Game recap: 5 takeaways from Packers' victory over Rams

Green Bay stays in the postseason chase

Packers receiver Allen Lazard and running back Aaron Jones

GREEN BAY – The Packers got their second straight win with a 24-12 triumph over the Rams on Monday night at Lambeau Field.

Here are five takeaways from the victory:

1. The Packers are still alive, and still believe.

The win improved Green Bay to 6-8, which is 1½ games off the pace for the final wild-card spot in the NFC with three games to play. The No. 7 seed is currently held by Washington at 7-6-1. Seattle and Detroit are both 7-7 and chasing a playoff berth as well.

The Packers know they have to win out and get to 9-8 to have any chance, but by posting consecutive wins for the first time since the first month of the regular season, they believe they can make a run.

"I do. Yeah, I do. I do," quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. "Now we're going to play three better football teams, but I do. Definitely."

Those three better teams are Miami on the road, then Minnesota and Detroit at home – all are in the playoff hunt, unlike the Rams. Winning out is a huge challenge.

"I don't even want to talk like that, to be honest with you," Head Coach Matt LaFleur said. "I think you've got to keep the focus on what's right in front of you … and that starts with Miami."

2. The start of the second half decided the game.

Leading 10-6 at intermission, the Packers got the ball coming out of halftime and drove 68 yards in 11 plays, consuming 6 minutes, 56 seconds on the clock, and scoring on AJ Dillon's second TD run of the game.

"I like how we came out in the second half," Rodgers said. "That first drive was really important, seven minutes, touchdown, back up by two scores. That was winning football, and we haven't really done that consistent enough throughout the season."

It was just the fourth time in 10 times when taking the second half kickoff that the Packers had put up points, and just the second touchdown.

The defense then responded with a three-and-out, thanks in part to a Rams holding penalty, and the offense took over at the LA 35-yard line following a 17-yard punt return by Keisean Nixon and a facemask penalty for an extra 15 yards.

Six plays later, a short TD pass to Aaron Jones put the Packers up 24-6 and in control.

3. The running backs were once again the workhorses.

Jones and Dillon combined for 126 rushing yards and 71 receiving yards for 197 total of Green Bay's 345 offensive yards in the game. They also scored all three touchdowns.

The Rams came in with a top-five rushing defense, which had held up well even without All-Pro Aaron Donald in the middle, but Jones averaged 5.3 yards per carry (17 for 90) and Dillon added 36 yards on 11 tries before exiting for a concussion evaluation.

LaFleur said the "run efficiency" could've been better but the "splash plays" kept the chains moving. The Rams kept their safeties back to prevent the big play most of the game, and Green Bay's longest pass reception was a 25-yard screen to Jones. But the Packers killed the final 8:51 off the clock with a 15-play drive that was stopped one yard shy of the end zone.

Green Bay wound up with a time of possession advantage in the second half of 21:56 to 8:04.

"They basically played a lot of two-shell," said Rodgers, who finished 22-of-30 for 229 yards, one TD and one interception for a 92.2 passer rating. "If we've got to (throw with the) quick game and run the football to win, we'll do that."

See scenes from the Monday night matchup between the Green Bay Packers and Los Angeles Rams at Lambeau Field on Dec. 19, 2022.

4. The defense had a few hiccups but put together a winning performance.

Three of the Rams' four conversions on third down required 8 or more yards, but they didn't find the end zone until the final minute of the third quarter and finished with just 156 total yards.

The Packers also sacked QB Baker Mayfield five times, with Preston Smith getting two of them, and intercepted him once. Rasul Douglas got the pick, his third off Mayfield in the last two seasons dating back to last Christmas against the Browns.

Mayfield finished 12-of-21 for 111 yards with one TD, one INT and a 67.8 rating.

"That's what we need moving forward," LaFleur said of steady pressure on the passer that can create negative plays and force mistakes. "Certainly going down to Miami I think Tua's been playing great. They've got a very, very, very explosive offense, a very creative offense, and it's going to be critical for us to get pressure on the quarterback in order to give us an opportunity to win the game."

5. Nixon continues to spark the return game.

The Packers' returning dynamo had a 52-yard kickoff return – his fourth straight game with a return of 30-plus, a franchise first since 2010 (Sam Shields) – plus punt returns of 19 and 17 yards as the Packers played with favorable field position all night.

He also had a 49-yard kickoff return called back due to a holding penalty, and the Rams began the second half by executing a pooch kickoff that came down at the 25-yard line to keep the ball out of Nixon's hands.

"In all my 18 years, I've never once until tonight seen an opposing team's kicker kick away from one of our returners on purpose," Rodgers said. "That's fun. That's pretty incredible.

"He's been a big difference maker for us. You hate to do the what-ifs and look-backs …"

LaFleur was doing just that.

"He's another guy that plays with the right mentality. He's going to go for it each and every time. He's fearless," he said.

"It's unfortunate. We're probably going to get criticized for not playing him early, and that's fair. We should have had him in there earlier and we didn't. I don't think we knew what we had. He's proven what he brings to the table."


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