Around the NFL  

 

Packers overcome Gurley, three Rodgers turnovers

Print

The Green Bay Packers overcame three Aaron Rodgers turnovers -- including his first Lambeau Field interception in 1,043 days -- to send the St. Louis Rams to a 24-10 defeat in Week 5. Here's what you need to know:

1. Just as they did last week to Carson Palmer, the Rams made life difficult for Rodgers, forcing him to hold the ball and scramble with receivers struggling to separate. The two interceptions come with caveats, however. The first was deflected at the line of scrimmage and required a diving effort by linebacker James Laurinaitis, ending Rodgers' home streak of 49 touchdowns without a pick. The second came three possessions later when Trumaine Johnson jumped James Jones' route and dove for the ball, pinning it to the ground. The play was automatically reviewed and determined to be an interception even with the ground's assistance in the catch - a truly bizarre ruling considering that play is almost universally overturned on replay. Rodgers also lost a fumble late in the third quarter, marking his first three-turnover performance since 2009. He played better than the numbers suggest.

2. Clay Matthews told the CBS broadcast team this year's defense boasts the best personnel since the five-time Pro Bowler entered the league in 2009. The Packers knocked Nick Foles around, hitting him 11 times, forcing four interceptions and completely shutting down the passing game. Moving all over the defense, Matthews hit Foles four times himself and has been flying around like Troy Polamalu this season. Coach Mike McCarthy now boasts a top-10 defense to go with his dynamic offense.

3. Todd Gurley is an awesome sight to behold in the open field. What he's shown the past two weeks strongly suggests he's an old-school, franchise-altering workhorse capable of moving the chains between the tackles and flashing the game-chancing speed and power to take it to the house. Like Adrian Peterson, he just looks different with the ball in his hands. The Rams will go as far as the ground attack takes them because the entire offense hinges on Gurley's tackle breaking and Tavon Austin's gimmick plays.

4. Both teams lost key starters to injuries. Rams guard Rodger Saffold (shoulder) and defensive end Chris Long (knee) were quickly ruled out after suffering first-half injuries. Packers guard T.J. Lang (knee) and emerging pass rusher Nick Perry (shoulder) also failed to return after going down in the first half.

5. Johnny Hekker is the most lethal fake punter of his generation. The former All-State high school quarterback was pushed out of the pocket, calmly went through his progressions and threw on the run for an improvised 20-yard fourth-down conversion in the third quarter. For his career, Hekker is now 6-of-8 for 99 yards and a touchdown, good for a 155.7 passer rating. Take a bow, quarter-season All Pro punter.

Print