Packers vs Rams: Cobb's 1st TD Was the Tipping Point, Broke the Back of the Rams
The Packers did a lot of things right on Sunday, so it's hard to choose which made the biggest difference. From the bell, the Packers got ahead and never really looked like thy could lose.
Still there is a point in every game where things go irrevocably right or wrong for a team and for the Packers, they sealed the deal on Randall Cobb's second touchdown.
The 39-yard strike was the last nail in the coffin for the Rams.
In so far as back-breaking plays go, it's really not one you would pick out. It's not a huge turnover, nor is it a kick returned for a touchdown. It's a very simple, very well executed play which completely demoralized the Rams.
The Packers lined up with four wide (Jordy Nelson, James Jones and Cobb to the left, Jermichael Finley to the right) and a lone running back.
The Rams had essentially six players in coverage, four on the line and one just off the line, likely to cover the running back coming out of the backfield.
Nelson and Jones cross as they come off the line, Nelson turning in towards the center of the field while Jones cuts out and up to the end zone.
On the other side, Finley runs a slow route turning towards center and beginning to drag across the middle.
Cobb runs towards the end zone, then makes a little turn out towards the sideline where he pauses for a fraction of a second.
As you look at the second screen cap, the majority of the Rams defense is outside the end zone and none of the defenders are deeper than two or three yards in.
Cobb slips behind the entire defense—the defender covering him turns way too slow.
Rodgers sees him open and delivers a great throw to Cobb who catches it easily for his second touchdown of the day.
There are a few non-Cobb related things to note.
First of all, the Packers offensive line did a tremendous job (as it did most of the day) of keeping Rodgers upright and giving him the time to find Cobb open.
That, as much as anything else, was a huge part of getting this score. The line dominated against the pass rush all day, and this was indicative of the effort.
Second—and this is total conjecture, but bear with me—if you watch the play, at first glance Finley looks like he runs a really lazy route. He jogs and it looks as if he knows he won't get the ball.
Watch it a few times though and you might begin to think—as I do—that Finley was slowing his route down to stay out of the way of the initial target and first read: Cobb
If Finley runs his route full steam, he's in the way of that Cobb pass and it becomes that much harder for Rodgers to complete.
As I said—pure conjecture—but it sure looks very likely.
Finally, I like the positioning of Alex Green—just off to the side, a perfect outlet for Rodgers if everything falls apart.
This is what Packer fans want to see—a well thought-out, well executed plan.
After this, the Rams had a hard time regrouping, with the next two drives (the entirety of the third quarter) resulting in an interception and a punt.
The Rams defense, which had been struggling to begin with, looked deflated and allowed scores on three of the next four Green Bay drives.
Even though the stat sheet makes it seem as if St Louis crawled back into the game, they didn't. After Cobb's first touchdown, the game was for all intents and purposes, over.
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