Los Angeles was able to overcome a slow offensive start against Green Bay to stay undefeated in the 2018 season. The Rams are now 8-0 for the first time since 1969.
The Packers were able to get on the board first with the help of a few chunk-yardage plays midway through the first quarter. After both teams punted on their first offensive possessions, quarterback Aaron Rodgers completed a 48-yard pass to wideout Davante Adams on 3rd-and-5 to the L.A. 22. And while the next play initially looked like a 22-yard touchdown over the middle to tight end Jimmy Graham, the play was reversed to put Green Bay inside the one-yard line. A play later, running back Jamaal Williams ran it in for a touchdown.
Green Bay would extend its early lead to 10-0 with a 41-yard field goal by Mason Crosby early in the second quarter.
Los Angeles had a tough time getting anything going of its own offensively during the first half, starting out just 2-of-8 on third down. Quarterback Jared Goff took a sack on three consecutive third downs to end drives. And running back Todd Gurley was stuffed on a 3rd-and-1 run play for a two-yard loss with just under nine minutes remaining in the second quarter.
At that point, the Rams tried to establish some rhythm via special teams with a fake punt. Punter Johnny Hekker completed a 12-yard pass to cornerback Sam Shields on the right side for a 12-yard gain. But L.A. nevertheless fizzled out offensively on the next set of downs.
The Rams finally got on the board late in the second quarter, with Hekker and Shields again combining for another significant special teams play. With just about three minutes left in the first half, Hekker bounced a punt inside the Packers’ 10-yard line, and Shields fielded the ball and downed it inside the Green Bay one.
On the next play, inside linebacker Mark Barron stuffed running back Aaron Jones inside the paint for Los Angeles’ second safety in two games — getting the Rams their first points of the matchup.
Getting the ball back after the free kick, the offense added its first touchdown before the half. Head coach Sean McVay won a challenge, getting what was initially called an incomplete pass on a sliding catch by Brandin Cooks overturned for a 25-yard gain down the left sideline. Then running back Todd Gurley was initially ruled out of bounds with a catch of a tipped pass on the left sideline — but the call was reviewed by the booth with time inside two minutes to go and overturned.
Quarterback Jared Goff connected with wide receiver Josh Reynolds for a one-yard touchdown with 25 seconds left in the half. The Rams went for two, but Gurley was stuffed on a run attempt up the middle leaving L.A. down 10-8 at halftime.
Starting with the ball in the third quarter, Los Angeles could not establish anything on offense and went three-and-out. While Green Bay was poised to potentially get into the end zone on its ensuing possession, defensive tackle Aaron Donald halted any momentum with a nine-yard sack on 3rd-and-2 from the L.A. 25.
And perhaps that was just the play the Rams needed to really get things going. Though Crosby extended Green Bay’s lead to 13-8, Los Angeles’ offense came right back with a response touchdown.
After Gurley took a handoff 11 yards on the drive’s first play, Goff kept the possession alive with a 22-yard pass to tight end Gerald Everett on 3rd-and-10 to the left side. Following a Goff scramble and another Gurley first-down run, L.A. took its first lead of the game.
On 1st-and-10, Gurley lined up on the offense’s left, running a shallow cross route to the right side. Goff got the ball off to the Georgia product, who did the rest down a wide open right sideline to score his 15th touchdown of the season.
Gurley also tied a franchise record by scoring a touchdown in his 11th consecutive regular-season game.
Goff then connected with Gurley over the middle for a two-point conversion, giving the Rams their first lead of the day at 16-13.
Following the defense’s forced three-and-out, the Rams got back on the board with an eight-play drive. L.A. was able to overcome a sack in Green Bay territory and an illegal shift penalty with a 19-yard pass to Robert Woods. Then Goff connected with Reynolds on an in-breaking route for a 19-yard touchdown, giving Reynolds the first multi-touchdown game of his young career.
Los Angeles had a 23-13 lead, but Green Bay cut into it with a pair of big plays on its ensuing drive. Facing 3rd-and-9 from the visitors’ 26, Rodgers evaded the pass rush in the pocket and completed a 41-yard deep pass over the middle to Adams. Following a Rodgers incomplete pass, Jones took a draw play 33 yards up the middle for a touchdown.
With the L.A. lead down to 23-20, the home team was able to get back on the board with a 43-yard field goal by kicker Greg Zuerlein. Goff hit Cooks for a 32-yard deep ball on the left side to put the Rams in opponent territory on the possession.
The back-and-forth second half continued, however, with Rodgers completing a a 40-yard touchdown pass down the right sideline to wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling to put Green Bay on top 27-26 with 8:50 left in the contest.
The Rams could not get much going offensively on their following possession, and had to punt. But the defense responded well, with Donald recording his second sack of the game on 3rd-and-6 to force a punt with a 10-yard loss.
Los Angeles got ideal field position, too, when Green Bay punter J.K. Scott shanked his kick — the ball going only 25 yards to the visitors’ 40-yard line.
With 3rd-and-6 from the Green Bay 36, McVay dialed up a great play call to beat the blitz, running Gurley to the left side. The running back gained 23 yards all the way to the visitors’ 13.
The Rams’ momentum was halted from there, as Gurley was stuffed on first down, and a holding call backed L.A. up to 2nd-and-20. With a Gurley run giving L.A. 3rd-and-16, the Rams elected to play it safe, running Gurley for a few yards on third down to get in position to take the lead.
Zuerlein’s 34-yard field goal sailed through the uprights to give the Rams a slim 29-27 lead with 2:05 left in the contest.
Green Bay returner Ty Montgomery elected to take the ensuing kickoff out of the end zone and linebacker Ramik Wilson made him pay for the decision — forcing a fumble and recovering the loose ball at the visitors’ 21-yard line.
Gurley ran for a one-yard gain on first down, forcing Green Bay to use its one remaining timeout with 1:50 left. Gurley took a pitch 17 yards to the left side on 3rd-and-10, giving himself up at the four-yard line to secure the W.
With the victory, the Rams are now 8-0 for the first time since 1969. They’ll be back in action next week on the road in New Orleans, taking on the Saints.