Game Review: at Rams – 2018 Week 8

Here’s my big takeaway from this game: McCarthy is a great leader.

Yesterday, he p!ssed in the oddsmakers cheerios and did more good than fans will give him credit for.

The Odds
The Packers went on the road against the best team in the league. They were 9.5 point underdogs, and a large contingent of fans thought they’d lose by at least 20. Their QB still isn’t 100% and they took it to them right off the bat in a dog fight, kept their composure when things got tough, and came back in the 4th quarter to re-take the lead late.

You may not like his play-calling, but McCarthy is a guy who gets his team ready to play.

The Rams punted on their first three possessions for the first time in Sean McVay’s career. The 10-0 deficit was the largest of the season for the Rams. Anyone who thinks McCarthy isn’t a motivator doesn’t understand what goes into this game. You can’t blame him for all the bad things (including TyMo going rogue) and not give him any credit for the really good things he did in the face of adversity.

Aaron Rodgers
Since he still had the brace on, I’m hoping that’s why he wasn’t as dead-on as I hoped he would be after the bye. He’s good for sure, but not as good as I’m used to. It may be age, but I’m hoping it’s still the injury. Take Davante Adams’s second big catch. He went up in the air and just kind of floated up there until the ball came. It was impressive, but I want to see Rodgers lay that out in stride like back int he day. I have no doubt he would have led them on a field goal drive to win the game if TyMo wouldn’t have made that awful decision, but still, I’m hoping the knee continues to get better and he does as well.

Aaron Jones and the Run Game
He’s a beast. He averaged over 7 yards a carry. He did get the ball twice as much as the other backs combined, but fans still want more. Personally, I think it was just right. Look, giving Jones the ball more wasn’t going to flip this to a win. Look at the first drive: they established the ground game to great success and what happened? Punt. Then they came back and passed four straight times to match down the field for a quick TD run from the 1 foot line. The FG drive that followed was jump-started by a single pass that made up more than half the yards on the drive. Their next scoring drive was 7 pass plays to 1 run. The 33 yard Aaron Jones run was set up by a 41 yard pass. The final TD drive was all passes. Every scoring drive was pass heavy.

Aaron Jones got enough carries to be a factor without getting so many that he got wore down. This was the perfect balance.

But I already told you we don’t need to run more.

Ty Montgomery
Originally, I defended him. Not because he did the right thing, but because I didn’t have the whole story. Everyone seemed like they wanted to cut him on the spot for making a poor choice. I’m not in that camp. This guy has been a solid contributor and has done everything the team has asked of him. I’m not ready to cut him over one bad decision.

But this morning, more news came out. From the sound of it, he threw a little tantrum when he got pulled out of the game on the previous series. I can understand that, competitors want to compete – he got upset, but he didn’t make a Dez-like spectacle of it. However, he was told explicitly to down the ball, to give 12 a couple minutes to get 35 yards or so and try a field goal (we all know what 12 can do in that situation). The sentiment from the players was that he was gonna do what he wanted as an emotional reaction to his displeasure with being pulled before.

That’s the point I draw the line. A lot should hinge on how he handles this, but I would understand if they cut him now. It doesn’t seem to be to Damarious Randall levels yet, but it monitors watching.

Key Notes

  • MVS has more snaps than Geronimo and Cobb
  • Whitehead (75) was in for more snaps than Brice (66)
  • Kentrell Brice played in dime over Josh Jackson, who saw only 6 snaps (coaches clearly aren’t as impressed with JJ as fans are)
  • JK Scott picked a fine time to have his worst game ever
  • It was really nice to see the refs let the guys play and only call 4 penalties – I don’t think we missed out; these guys should be the Super Bowl crew
  • Kyler Fackrell with another sack
  • Kenny Clark and Jaire Alexander are two guys to build a serious defense around

Question of the Week
With everyone back healthy, we asked who will lead the Packers in receiving yards against the Rams. In the end, it was Davante Adams, who came up with 133 yards on 5 catches. In our Twitter thread, our winner was @dallgb, who predicted Davante Adams would lead the team with 135 yards – only a two yard margin of error; well done!

Self-grading
A look at how we did on our predictions from the pregame column:

MVS only gets a couple catches, but averages over 15 yards He had exactly two catches and his average of 22.5 yards was definitely over the mark I predicted – nailed it
The Packers bust out a jet sweep for the first time all year I didn’t nail this one
Rodgers will gravitate to his familiar WRs, leaving MVS and EQ largely on the bench Well, EQ only saw six snaps, but MVS was in for 32 snaps, which was more than any receiver not named Davante (he’s earning a bigger role)

Clay Matthews gets some pressure running the edge off a fast track Oh yeah, he looked like a Renaissance Man yesterday!
Jaire Alexander makes a rookie mistake Seriously, how dare I – Dude was on lockdown and looks like a star, not a star in the making, just a star
Todd Gurley will bang hard – he won’t be breaking huge runs all day, but he will be physical through the box Yeah, this went pretty much according to plan – sadly it went all the way down to their last heart-breaking drive

Mason Crosby doesn’t let the Rams return a single kickoff (or at least not from less than 5 yards deep) Well, the Rams brought it out a couple times and Crosby kept it in play once late after the Packers took the lead – that surprised me a little

Packers 31 – Rams 39 I thought it would be a close game that they’d lose; I didn’t expect it to be this good – guess I just got lucky

 

The Packers are one-half game out of first place with 9 left to play and they just took the best team in the league down to the wire in a a game that their own fans didn’t even give them a chance in.

I’m excited to watch the season unfold.

 

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