AP Photo/Morry Gash
It’s rarely been pretty for the Green Bay Packers this season. Monday night was no exception. But for once, the defense stepped up in a significant way.
Green Bay stifled the beat-up Los Angeles Rams offense, holding it to 156 yards in a 24-12 victory.
Rasul Douglas gets the interception!
The Packers defense has not earned plaudits often this season. But on Monday night, NFL Twitter tipped its cap to that unit, namely edge-rusher Preston Smith:
Zach Kruse @zachkruse2
Packers defense has 9 QB hits, 6 TFLs, 5 sacks, 5 pass breakups and a takeaway tonight. Front has been disruptive against a nasty OL.
The Packers have five sacks tonight, two by Preston Smith, and it’s their most in a game since Christmas Day last yr against Baker Mayfield with the Browns.
The Packers offense has mostly fixed its issues, eighth in offensive DVOA since Week 7. It is often been more in regards to the defense.
This was at all times the way it was alleged to be for the #Packers.
The defense plays super well to limit points on the board. The offense would utilize their running backs in lots of situations, figure it out to place up points, and be serviceable.
Kenny Clark, Preston Smith, Quay Walker, and Jaire Alexander are having the sport of their lives right away. Amazing work.
Preston Smith won’t ever be flashy but he’s so solid. Rarely missed games. You wish guys like that in your team.
Preston Smith at all times shows up in primetime. At all times.
Preston Smith sack count: 4 prior to now 4 games.
Preston Smith going nuts right away #Packers
Tonight might need been the Packers’ most complete game of the season.
Offense was efficient and consistently effective.
Defense was dominant and disruptive.
Special teams created big plays.
You would make the argument that the Rams offense was more dreadful than the Packers defense was superb. Fair enough. Baker Mayfield, in his second game because the team’s quarterback, finished just 12-of-21 for 111 yards and a touchdown with an interception and took five sacks.
The Rams were just 4-of-11 on third down. They held the ball for under 22 minutes, 41 seconds and managed 72 rushing yards. It was ugly.
The Packers didn’t exactly light it up. The running back duo of Aaron Jones (126 yards from scrimmage, one touchdown, one fumble lost) and AJ Dillon (71 yards from scrimmage, two scores) carried the load. Aaron Rodgers threw for 229 yards and a touchdown with an interception.
However the defense kept Mayfield uncomfortable and ensured the Packers offense didn’t have to go wild. Due to that, the 6-8 Packers still have playoff hopes.
Lily Zhao @LilySZhao
Aaron Rodgers said “there’s still lots to play for” on the postgame broadcast. #Packers QB smiling after Green Bay moves to 6-8.
#Packers GM Brian Gutekunst meets HC Matt LaFleur within the tunnel to the locker room after Green Bay’s win and so they share a giant high five.
Step one is a hit. 3 more to go & anything can occur.
It’s Christmas and the Packers are still playing meaningful football.
1 / 4 of the NFL just isn’t. Be grateful.
Packers are still ALIVE.
Updated: Packers playoff possibilities now 12.2%. A loss would’ve put it at 0.8%. https://t.co/wiajfPJ5op
It’s still an extended shot. For Packers fans, the immortal words of Lloyd Christmas come to mind: “So that you’re telling me there is a likelihood.”
There is a likelihood, Green Bay. If the defense can repeat this performance, those odds will improve.