Green Bay Packers: Biggest Winners & Losers in Week 7 Win over Rams

Brian Carriveau@@BrianCarriveauContributor IOctober 21, 2012

Green Bay Packers: Biggest Winners & Losers in Week 7 Win over Rams

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    The Green Bay Packers finished up their three consecutive road trip games by defeating the St. Louis Rams 30-20 on Sunday afternoon at the Edward Jones Dome.

    The Packers won two out of those three games, which is a pretty good outcome, all things considered.

    By virtue of their win over the Rams, the Packers got over .500 and improved their record to 4-3 on the season.

Winner: Aaron Rodgers

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    Aaron Rodgers attempted to silence his critics last week against the Houston Texans and kept up his impressive play with another fantastic outing on Sunday against the Rams.

    Rodgers finished the afternoon by completing 30-of-37 passes for 342 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions, which was good for a passer rating of 132.2.

    Going back to last week, Rodgers now has nine touchdowns and zero interceptions over his last two games. He's leading the Packers on scoring drives and not turning the ball over at the same time, which has been a winning combination.

    Rodgers also helped the Packers convert on 9-of-15 third downs, which kept the chains moving and the ball out of the hands of their opposition.

    What's most important, however, is that the Packers have won back-to-back games for the first time all season, and that might be the most important statistic of all.

Loser: First Half Run Defense

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    One week after limiting the dangerous Arian Foster to 29 yards in the Packers' win over the Texans, Green Bay got off to a poor start by allowing 93 rushing yards in the first half against the Rams on Sunday.

    Veteran running back Steven Jackson in particular had 51 rushing yards by halftime on only eight carries, an average of 6.1 yards per rush.

    There really wasn't any one player to blame.

    The defensive line didn't look nearly as effective as they did against the Texans. A.J. Hawk and Brad Jones looked poor trying to make open-field tackles, as did the Packers' secondary.

    The Packers weren't hurt by the run nearly as much in the second half, but that was mainly because of a turnover and the fact that the Packers offense kept the football largely out of the hands of the Rams.

Winner: Randall Cobb

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    Once again, Randall Cobb was a multi-dimensional threat for the Green Bay Packers, the kind of matchup nightmare that keeps opposing defensive coordinators up at night.

    Cobb hauled in eight passes for 89 yards and two touchdowns on Sunday, but most impressive was the way the Packers used him.

    He lined up both as a receiver and in the offensive backfield as a running back. He caught passes from both places on the field and even added one carry for 19 yards, which was the Packers' longest run of the day.

    Cobb's third quarter touchdown extended the Packers' lead to 17-6 and his fourth quarter touchdown probably iced the game as the score was pushed to 27-13.

Losers: T.J. Lang, Jeff Saturday

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    In addition to giving up three sacks on the afternoon, the Packers also could get very little going in their ground game.

    The Packers finished with 70 yards on 26 carries, an average of only 2.7 yards per rush. A big reason for why they struggled had to do with the issues of the Packers interior offensive line and how they failed to effectively deal with Rams defensive tackle Michael Brockers.

    This conversation between Bleacher Report's own Aaron Nagler and Zach Kruse on Twitter sums up the issue:

    He has completely owned the Packers up front. RT @zachkruse2: Michael Brockers has dominated T.J. Lang and Jeff Saturday today.

    — Aaron Nagler (@Aaron_Nagler) October 21, 2012

Winner: Jordy Nelson

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    Jordy Nelson entered last week's game against the Houston Texans with what could be considered a disappointing season.

    In the first five games of the season, Nelson only had one touchdown after scoring 15 in 2011. But he's come back with a vengeance.

    One week after finding the end zone three times against the Texans, Nelson added another in Sunday's game versus the Rams.

    He led the Packers with eight receptions for 122 yards, his second consecutive game with more than 100 receiving yards, and averaged 15.3 yards per catch.

    After falling behind 3-0 early in the game, Nelson's touchdown gave the Packers a 7-3 lead, a lead they would never relinquish.

Loser: Marshall Newhouse

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    Yes, Marshall Newhouse settled down in the second half of Sunday's game, but things looked pretty shaky early in the game.

    Newhouse came into Sunday's game having gained the trust of the coaches and the fans alike after a 2011 season in which he gave up far too many sacks.

    Certainly Newhouse hadn't been perfect the first six games of the year, but he had made major progress, and for the most part, he was keeping Aaron Rodgers upright.

    Lined up across from Rams defensive end Robert Quinn for the majority of the game, Newhouse struggled with his speed around the edge and gave up a sack in the early going.

    On the afternoon, the Packers gave up three sacks and five quarterback hits and had trouble mounting any sort of running game.

Winner: Special Teams Gamble

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    The Packers have pulled three special teams tricks out of their hat in 2012, and they've been successful in all three.

    In Week 2 against the Chicago Bears the Packers ran a fake field goal on 4th-and-26 that resulted in a 27-yard touchdown by tight end Tom Crabtree.

    Then in Week 4, the Packers ran a fake punt deep in their own territory, a five-yard run by running back John Kuhn that converted a first down.

    And now on Sunday against the Rams, the Packers ran a surprise onside kick following their first touchdown of the game when they were leading 7-3.

    Kicker Mason Crosby nailed a perfect, short kick with a high bounce that was recovered by Jamari Lattimore as Jarrett Bush helped to take out the first line of defense for the Rams.

    The Packers would go on to kick a 47-yard field goal that possession and push their lead to 10-3.

Loser: Donald Driver

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    It's not as if Donald Driver dropped any passes or made any mistakes that cost the Packers, but he was a "loser" from the standpoint that he continues to be an afterthought in Green Bay's game plan.

    With only a single catch for two yards on the day, Driver did little to help out the Packers' offense. His lone catch also ended up just short of converting a third down into a first, but instead the Packers had to punt.

    Driver only has four receptions on the season and rarely plays more than a handful of snaps per game. His role on the team doesn't appear to be changing, even with Greg Jennings sidelined by injury.

Winner: Casey Hayward

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    With the Packers nursing a 17-6 lead late in the third quarter, cornerback Casey Hayward denied the Rams any chance of building some momentum and any hopes of trying to get back into the game.

    Hayward stepped in front of what was a poorly thrown football by quarterback Sam Bradford on a pass intended for wide receiver Chris Givens and gave the Packers possession at the Rams' 42-yard line.

    On the ensuing drive, the Packers added a Mason Crosby 23-yard field goal that pushed the Packers lead to 20-6.

    The interception was Hayward's fourth interception of the season, all of them coming in the past three games.

    Getting the start with Sam Shields sidelined with a calf injury, Hayward made the most of his opportunity and is doing his part to help the Packers win the turnover battle week in and week out.

    The rookie cornerback for the Packers may not have been perfect on Sunday, but by forcing turnovers, he's more than making up for any receptions he allows.

Loser: Mike Neal

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    Defensive lineman Mike Neal was sidelined during the second quarter of Sunday's game with an apparent knee injury, and even though he later returned, Neal made little impact for the Packers.

    With B.J. Raji already sidelined by injury coming into the game, the Packers' depth on the defensive line was compromised when Neal was forced to briefly leave the game.

    Neal has a reputation of being injury prone, and while he returned later in the game, leaving the game for any amount of time isn't helping his cause.

    Since notching a sack in his first game coming back from suspension in Week 5 against the Colts, Neal has done very little in the last two outings and only had one tackle during the Rams game.