Rodgers sharp, Packers beat Rams 30-20

Aaron Rodgers never worried about topping himself. A second

straight turnover-free performance on the road witnessed by

thousands of cheeseheads was perfectly satisfying.

The Green Bay Packers’ quarterback threw for 342 yards and three

touchdowns in a 30-20 victory over the St. Louis Rams on Sunday. A

week earlier, the numbers were a lot gaudier when he tied the

franchise record with six touchdown passes and no picks.

”It wasn’t really on my mind,” Rodgers said. ”My mind is

usually focused on doing what I can do to put ourselves in a good

situation. I’m expected to be consistent week in and week out.

”There’s been times where that hasn’t been the case, but I’m

happy with the way the offense is progressing.”

Rodgers set a couple firsts anyway, reaching 150 touchdown

passes with the fewest interceptions in NFL history. Rodgers has

thrown 42 interceptions, beating the record set by Dan Marino with

150 TDs and 69 picks.

He hit 81.1 percent of his passes, going 30 for 37 to set a

single-game franchise record with a minimum of 35 attempts. The

Packers were a season-best 9 for 15 on third down conversions.

”We all know how great he is,” Packers linebacker Dezman Moses

said. ”I’m honored to be on the same team with him.

”He does it day in and day out, so it’s not much of a surprise

to the rest of the team. It’s just what he does.”

Randall Cobb caught two touchdown passes and Jordy Nelson had

eight receptions for a season-best 122 yards and a TD for the

Packers (4-3), who handed the Rams (3-4) their first home loss.

Rodgers was sacked three times in the first half, but got the ball

out a lot quicker the rest of the way and was 30 for 37 for 342

yards.

”This was par for the course for them,” Rams defensive end

Chris Long said. ”They threw the ball around the yard.”

The Packers’ depleted defense clamped down on Sam Bradford, too,

allowing 342 yards, but limiting the damage. Rookie Casey Hayward

made his first start in place of injured Sam Shields and

intercepted his fourth pass in three games.

They wrapped up a three-game trip feeling like they were already

home, thanks to a fan contingent that began to roared during

pregame warm-ups. Rodgers noted that St. Louis was one of the

closer trips, perhaps an eight-hour drive ”if you’re busting the

speed limit a little bit.”

”You never get tired of hearing `Go, Pack, Go!,’ especially in

St. Louis,” coach Mike McCarthy said. ”I can’t say enough about

it. When opposing coaches are talking about keeping your fans out

of the building, I think that says it all.

”So, thank you fans.”

The Packers, who were 15-1 last season, are above .500 for the

first time after alternating losses and wins the first six weeks. A

week earlier, they ended the Texans’ unbeaten start.

Steven Jackson ran for his first touchdown of the year to trim

the deficit to a touchdown midway through the fourth quarter.

Rodgers responded with a 39-yard scoring pass to Cobb that put the

Packers up by two scores with 3:06 remaining.

The Rams (3-4) limited opponents to 14.7 points their first

three home games, beating the Redskins, Seahawks and Cardinals.

They’ll surrender home-field advantage next week when they travel

to London to play the Patriots. The team flies out Monday

night.

Chris Givens had a 56-yard reception for St. Louis on a screen

pass in the fourth quarter, his fourth straight game with a 50-yard

plus reception. Fellow rookie Greg Zuerlein kicked a 50-yard field

goal.

Bradford was 21 for 34 for 255 yards and an interception, and

was sacked three times behind a patchwork line with just two

starters left from the opener. Bradford threw a 3-yard touchdown

pass to Austin Pettis with 3 seconds to go.

After dominating in time of possession in the first half,

holding the ball for more than 18 minutes, the Rams ran just seven

plays in the third quarter and were held to minus-7 yards while the

Packers had 129 yards and 11:39 in time of possession.

”We came out cold in the third quarter, just didn’t really get

anything going,” Bradford said. ”We’ve just got to do a better

job of overcoming.”

Nelson wrapped up his second straight 100-yard game early in the

third quarter, often picking on rookie cornerback Janoris Jenkins.

Cobb threw a nice fake on Jenkins in the end zone on a 5-yard catch

that put the Packers up 17-6 midway through the third, capping a

12-play, 80-yard drive to open the half that lasted nearly seven

minutes.

Zuerlein ended a string of three misses, the last a 66-yarder

that had the distance but was wide left at the end of last week’s

17-14 loss at Miami, with a 50-yarder that gave the Rams the early

lead. Zuerlein is 5 for 7 from 50-plus.

NOTES: Packers DE Clay Matthews picked up his ninth sack in the

third quarter when he chased down Bradford on a rollout. …

Hayward’s four interceptions are the Packers’ most by a rookie

since Mike McKenzie had six in 1999. … OG Shelley Smith made his

first career start for the Rams ahead of Quinn Ojinnaka and OT Joe

Barksdale made his first start with St. Louis in place of injured

Wayne Hunter (back).