The Green Bay Packers thoroughly dominated both sides of the ball on Sunday versus the Los Angeles Rams and won by a final score of 36-28. The Rams, coming off a bye week and two consecutive losses to the Titans and 49ers, had no answers for the Packers offense as Aaron Rodgers hit several well-timed and well-placed throws to beat tight coverage and hit his receivers in stride for several big plays. The Packers seem well on their way toward their third NFC North division title.
Rodgers finished 28-of-45, 307 yards, and two passing touchdowns. He also added another rushing touchdown in the open field in the low red zone and all he had to do was beat Jalen Ramsey on foot to get it. Davante Adams caught eight passes for 104 yards, Randall Cobb caught four passes for 95 yards and one touchdown and A.J. Dillon also added a receiving touchdown. Dillon and Aaron Jones combined for 92 yards rushing.
The biggest difference in this were the 10 points the Packers added off of two key third down conversions in this game. As a whole, they were 7-for-19 converting on third down (38.6%). They added another touchdown on a third down on Rodger’s touchdown run inside the five yard line as well but the bigger plays came on the two throws that Rodgers converted on scoring drives later in the game.
Big plays on offense
First play, 2Q 12:00, 3rd-and-3 @ GB-32
On this play, Rodgers finds Randall Cobb for 43 yards on 3rd-and-3 to set up a field goal later in the drive. The Packers line up in a 2x2 formation to run “All Go” (four verticals) against the Rams’ single-high cover-1 shell. Cobb is in the slot to the left of the formation and each receiver is running a vertical. The receiver to the bottom of the screen ends up converting his go route into an out route, which is a common adjustment versus a corner that a receiver cannot run past.
Rams safety Taylor Rapp is shaded over to the offense’s left where Cobb is in the slot and Adams is on the outside. Rapp bails toward the middle of the field at the snap as Rodgers sort of leads him there with his eyes. He comes back to Cobb and throws on time away from the two defenders and over the linebacker underneath, hits Cobb in stride and Cobb races to a 43-yard gain.
Second play, 2Q 5:44, 3rd-and-2 @ GB-46
The Packers did a great job of finding ways to get the ball to Adams after isolating corner Jalen Ramsey away from Adams. Acme Packing Company’s Tyler Brooke goes into much greater detail in his film study earlier this week but the general idea was to scheme up ways to get Adams the ball without drawing Ramsey in coverage.
The play call here is a slot fade to Adams post snap. Pre-snap, the Ramsey is covering Adams out wide as Adams is the number one wide receiver in a 2x2. Rodgers motions tight end Josiah Deguara outside of Adams, causing the defense to bump over by one guy so that Ramsey is now covering the tight end and a slot corner is covering Adams.
Ramsey is now in the flat covering the hitch route as Adams breaks up field and over the top of Ramsey and his defender. Rodgers steps up in the pocket and drops the pass in over the defenders chasing Adams in a nicely designed and nicely executed play call on 3rd down.
Randall Cobb’s big day
Randall Cobb had two other big catches in this game, one on a 27 yard swing pass and one was a touchdown catch out of the backfield. The offense lined up in split gun 2-back with two receivers to the left and Adams singled up on the right side of the offense. The two receiver side is running double digs with Cobb out on a swing pass to the left after going in motion.
Rodgers takes the pass and looks for Adams to the right running a quick stop route. The pass isn’t there as a defender is getting ready to fly out to the flat while keying on Rodgers eyes. Rodgers whips around comes back to his check down, Cobb on the swing, to the left. Cobb tucks the pass and quickly gets up field for 27 yards.
Cobb’s touchdown came on the drive from the second play above where Rodgers found Adams on the slot fade. He lined up in the backfield as the H-back and ran a choice route to the inside where Rodgers put the pass on him between two defenders.
The play call is a “ZE Arrow H Choice X corner.” The play design is a split field concept with a trips route combination to the right with a flat route, arrow route, and a corner route designed to be read against the curl/flat defender. To the right, the the outside receiver is running a corner route to the back corner of the end zone and Cobb as the H is running out of the backfield on a choice route.
Rodgers throws the pass on time and accurately between two defenders in a tight window for the touchdown.
Quick game master
Rodgers might be the best quick passer of all time, or at least in the modern era.
On several throws he beat the coverage with quick, decisive, and on-time throws to Adams and Cobb. Both receivers ran quick slants and stick routes that were thrown against tight coverage and in particular Adams versus Ramsey.
Preston Smith and Rashan Gary continue to generate pressure at a high rate
Rashan Gary returned this week and his impact was felt immediately in the first quarter, when he strip sacked Matt Stafford, setting up the Packers first touchdown of the game. Gary executes a nice speed rip move and beats left tackle Andrew Whitworth around the edge. Whitworth hooks Gary above the neck and draws a holding penalty the second he takes Gary down.
There usually wouldn’t be a flag because the rules define a holding exception when a defender uses a rip technique but Whitworth pulled him down as Gary hits Stafford’s elbow to knock the ball loose.
Preston Smith, a regular feature the last several weeks in these film room articles, continued to generate more pressure this week, adding five total for the game. Clearly the strength of the defense, the Packers’ defensive line continues to stay dominate despite missing Za’Darius Smith, and there is no word on his return.
The Rams had two weeks to prepare for a Packers team that had lost two of their last three games with a chance to make up ground on them. Instead, the Packers offense came out prepared with a better game plan than the Rams were prepared for. By moving Ramsey off of Adams, the offense found some familiar ways to get their star open against lesser talented players, strategies that they were unable to execute for a chunk of the game against Minnesota the previous week.
They enter a much-needed bye week 9-3 and as the number two seed in the NFC. The Ravens will be their next real test after a Sunday Night Football game versus the Bears after the bye week. Time to rest up heading into the home stretch with five games remaining on the schedule.