Friday, 18 Jan 2019

The Packers played well, but the Rams are just too good (and lucky)

Everything was planned for another dramatic ending involving Aaron Rodgers. The Packers of Green Bay had found the ball with about two minutes to go Sunday in L.A., lagging two points. Rodgers would have a chance to invoke yet another dose of quarterback magic, this time with the chance to give the Rams their first defeat of the season. If Rodgers succeeds, the NFL would be without an unbeaten team.

Then Ty Montgomery arrived.

Montgomery, who kicked a few meters deep into the end zone after a Rams defense goal, should have remained on the spot. A touchdown would have given the Packers the ball on a 25-yard line with 1:56 to play. The game would have been in the hands of Rodgers.

Instead, Rodgers did not leave the Packers sideline before the allotted time expired. Montgomery chose to return the kickoff. He barely reached the 20-meter line, then lost a fumble. The Rams took possession of the ball, made a wise and altruistic choice with chaplain Todd Gurley and improved their record to 8-0 by beating the Packers, 29-27.

"It was a tough win," Gurley told Fox after the match. "We put ourselves in a lot of difficult situations. That's why I love this team. We discovered how to win. "

Ty Montgomery's shots in the second leg prevented Aaron Rodgers from having a late chance to beat the Rams (AP Photo / Marcio Jose Sanchez)

The Packers have come back from a past week to play what looked like Lambeau Field West, with an incredibly large and vocal contingent of their fans in Los Angeles. Rodgers did not lose the brace of his injured left knee in the first post-match game, as he had hoped. He played in a knee splint.

It was Green Bay's defense, not Rodgers' knee, that healed during the farewell, as the Packers kept LA's powerful attack blocked in the first half. The Packers had three sacks in the first half of quarterback Jared Goff of the Rams. Young cornerbacks Kevin King and Jaire Alexander covered well. Green Bay took a 10-0 lead before the Rams, comforted by safety, were questioned. Green Bay had a lead of 10-8 at the half and extended it to 13-8 in the third quarter.

The Rams' offense was finally strengthened in the third quarter with two touchdown passes by Goff – one of them to Gurley, who scored a touchdown in an eleventh consecutive game. The Rams grabbed a 10-point advantage. But the Packers did not fade. They took the lead, 27-26, on a 40-yard touchdown pass from Rodgers to wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling, just under nine minutes.

A fantastic finish seemed in perspective. The Rams had to hit after a third bag folded by pioneer Clay Matthews. Green Bay had the chance to take over late, but Rams defensive player Aaron Donald offered his second bag of the match, and Green Bay responded.

Sean McVay, the Rams' superb coach, made a dubious decision by playing in goal. The Rams reached Green Bay's 13-meter line but were repelled by a custody penalty imposed by guard Rodger Saffold. McVay chose to play football in the second, twentieth and twentieth and third and sixteenth games before striker kicker Greg Zuerlein scored 34 yards.

The Rams would surely regret it, right? To trust your defense is one thing. But it was Aaron Rodgers on the other side of the field.

For the 2018 Ram, however, it seems that even questionable decisions are turning to gold.

Montgomery lost his fumble. The Rams ended up facing a third and tenth inning, requiring a first try to play the clock. Gurley just provided that, penetrating the void during his third postponement. He could have navigated in the end zone. Instead, he held firm, with the first try and assured victory, and fell within the limits on the 4-yard line. Kneeling by Goff later, the Rams celebrated victory # 8.

L.A. is halfway to a perfect regular season. The Packers return to a .500 3-3-1 squad and have another tough game on the road next weekend in New England.

It's good to be as good as the Rams.

It's even better to be as good as they are – and as lucky as they were Sunday.

More coverage of the NFL:

We can neglect Cam Newton, but he remains one of the best players in the NFL.

For JuJu Smith-Schuster, video games are a hobby – and maybe a post-NFL career

In an unprecedented move mid-season, the NFL fires an official who missed the false start


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