingertips of a linebacker in zone coverage, hitting his receiver in stride and allowing Cobb to pick up a massive amount of yardage after the catch. Once again, the Packers stalled out, however, as Cobb appeared to draw significant contact from a Rams defender near the end zone on third down that went uncalled. Crosby hit once again, this time from 28 yards.
The Packers’ special teams gave away a crushing turnover after yet another big stop from the defense, as Randall Cobb — instead of Amari Rodgers — was responsible for a mistake on a punt return. Cobb bobbled and muffed the football at the Packers’ 25, and Rams cornerback Robert Rochell recovered for the Rams.
The Rams nearly took the lead on the very next play with some trickery, as Cooper Kupp took a lateral and lofted a pass to Van Jefferson in the corner of the end zone. Jefferson hauled in the pass over Eric Stokes, but his second foot clearly hit out of bounds and the play was changed from a touchdown to an incomplete pass after a review. Rasul Douglas and Adrian Amos would break up a pass to Odell Beckham, Jr. on third down, forcing a field goal from the Rams to cut Green Bay’s lead to three once again at 13-10.
Cobb would make up for his previous mistake on the Packers’ next drive, picking up 27 yards on a swing pass to the sideline on first down. Rodgers would hit Davante Adams up the left sideline for another big gain, this one for 43 yards, before Rodgers connected with Cobb for a seven-yard touchdown to return the lead to double-digits. The drive ate up 89 yards in just six plays, giving the Packers points on four straight series.
Los Angeles would drive down for points before the end of the first half, moving into field goal range with a 22-yard pass from Stafford to Kupp. The two connected again for 19 yards to move inside the ten, before Stafford hit Henderson for a six-yard touchdown pass with 90 seconds left on the second quarter clock. The Packers got two lives on their next drive, as an offsides call on the Rams on a punt gave Green Bay a first down and another chance at points with less than a minute left. But the Packers were unable to move the chains again and went into the half up 20-17.
Through two quarters, Cobb led the Packers in receiving with 95 yards and a touchdown on four catches, while Adams had 80 yards on five receptions. Rodgers racked up a total of 199 yards through the air, mainly to those two players, on 15-of-24 passing. Cobb would be ruled out of the game coming out of the half, however, having reportedly suffered a groin injury late in the second quarter.
Coming out of the half, Rodgers found Marquez Valdes-Scantling early on a corner route for a big gain out to midfield. LaFleur then put the ball in AJ Dillon’s hands on several consecutive plays, with four straight carries and then a catch on a swing pass giving the Packers another 22 yards and two more first downs. Rodgers would then convert a 4th and 2 to Josiah Deguara after missing on another deep shot to MVS on third down. Two plays later, Rodgers hit Dillon on an angle route out of the backfield for a five-yard touchdown to stretch the lead back out to ten points once again at 27-17.
After three and outs by both teams, the Packers finally got a massive play in their favor on special teams. Instead of Cooper Kupp, the Rams put J.J. Koski back to return Corey Bojorquez’s punt. After returning it for a few yards, he took hits from Henry Black and Shemar Jean-Charles, fumbling the ball into the awaiting hands of linebacker Krys Barnes. That gave the Packers the ball inside the Rams’ 30 for the third time in the game, but they could not find the end zone, settling for another short Crosby field goal and a 30-17 lead.
The lead would jump to three possessions in sudden, shocking fashion.
Under pressure from Preston Smith, Stafford threw to Cooper Kupp on the left side of the field. Rasul Douglas jumped the route and picked off Stafford’s pass, returning it 33 yards for a touchdown — the first from the Packers’ defense all season. The Packers failed on a two-point conversion attempt that would have made the game a 21-point margin, instead settling for a 36-17 lead. At that point, the Rams had picked up just seven first downs on ten possessions in the game, a sign of Stafford’s inaccuracy and the Packers defense’s largely suffocating nature outside of the one big touchdown to Jefferson in the first half.
Douglas and the Packers would give a score back on the next series via another big play, however. He dropped a wide-open interception that could have been another pick-six, and it came back to bite him. A coverage bust by him and Adrian Amos led to a 54-yard touchdown to Odell Beckham, Jr. Stafford would hit Kupp for a two-point conversion to cut the lead back to 36-25.
Penalties would hurt the Packers on their ensuing series, as a holding call and a missed hands to the face on Aaron Donald led to Bojorquez coming on for another punt. He hit a perfect ball that Equanimeous St. Brown downed at the one-yard line, The Packers defense would get a stop after giving up one first down, but the offense could only take another three minutes off the clock before punting away as well. Another Rams punt came after a quick three and out, capped off by a Kenny Clark sack, and Johnny Hekker’s 31-yard shank gave Green Bay back the football near midfield.
LaFleur set Dillon back to work, and he ate up some yardage, clock, and the rest of the Rams’ timeouts before a third-down pass to Adams fell incomplete. Crosby would miss his ninth field goal of the year, hitting the left upright from 42 yards away and giving the Rams back the football with 3:05 to go.
Eric Stokes would drop a would-be game-sealing interception just after the two minute warning, but a Kenny Clark tackle for loss on a run on third and one sent the Rams’ field goal unit onto the field to make it an eight-point game. That set up an all-important onside kick with just 18 seconds left in a 36-28 contest. After a Packers timeout, Amos would recover the attempt, though Darnell Savage took a brutal hit to the chest on a block on the attempt.
Green Bay improves to 9-3 on the season, pulling into within a half-game of the idle Arizona Cardinals for the #1 seed in the NFC as they head into their week 13 bye. Los Angeles dropped to 7-4, two games back of the Cardinals in the race for the NFC West division. Those two teams will play their second matchup of the season in two weeks’ time after the Rams host the Jacksonville Jaguars next week.