The preseason is football, but it's not real football -- and especially the fourth game.
Thanks to the lack of a cut to 75 players, Green Bay was able to have 28 players -- 28! -- inactive on Thursday against the Rams, including all the key Packers you'd expect to be on the sideline. Los Angeles, which is not thought of to be a strong team in 2017, sat even more as 32 Rams didn’t play.
The battle of the backups went about as expected. Green Bay was still the better team, winning 24-10, but there weren't too many highlights. And despite a combined 19 penalties (11 by the Packers), the game was still played in under 3 hours.
Everyone was ready for the preseason to end. Bring on real football.
Here's a recap of Thursday night's game:
PLAYER OF THE GAME
No one really stood out statistically, but the Packers apparently wanted quarterback Brett Hundley to compile some numbers. Starting in place of Aaron Rodgers, Hundley had a pretty good game -- 11-of-21 passing for 99 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions. He also had a nifty 13-yard touchdown run in which he didn't avoid contact to get to the end zone. Was this a case of Green Bay wanting to get Hundley experience or showcasing him for other teams? Besides the 21 official passes, Hundley was sacked twice, had penalties wipe out three other attempts and even his run was a scramble on what was supposed to be a pass play. If you're scoring at home, that's 27 pass plays. How many times did Green Bay run the ball with Hundley in the game (not counting his scramble)? Just six. Whatever the reason for the lack of balance (the other two Green Bay quarterbacks attempted just six passes combined with two sacks and two scrambles compared to 21 run plays; the Packers began the second half with runs on 10 of their first 11 plays), Hundley made the most of his opportunity.
USA TODAY SportsAdam Wesley
DON'T FORGET ABOUT ME
With a lot of competition at running back behind starter Ty Montgomery, it was fifth-round pick Aaron Jones who stood out the most against the Rams. Jones finished with a team-high 48 yards on just eight carries (6.0 average) with a long run of 24 yards. He also made a nice grab of a low Hundley throw at the 1, then rolled into the end zone for a touchdown. For what it's worth, Jones ended up being Green Bay's leading rusher this preseason (105 yards) and was the only Packers running back besides Montgomery to average over 3 yards a carry (5.5). He also caught six passes, tied for the most among Green Bay's backs.
USA TODAY SportsJeff Hanisch
It was only the first quarter, but it kind of summed up the night it would become. Rams QB Dan Orlovsky, who played the entire game, threw behind a receiver. The ball deflected and LaDarius Gunter intercepted it at the L.A. 40-yard line. Six plays later, Green Bay scored the first touchdown of the game. Orlovsky would throw another pick, propelling the Packers to their second TD. Overall, Orlovsky was just 16 of 30 for 149 yards, his accuracy iffy and, thus, as was the Rams' offensive proficiency.
452 -- The combined net yards for both teams. Yes, we said combined. The Rams had just 210 net yards. Of course, that means Green Bay had only 242. Preseason football, everybody!
USA TODAY SportsJeff Hanisch
THEY SAID IT
"I did give it second thought. But when you're that close to the goal line, I just wanted to get in. I didn't care how I was going to do it, I just dove." -- quarterback Brett Hundley on his touchdown run.
"I feel like I did a lot of great things and did everything in my power to show that I belong." -- running back Aaron Jones
Teams will cut down to 53 players this weekend -- cuts have to be made by Saturday and players can be picked up off waivers Sunday -- before establishing their opening roster and practice squad. Green Bay will then open with one of the marquee games of Week 1 of the NFL regular season as the Packers host the Seattle Seahawks in a matchup of playoff contenders that always proves entertaining.