The Packers finally rebounded on Sunday, defeating a beaten down Los Angeles Rams team 20-3 for their first win in a month. The victory marked Matt LaFleur’s 4th win in as many tries against Sean McVay. The return of Aaron Jones represented a rising tide for the offense, which failed to impress early but showed signs of competency; a significant improvement over the majority of their first half outings.
While points were still scarce in the first quarter, the Packers *did* gain a first down in the opening frame. The building blocks to success! The defense pitched another near perfect game this go around, albeit against a severely limited Brett Rypien-led offense. That unit continues to shine as they keep the Packers in many a close game. Let’s dive into this week’s top plays and recap all the action.
In one of the few examples of strength vs strength for the Packers this season, the Rams’ elite opening drive offense faced off against the Packers’ league leading opening drive defense, which has still only allowed 3 points this year. The Packers showed improvement on their first drive, securing their first first down with a throw to Dontayvion Wicks. However, Jon Runyan (called incorrectly on Yosh Nijman) was victim of a questionable call for the team’s 20th first quarter penalty of the season, erasing a first down and leading to a punt.
Jonathan Owens makes a splash
Rashan Gary, fresh off his brand new extension, looked like a man on a mission early despite penalties wiping out some big plays. With Gary lurking on every dropback, Brett Rypien experienced trouble holding on to the ball and on his second bobbled snap, he turned a bad play worse, leading to De’Vondre Campbell recovering the Jonathan Owens strip sack and giving the Packers possession at the Rams’ 35. The offense finally made a big play count in the first half, punching in Aaron Jones’ first TD since week 1. Touchdowns CAN be scored in the first half. It’s really true.
After releasing kicker Brett Maher two weeks ago, the Rams’ new kicker, Sean Havrisik, nailed his first 50+ yard attempt with less than two minutes in the half. In response, the Packers looked slightly more comfortable heading into the half, and despite a Jordan Love sack near midfield and more penalty troubles, the Packers found themselves in field goal position off the backs of Romeo Doubs and Jayden Reed. Anders Carlson missed the attempt, however, and the Packers went into the half up 7-3.
Just when you think things can’t get weirder on offense, the 2023 Packers pull a new rabbit out of their hat. The new trick was losing their first fumble of the year as Dontayvion Wicks attempted to stretch for a first down, handing the Rams excellent field position. But as they did so often on Sunday, LA punted.
The Packers continued to lean on the ground game on their second drive, but their efforts were cut short by, yes you guessed it, another fumble near midfield, this time by Aaron Jones. After Havrisik missed the first kick of his career, the Packers gave a crumb to the millions of us starving for chunk plays. Jordan Love hit Wicks and Luke Musgrave for 15+ yard receptions to move the Packers into the Rams’ red zone, where Aaron Donald wreaked havoc, causing the Packers to settle for a field goal and go up 10-3.
Anthony Johnson Jr. nails the tip drill
After an engaging battle of punts, the Packers got the turnover they needed to effectively seal the game. With about 13 minutes left in the game, Rypien uncorked a questionable ball to Puca Nacua that Jaire Alexander tipped just enough of, leading to Anthony Johnson’s first career interception. For Alexander, the play felt like a return to form after a brutal few weeks, and a sign that the standout corner may be rounding the corner in his recovery process.
After AJ Dillon was shut down on 3rd and short, Matt LaFleur opted to kick on 4th down to make it a 2 score game, betting on Rypien’s inability to tie things up.
Love and Watson connect
The defense forced a quick three and out and Love went to work on the most exciting drive we’ve seen from this squad in a few weeks. After weeks of more failed shots than a drunk kid firing off DMs to celebrities, Jordan Love and Christian Watson finally connected on a deep ball. Although it was under-thrown, it’s really the thought that counts! Watson got up for the ball and converted on third down, accruing a laundry list of injuries in the process, but setting the offense up nonetheless.
Luke Musgrave Breaks Free
Shortly afterwards, Matt LaFleur decided to flex a bit and shows he’s still got it. Weeks of intensely frustrating screens somehow lead to this! With Elgton Jenkins and Jon Runyan selling screens to Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon respectively, the entire LA defense was in a blender. Luke Musgrave slipped off his block and went unnoticed up the middle once Rams linebacker Troy Reeder bit on Dillon’s screen fake. Love hit the easy throw and Musgrave walked in for his first NFL touchdown. 20 points scored! A miracle! The Rams’ final drive faltered and the Packers came away with the 20-3 victory, and, more importantly, a nice crop of top plays to choose from.
Which play from the Packers’ week 9 win over the Rams was the best?
This poll is closed
Jonathan Owens’ strip sack
Anthony Johnson Jr.’s first interception
Love and Watson’s 4th quarter deep shot
Luke Musgrave’s first NFL TD
That’s it for this week’s top plays! Check back next week as we take a look at what is sure to be a rock-fight between the Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Be sure to check out all our pre-game coverage of that one in the coming days.