ST. LOUIS—It was everything the Packers could’ve wanted.
“We scored and we stayed healthy. That’s a perfect preseason game,” Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said following a 21-7 win over the Rams that wasn’t as close as the final score would indicate.
It was perfect because Rodgers and the No. 1 offense were the closest thing to perfect. In two possessions, they drove the ball 86 and 80 yards to take a 10-0 lead. It would’ve been 14-0 had tackle David Bakhtiari’s hands-to-the-face penalty not nullified a Rodgers to Jordy Nelson touchdown pass.
“We got the tempo up. The efficiency was pretty good,” Rodgers said of the two drives, both of which were executed in no-huddle mode.
Randall Cobb flashed his quickness and big-play ability with a 22-yard catch-and-run reception he followed with a 3-yard touchdown catch that gave the Packers a 7-0 lead.
Everybody was on their game. Eddie Lacy was quick and powerful in rushing for 25 yards on five carries. The offensive line provided Rodgers with ample time to throw, and Rodgers praised new center JC Tretter for his play.
“It was pretty seamless. He’s done a great job. He’s not somebody you worry about,” Rodgers said.
Scott Tolzien replaced Rodgers and got a long look through nearly two quarters of action. Tolzien appeared to have pitched a touchdown pass to second-year wide receiver Myles White, but the score was nullified by, yet, another hands-to-the-face penalty, this one having been committed by rookie center Corey Linsley.
“It’s way over the top,” Rodgers said of an avalanche of defensive holding, pass interference and hands-to-the-face penalties, all part of the NFL’s new major point of emphasis for officials. “The game is too choppy if they’re going to call it like that. We had two touchdowns taken off the board. I don’t know how they can ref like that. It makes you always look back to see if there’s a penalty.”
Tolzien was clearly in a show-me kind of performance, as he battles with Matt Flynn for the backup job and, possibly, a place on the roster, depending on how many quarterbacks the Packers keep. Tolzien finished the game having completed 10 of 15 passes for 107 yards and an 87.4 passer rating.
“Scott had some tough situations. His decision making was good. We had some pressures that really hurt us. I thought Scott improved today,” Coach Mike McCarthy said.
Flynn replaced Tolzien late in the third quarter and quickly completed a 34-yard touchdown pass to rookie wide receiver Jeff Janis, who caught the ball as he crossed the middle and went untouched down the left sideline.
“They played very vanilla,” Rodgers said of the Rams, making sure to keep the win in the proper perspective. “They didn’t have (Michael) Brockers playing, didn’t have (James) Laurinaitis playing. It’s preseason.”
Rodgers’ stat line is 11 of 13 for 128 yards, one touchdown and a 133.3 passer rating.
“I was very pleased with the first offense. I thought Aaron was excellent. It was good to compete and do it,” McCarthy said.
Rodgers was in his first action of the preseason.
The Packers defense held the Rams to 216 total net yards, despite 32:40 of possession time. Julius Peppers registered a tackle for loss with the No. 1 defense, and rookie pass rusher Jayrone Elliott posted three sacks from abbreviated time late in the game.
“We wanted to improve today. I thought we hit that target. You have to make big plays to win in the NFL, and we won the game. Winning is great,” McCarthy said.
The only negative news to take from the game is a lower leg injury tight end Brandon Bostick sustained.
“We’re growing. We improved today,” McCarthy said.
At 1-1, the Packers will host the Raiders in game three of the preseason next Friday. Additional gameday coverage -