LOS ANGELES – It was all set up for Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers to get one final chance.
And then it wasn’t.
Running back Ty Montgomery’s fumble on a kickoff return with two minutes left immediately after the Rams had retaken the lead cost Rodgers and the Packers a last shot to knock off the NFL’s lone remaining unbeaten team.
The only turnover of the game was one of a few crucial miscues down the stretch that sent the Packers to a heartbreaking 29-27 defeat on Sunday at an LA Memorial Coliseum where roughly half of the 75,822 in attendance appeared to be (and sounded like) Packers fans.
“That was a tough loss, a hard-fought loss,” Head Coach Mike McCarthy said after his team might have played its best game of the season, yet it still wasn’t enough as Green Bay fell to 3-3-1.
“The big plays, the back-and-forth, it’s a tough one to swallow. It really comes down to the critical plays there at the end of the game and we couldn’t overcome it. Tough one.”
The game had just about everything. A safety helping the Rams recover from an early 10-0 deficit, several sacks and pressures by Green Bay’s defense, Rams running back Todd Gurley finding open space at key moments, and explosive plays by Green Bay’s Davante Adams, Aaron Jones and Marquez Valdes-Scantling bringing the Packers back from a 10-point hole in the second half.
After Valdes-Scantling’s 40-yard touchdown grab put the Packers up, 27-26, in the fourth, the Packers’ defense got a huge stop. Clay Matthews recorded Green Bay’s fifth sack of the day to get the ball back to Rodgers with 6:49 left, but then the breakdowns began.
On third-and-6 from the Green Bay 25, reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald broke through for his second sack of the game. Then rookie JK Scott’s poor 25-yard punt gave the Rams the ball on the Green Bay 40.
Held in check most of the day, Gurley broke off a 23-yard run on third-and-6 to set up the go-ahead field goal, and it was looking like the Packers would get to throw the final punch.
“We knew this was going to be a heavyweight-type football game,” McCarthy said. “That’s the way we approached it, the way we talked about it all week.”
Then Montgomery’s fumble made it easy for the Rams, who got another big run from Gurley on third down to drain the clock, which was going to nearly expire anyway had the Packers stopped him.
“Very disappointing,” Rodgers said of the fumble on the kickoff. “That play didn’t lose the game, but it definitely took away an opportunity for us to go down and win it.”
The Green Bay Packers traveled to LA Memorial Coliseum to take on the Los Angeles Rams in a Week 8 NFC matchup.