GREEN BAY — Los Angeles Rams quarterback Baker Mayfield couldn’t replicate the comeback magic he conjured in his first game with the Rams as the defending champions were eliminated by a 24-12 loss to the Green Bay Packers.
Both teams entered the season with Super Bowl aspirations, but only one has any hope left, although the Packers’ hopes are slim.
The Packers’ running backs were decisive in the cold weather with AJ Dillon rushing for two touchdowns and Aaron Jones catching a TD pass.
Green Bay Packers
Look Green Bay Packers‘ fans, a winning streak.
The Packers have won consecutive games for the first time since Week 4, when they were 3-1. They went into their bye week by beating the Chicago Bears and they came out of by taking care of business in methodical — if unspectacular fashion — against the Rams in frigid conditions at Lambeau Field.
It was Step 2 in a five-step plan to make the playoffs. When the Packers fell to 4-8, they knew they probably needed to win their last five — and get some help from other teams along the way — to make it. Now at 6-8, the win boosted their playoff chances from 9.7% to 12.2% heading into next Sunday’s Christmas game at the Miami Dolphins, according to ESPN Analytics. A loss would have reduced the Packers’ playoff chances to a miniscule 0.8%.
Promising trend: AJ Dillon loves the cold. After rushing for 93 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries against the Bears, Dillon had two more rushing touchdowns against the Rams. It was the second straight week the Packers had multiple rushing touchdowns. They have four in the last two games after having just four rushing touchdowns in the first 12 games of the season. Dillon left the game in the fourth quarter to be evaluated for a concussion.
Promising trend II: Romeo Doubs‘ first game since his Week 9 ankle injury showed what he and fellow rookie receiver Christian Watson can do when they’re on the field together, which had happened only 52 snaps this entire season entering Monday. Doubs’ first two catches of the game went for first downs, which is his fourth game of the season where he’s had multiple catches for first downs. Doubs finished with five catches for 55 yards. While Watson was held without a catch in the first half with All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey covering him much of the time, he finished with four for 46 yards and also drew a pass interference on a deep shot in the fourth quarter
Eye-popping Next Gen stat: On Rodgers’ first-quarter interception, receiver Allen Lazard had 9.3 yards of separation when he released the ball. That’s the most-wide open interception Rodgers has thrown dating to 2016 when Next Gen began tracking it. Lazard either stopped running because he found an opening in the Rams’ secondary or the throw sailed on Rodgers, who was not being pressured. In fact, the nearest defender to Rodgers at the time of his throw was 10.4 yards away — the further Rodgers has been from a defender on any of his interceptions since 2016. — Rob Demovsky
Under-the-radar stat that matters: Rodgers has thrown eight interceptions when not pressured this season after throwing one when not pressured last season.
Next game: at Dolphins (1 p.m., ET, Sunday, Dec. 25)
Los Angeles Rams
The Rams’ elimination from playoff contention came in Week 15, the second-earliest for a team coming off a Super Bowl victory in the last 30 years. Los Angeles also tied the 1999 Denver Broncos (6-10) for the most losses ever by a defending Super Bowl champ.
Again, the Rams’ offense struggled to move the ball consistently, finding the end zone just once. Los Angeles had just one drive with double-digit plays: a 10-play, 28-yard drive in the second quarter.
QB breakdown: In his first start for the Rams, Mayfield couldn’t recreate the magic he showed against the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 14. On Monday night, Mayfield completed 11 of 19 passes for 107 yards, with a touchdown and an interception. His third-quarter touchdown pass to Tyler Higbee was his 100th career touchdown. Mayfield spread the ball around, with Higbee leading the way with five targets. The Rams are without their top two receivers, Cooper Kupp and Allen Robinson.
Promising trend: After struggling to force turnovers in the first half of the season, the Rams have six takeaways in their last four games. Safety Taylor Rapp has had one in each of Los Angeles’ two previous games.
Silver lining: Cam Akers was a bright spot for this Rams offense, running for 65 yards on 12 carries, his highest rushing yardage of the season. He was also Los Angeles’ leading receiver with three catches for 35 yards. Akers has three touchdowns in his last three games, and he played a key role to set up the Rams’ touchdown in the third quarter. — Sarah Barshop
Under-the-radar stat that matters: While every other team has multiple TD receptions by its tight ends, Higbee had the first one by a Rams tight end Monday night.
Next game: vs. Broncos (4:30 p.m., ET, Sunday, Dec. 25)