The Rams played a home game Sunday against Green Bay where it seemed half the building were Packers fans in a 30-20 loss. Now, the Rams head to London for a "home" game against the New England Patriots and another outstanding quarterback.
Tom Brady will be the opponent this week after Aaron Rodgers carved up the Rams for 342 yards on 30-of-37 passing with one of the incompletions a spike.
Linebacker James Laurinaitis could have been talking about Brady when he said of Rodgers, "I think what he does the best is that he's good at improv. He escapes to make the deep throws and maneuvers in the pocket. That's something that he does really well. He did that today a couple of times. (He) maneuvered around guys and was able to break out of the pocket and chuck it deep. He's going to make throws that other quarterbacks won't."
Still, the Rams had opportunities, but they failed to make enough plays. A fourth-and-2 pass from the Green Bay 14-yard line in the second quarter was dropped by wide receiver Brandon Gibson.
After cutting the Green Bay lead to 20-13 in the fourth quarter, linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar missed a tackle on a short pass to wide receiver Randall Cobb, who got the first down by one yard on third-and-7. Five plays later, Rodgers hit Cobb for a 39-yard "free-play" touchdown on third-and-9. It was a free play because defensive tackle Kendall Langford was offside.
Said defensive end Chris Long, "We had our opportunities and we didn't take advantage of them."
Long was offside on a first-quarter play that resulted in a 53-yard play to wide receiver Jordy Nelson. Both “free plays” were on third down and as coach Jeff Fisher said, “Both those two long balls would probably not have been thrown had we not jumped in the neutral zone. So, ‘Let’s just take a shot,’ and he’s really smart. You can’t do that.”
Of Rodgers’ 342 yards, 92 came on those two plays. Without mentioning Dunbar’s name, Fisher said, “You’ve got to make tackles on third down. You get third-and-eight and you make a tackle and get off the field, create fourth downs, and we just didn’t do that.
"When you play a team as good as they are offensively, in order to have a chance to win, you need to get turnovers. You need to get the ball back or you need to get off the field on third down. That's obviously what we did not do today defensively and that's really the difference in the game."
In the first five games of the season, the Rams had nine takeaways, but in losses tio Miami and Green Bay, they had none.
Now, the team heads to London instead of being at home. Asked about the adjustment of changing the team's schedule, Fisher said, "We're looking forward to the opportunity, but reality is, maybe you should've asked me that question a couple days from now, not 30 minutes after a loss. But we have a lot to do. Obviously, we go back to the office and players come in. We've got a lot to do to get ready to get on (an) airplane tomorrow afternoon."
More line shuffling: The Rams had played four games with the same offensive line, but the continuity didn’t last. Left tackle Wayne Hunter was inactive because of a back injury, and he was replaced by Joe Barksdale, who had been with the team for 24 days since being claimed on waivers from Oakland on Sept. 27.
Barksdale whiffed on linebacker Clay Matthews in the third quarter with the result a sack, but considering his inexperience he did as well as anyone could expect.
Next to him, at left guard, Shelley Smith got his first NFL start in place of Quinn Ojinnaka, who had started the previous five games. Ojinnaka was released on Sept. 2 when Smith was claimed on waivers from Houston, but re-signed on Sept. 11 after center Scott Wells suffered a knee injury in the season opener and was placed on injured reserve.
Fisher said, "I thought they played pretty well considering. Joe battled. He had a pretty good pass rusher out there (Matthews) and he battled. It's easier to watch in person live, the tackle than it is the guard because, of course, we're concerned about the matchup. We ran the ball well over them, away from them and I thought both of them played pretty well."
Asked about the line, quarterback Sam Bradford said, “I trust those guys. I think they did a great job today. I think everyone who’s had to step up all year has done a great job. Those guys were put in a tough position. Green Bay led the league in sacks coming into today, and with that being said, I think those guys did a great job.”
White on White: The Rams won their first three home games wearing their blue pants with blue jerseys and were expected to do the same against Green Bay. However, because of the trip to London, had they worn the blues Sunday, they wouldn’t have been able to be cleaned in time to make the trip. Thus, they were in white pants and white jerseys Sunday.
Sims down: Defensive end Eugene Sims left the game in the second quarter with a knee injury that could be serious. Fisher, who gives minimal information about injuries, said, "The only thing we've got to concern ourselves with is Eugene."
The Quotebook: Running back Steven Jackson on handling the quick turnaround for the trip to London: “We have a long flight ahead of us, so we have to make sure we get our rest. I’ll be in the cold tub tonight.”
Linebacker James Laurinaitis on what separates the Rams and the Packers¨“I don’t know about the whole ‘how close are we.’ I just think they made more plays in this game to win. We had a chance on multiple third downs to get off the field at the end, and we didn’t do it. They made plays and we didn’t. That’s the reality of it. These games in the NFL come down to who’s going to step up and make plays at the end. Today, Green Bay’s offense did it.”
Defensive end Chris Long: “We had our opportunities and we didn’t take advantage of them. We were close there for a while, but we weren’t playing our best game, myself included. We can play a lot better. Hats off to them. They’re a very good football team. There’s a reason they’ve won so many games.”