GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Jones finally ended the Green Bay Packers' first-half touchdown drought.
Green Bay's resourceful reinforcements on defense took over from there and helped the Packers snap a four-game skid by beating the Los Angeles Rams 20-3 on a rainy Sunday.
“I feel like that will help us get rolling, give us that confidence that we need,” said Jones, who ran for 73 yards on 20 carries to lead Green Bay's 184-yard ground attack. “I always say it only takes one to get things going.”
Jones put the Packers ahead for good with a 3-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter, the first time Green Bay had reached the end zone in the first half of a game since a Sept. 17 loss in Atlanta.
Rookie tight end Luke Musgrave scored his first career touchdown on a 20-yard reception from Jordan Love and Anders Carlson went 2 of 3 on field-goal attempts for the Packers (3-5). Love went 20 of 26 for 228 yards despite getting sacked four times.
That was more than enough to beat the Rams, who dropped their third straight. The Rams played without quarterback Matthew Stafford, who sprained a ligament in his right thumb last week in a loss at Dallas.
“The weather was kind of in and out of rain, which did minimize some of the different things that you can activate, particularly in the pass game," Rams coach Sean McVay said. “We had a tough time ball handling even in the run game. So, there really weren’t a lot of positives to take away.”
With Brett Rypien starting in Stafford’s place, the Rams failed to reach the end zone. Rypien went 13 of 28 for 130 yards with an interception, and the Rams lost one of his two fumbles.
Rypien struggled against an injury-riddled Green Bay secondary that started two rookie seventh-round picks in cornerback Carrington Valentine and safety Anthony Johnson Jr.
“Not too bad for a seventh-round pick, huh?” said Valentine, who had three passes defended.
Johnson, who had played just eight defensive snaps all season before Sunday, intercepted a pass that teammate Jaire Alexander deflected to set up a fourth-quarter field goal.
Johnson said he didn't know he'd be starting until Sunday, but visualized that he would get his first career interception.
“I saw the quarterback's eyes and saw where he was going, so I broke that way,” Johnson said. “And as I'm running that way, I see the corner route is coming and I'm going to close, and Ja flies out of the air, tips it up. I'm like, ‘Oh, there it is. It’s mine.'"
The Packers had been outscored 73-9 in the first half of their past five games, but they led this one 7-3 at the break and could have been up by more if they hadn't wasted opportunities with penalties. Green Bay's defense shut the Rams (3-6) down the rest of the way.
Los Angeles' only points came on Lucas Havrisik's 52-yard field goal late in the second quarter.
Jones' touchdown followed one of Rypien’s turnovers. Rypien initially mishandled a snap and then tried to roll to his right. Jonathan Owens sacked him and forced a fumble that De’Vondre Campbell recovered at the Rams 41-yard line.
The Packers fumbled the ball away on each of their first two second-half series, but the Rams failed to capitalize either time.
After Ahkello Witherspoon recovered Dontayvion Wicks' fumble at the Rams 42, Los Angeles punted rather than attempting a long field goal on fourth-and-17 from the 36.
Jordan Fuller knocked the ball from Aaron Jones on the Packers’ next series, and Duke Shelley’s 9-yard fumble return gave the Rams the ball on the Green Bay 36. The Rams’ ensuing possession ended with Havrisik’s 49-yard field-goal attempt sailing wide right.
“We don’t do a good job of capitalizing when our defense gets the turnovers, and we weren’t able to really get anything going momentum-wise,” McVay said. “It’s a good, humbling day. Sometimes you have days like that.”
Carlson, who missed a 48-yard field goal to end the first half, extended Green Bay’s lead by kicking a 26-yarder late in the third quarter and a 34-yarder with 9:08 left in the game. Musgrave capped the scoring by catching a pass across the middle at around the 15 and running into the end zone with 3:41 remaining.
“It’s not perfect — it’s never going to be perfect — but I think just the position we were able to put ourselves in and come out with a win, it definitely is going to help us,” Love said. “We’ve just got to keep stacking going forward.”
Rams: Linebacker Ernest Jones (knee) and right tackle Rob Havenstein (calf) didn't play along with Stafford. Rams DB Cobie Durant (shoulder) left in the first half.
Packers: Linebacker Quay Walker (groin) and safety Rudy Ford (calf) sat out the game. Defensive tackle Kenny Clark (shoulder) and left tackle Yosh Nijman (back) were knocked out of the game. Christian Watson headed into the locker room late in the game after making a 37-yard catch to set up the Packers' final touchdown. Watson had a chest injury and back injury.
Rams: Off next week before hosting the Seattle Seahawks on Nov. 19.
Packers: At Pittsburgh next Sunday.
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