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Turning Points: Green Bay Packers vs Rams

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In a ‘gotta have it’ game the Green Bay Packers took control early and held on through regulation against the Rams. Here are the most impactful moments from Sunday’s matchup.

In reality, it was a dominant performance from the Green Bay Packers. They won the time of possession and turnover battle by quite a bit and we’re able to create big plays on both sides of the ball – though they allowed a few as well.

Here are the turning points from Sunday’s game

Turning Point #1

We’re nearing the end of the first quarter with the Rams in possession of the ball at their own 21-yardline. Both teams have had a drive apiece but came away empty-handed. It’s time for someone to manifest destiny and establish momentum for their squad.

It’s time for Rashan Gary.

Gary aligns himself on the right side of the defense in a 2-point, wide-9. The Green Bay Packers rush just 4 and sink the rest of the defense into zone. It’s an empty backfield for the Rams and a one-on-one situation for Rashan Gary and LT Andrew Whitworth.

Gary explodes out of his stance, approaches Whitworth’s outside shoulder, rips through the outside arm, and bursts through the front door before Whitworth has an opportunity to reset his hands. It takes less than 2 seconds for Gary to win – quick enough to get to Matthew Stafford before he releases the ball.

But Stafford seems to feel the pressure and is in the beginning stages of his release as Gary makes contact. Gary, in the process of wrapping his arms around Stafford makes contact with the throwing arm and forces a strip-sack.

Honestly, Gary got lucky to force a fumble on this one. He wasn’t attempting to strip the ball but Stafford just happened to drop the ball from his shoulder and release his off-hand as Gary was arriving. Still, Stafford played sloppy all day, and the Packers’ defense knows how to take advantage. It was time for Rashan to get his.

The ball bounced straight into the arms of Preston Smith and he plunged forward a few yards, giving the Packers their best starting field position of the season – I’m assuming.

Gary’s strip-sack set the offense up at the Rams’ 6 and they punched it in three plays later, giving the Green Bay Packers a 7-0 first-quarter lead. This was exactly the type of early momentum shift that the Packers needed.

 

Turning Point #2

Three drives later and the Rams have the ball again. It’s early in the 2nd quarter and LA has totaled just 21 yards of offense in their three previous possessions. Meanwhile, the Packers have scored on their last two drives and hold a 10-0 lead.

It’s 3rd & 8 from the Rams’ 21. If the offense doesn’t make a play now, the Packers are running away with this game.

The Rams come out in a ‘Trio’ to the field, the left side of the formation, with Cooper Kupp and Van Jefferson both in the slot. The first read is Kupp on a deep-out, with Jefferson clearing the safety.

Savage is the safety we’re highlighting here. He sees an opportunity on Kupp’s out route but abandons his deep half responsibility, leaving Chandon Sullivan on an island against Van Jefferson.

Sullivan immediately opens in outside leverage giving Jefferson a free release and a full step early in the route. Sullivan is now in trail coverage, assuming that he has help over the top. He doesn’t.

Sullivan has zero body position and fails to make a play either on the man or the ball. It’s a 79-yard completion from Stafford to Jefferson – exactly what the Rams needed to climb back into this game.

 

Turning Point #3

Fast forward to two minutes left in the third quarter.  The Rams have only run three offensive plays, following a fumble on a punt return and a three-and-out on their two previous opportunities.

It’s 3rd & 7 on their own side of the field with the Green Bay Packers up 30-17. Again, the Rams are in need of a big play to shift momentum in their favor. This time, we saw a very different result.

The Rams motion Kupp to a bunch formation, attempting to free him between the zones in a ‘follow’ concept. Stafford goes through the motions with his eyes but it’s obvious from the start that he wants to deliver to Kupp.

Rasul Douglas reads the play perfectly and jumps the route. He then scampers 35 yards for a Green Bay touchdown. My only critique of Douglas is his untimely stumble just before his Lambeau Leap.

That brings the Packers’ lead to 36-17 with roughly one quarter left in the game. This play – along with any sort of fourth-quarter offensive production – effectively ends the game. It didn’t exactly play out that way as the Packers allowed the Rams to claw back in but this pick-6 wound up being the difference.

The streak continues for Matt LaFleur, as he’s now 9-0 following a regular-season loss. The Green Bay Packers are rolling. They’re a legitimate Super Bowl contender. They’ve earned their rest week. We’ll see you Week 14.

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[…] throwing arm. It’s a strip-sack recovered by Rashan Gary. It’s the opposite result of a huge play by the Packers’ defense from two weeks […]

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