Despite facing a star-studded Rams defense, the Packers had no issue putting up points on Sunday. Aaron Rodgers aired it out for 307 yards and two touchdowns, adding another score on the ground. Davante Adams eclipsed 1,000 receiving yards for the season, catching eight passes for 104 yards.
Finding ways to get past Ramsey, one of the best cornerbacks in the league, was a priority for Matt LaFleur and company. Fortunately for Packers fans, LaFleur and Rodgers did a great job of making the most of their opportunities against the star corner. According to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), Ramsey was targeted seven times, allowing a reception on every target for a combined 48 yards.
Those aren’t eye-opening numbers, but that was the most yards Ramsey had allowed since Week 7, and the most times he had been targeted since Week 5. This week’s film study will take a look at how the Packers were able to find success against Ramsey, as well as how they were able to neutralize him on certain plays.
Most notably, Rodgers was able to throw at Ramsey when the Rams put their star defensive back in one-on-one matchups against Adams. The 28-year-old wide receiver has become arguably the best player in the league at his position by creating separation off the line of scrimmage with his release.
On this first play, watch how Adams waits for Ramsey to commit off the snap to the “jam” by throwing his arms out. Once that happens, Adams extends his own arms and commits to his route, creating just enough separation to make a play.
Getting Davante Adams in 1-on-1 situations with Jalen Ramsey was a win for the Packers offense.— Tyler Brooke (@TylerDBrooke) November 30, 2021
Look at the release here, even with a hand to the face, to get separation and convert on third down. pic.twitter.com/gWyyAROnBi
With the inside linebacker slow to react, it gives Rodgers a window to make a completion. Ramsey is still playing good coverage, but Adams is able to create just enough separation to make the catch. This all happened despite Ramsey getting his hands into Davante’s face, making it even more impressive, especially on a crucial third-down conversion.
Green Bay’s quarterback and top receiver connected again later against Ramsey, this time in off-coverage. After putting Equanimeous St. Brown into motion, Rams safety Jordan Fuller begins to commit down to the line of scrimmage before covering A.J. Dillon in the flat.
Once Fuller leaves the throwing window, it’s an easy pitch-and-catch for Rodgers and Adams with Ramsey playing so far off in coverage.
Another opportunity for Adams on Ramsey.— Tyler Brooke (@TylerDBrooke) November 30, 2021
Rodgers waits for flat defender to get out of throwing lane, hits Adams for an easy play vs off coverage from Ramsey. pic.twitter.com/mvvPWTm19O
It wasn’t an explosive play, but another example of the Packers continuing to move the ball throughout Sunday’s contest, even when throwing at Ramsey.
Probably the most impressive play targeted at the Rams cornerback all day came on a beautifully drawn-up run-pass option (RPO) concept. Adams completely sets up Ramsey on this play. After initially feigning a swing route, Adams cuts quickly and runs a slant instead.
No idea how Ramsey or any NFL DB is supposed to defend this one.— Tyler Brooke (@TylerDBrooke) November 30, 2021
An RPO with a fake-swing into a slant with the best route runner in football.
Ramsey has no chance. pic.twitter.com/JrocittTVB
Defending RPOs is difficult enough for any defensive back, but it’s almost impossible to defend when the wide receiver is able to pull out double moves that quickly and set them up so well.
The Packers were able to throw at Ramsey often, but one of the biggest plays of the game came by getting out of a potential matchup with the All-Pro cornerback.
On the play below, tight end Josiah Deguara is motioned across the field and lines up near the left sideline. The motion forces Ramsey to kick out and cover Deguara instead of Davante, something that he doesn’t seem thrilled about given his body language as it happens.
With an easier matchup, Rodgers and Adams recognize an opportunity to go deep. Rodgers even admitted on Tuesday during his weekly appearance on The Pat McAfee Show that Adams partially ad-libbed the route he ran given the matchup he was given.
I'm not sure if this was by design, but Rodgers definitely noticed it.— Tyler Brooke (@TylerDBrooke) November 30, 2021
With Deguara going in motion to the outside, Ramsey is kicked out to cover 81 instead of Davante.
Packers run a "smash" concept, and Rodgers drops a dime to Adams who beats his man. pic.twitter.com/8izDFSCsgC
Ramsey even recognized the deep ball and reacted instantly. Unfortunately, because he was lined up on Deguara instead, he wasn’t able to close enough space before the huge completion.
It has nothing to do with attacking Ramsey, but I did want to take a moment to show Packers fans just how beautiful Rodgers’ footwork was on that throw. Watch him move up at the end of his dropback, and then reset his feet to deliver an accurate throw.
The way Rodgers resets his feet on this throw too is ABSOLUTELY SENSUAL. pic.twitter.com/VOuH6chHbq— Tyler Brooke (@TylerDBrooke) November 30, 2021
A key for the Packers being legitimate Super Bowl contenders is for them to be able to win matchups against star players. Given what they were able to do against a top-tier cornerback like Ramsey, Green Bay’s offense is really starting to find its groove just in time for a stretch run heading into the playoffs.