GREEN BAY, Wis. —
The Green Bay Packers defeated the Rams 24-12 on Monday night at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis., officially eliminating the defending Super Bowl champions from the playoffs.
What we learned from a loss that dropped the Rams’ record to 4-10:
Baker Mayfield is mortal
C’mon, now. Even with 10 days of preparation instead of two, it really would have been too much to ask for Mayfield to engineer a dramatic comeback victory two games in a row.
But he was positioned to make it happen when the Rams got the ball early in the fourth quarter trailing 24-12.
Mayfield, however, was hit while attempting a pass, and Packers cornerback Rasul Douglas intercepted. The Rams got the ball back with just under 11 minutes left but failed to capitalize on a pass-interference penalty that netted 40 yards.
Mayfield did make some good throws on third-and-long situations. He was sacked five times, but on several he stepped up in the pocket to deliver a pass and then failed to do so.
Sean McVay has problems defeating friends
San Francisco 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan isn’t the only McVay buddy no doubt driving the hypercompetitive Rams coach nuts.
McVay dropped to 0-3 against Packers coach Matt LaFleur, who worked as an assistant alongside McVay in Washington and then served as McVay’s first offensive coordinator with the Rams in 2017.
The Rams lost to the Packers in the NFC divisional-round playoffs of the 2020 season, and also in a November game last season.
Running back Cam Akers looks better
Akers, exiled by McVay for more than two weeks earlier this season, rushed for 65 yards in 12 carries, and also caught three passes for 35 yards.
Is Akers back in McVay’s good graces or are the Rams trying to showcase Akers to spur the trade no team would bite on at the trade deadline?
McVay has spoken about wanting to evaluate rookie Kyren Williams but he got only two carries for seven yards and was not targeted for a pass.
Aaron Donald can play 12 games and make Pro Bowl
Donald did not travel to Green Bay because of a high-ankle sprain that has sidelined him for the last three games. Is there any reason for the star defensive lineman to return?
But Donald, a three-time NFL player of the year, was selected to the Pro Bowl for the ninth consecutive season, making him nine for nine since he was selected with the 13th pick in the 2014 NFL draft.
Donald has five sacks this season, 103 in his career.
Leonard Floyd making his presence felt
It’s taken awhile but Floyd is coming on and making a run at amassing more than 10 sacks for the second time in three seasons with the Rams.
Floyd had gone three games without a sack before he sacked Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers twice, increasing his season total to seven.
Floyd’s first-quarter sack forced the Packers to settle for a field goal. In the fourth quarter, his sack forced the Packers to punt, giving Mayfield a chance to lead a possible comeback.
Floyd had 10½ sacks in 2020 and 9½ in 2021.
Taylor Rapp on an interception hot streak
Rapp intercepted an overthrown pass by Rodgers late in the first quarter.
It was Rapp’s second interception in as many games. The fourth-year pro picked off a pass by Las Vegas Raiders quarterback David Carr to seal a 17-16 victory.
Rapp had a career-best four interceptions in 2021. He has eight in his career. A second-round draft pick in 2019, he is in the final year of his rookie contract.
Kicker Matt Gay is not infallible
Gay, a Pro Bowl selection last season, kicked 33- and 55-yard field goals in the second quarter. The second tied Gay for the third longest at Lambeau Field, according to ESPN.
It also was only the third field goal of more than 50 yards at Lambeau Field with temperatures under 25 degrees, according to the Rams.
Gay, however, missed an extra-point attempt in the third quarter, his first miss in 24 attempts this season.