Rams move the ball, but struggle to put up points against Packers

News-DemocratAugust 17, 2013 

— Their starting offense produced a couple of big plays, but the St. Louis Rams couldn't turn them into points.

Mason Crosby kicked three field goals and Giorgio Tavecchio added another field goal as the Green Bay Packers beat the mistake-prone Rams 19-7 on Saturday in a preseason game.

The Rams fell to 0-2 in the preseason.

"Basically what we looked for going into this ballgame was improving over last week,'' Rams coach Jeff Fisher said. "Right now, I don't feel like we saw that, but you look at the tape and hope you can find some things. The good things that happened, of course, were the big plays. We made big plays.''

Rams quarterback Sam Bradford, playing most of the first half, completed 8 of 12 passes for 156 yards. He had a 57-yard pass to Chris Givens and a 37-yard pass to tight end Jared Cook.

The Rams got both Cook and rookie Tavon Austin, who had four catches for 28 yards, involved in the offense. They had the ball inside Packers territory three times in the first half, but failed to get on the scoreboard.

A muffed center-quarterback exchange on a fourth-and-goal from the Green Bay 1 thwarted the Rams' best scoring opportunity.

"We would have liked to have seen touchdowns,'' Fisher said. "The fourth down thing was just one of those things that happens. You have to learn from it. Sam lost the ball.''

A 10-yard holding penalty on Austin and an illegal formation penalty scuttled another chance after Cook's catch took the ball to the Green Bay 34.

Bradford also missed connections on a pass to Austin near the goal line that likely would have resulted in a touchdown.

"A little shaky, but I think we played well for the most part," Bradford said of how the offense performed. "Obviously, I'd like to have the throw to Tavon down on the goal line back, but I thought we executed pretty well. We moved the ball, we've just got to find a way to put some points on the board."

The Rams broke up the shutout with 59 seconds left as Austin Davis threw a 26-yard pass to Nick Johnson.

The Packers (1-1) put up 229 yards of offense in the first half.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers completed 10 of 12 passes for 134 yards. Rookie running back Eddie Lacy had eight carries for 40 yards.

"I'm disappointed in our tackling," Rams middle linebacker James Laurinaitis said. "We didn't play our best on defense. But, I'm proud that, I guess looking back, we held a dang good quarterback to six points.

"I think that's a positive, but we definitely have to get better at tackling because we had some plays that should be 4-yard gains end up (being) 11, 12 yards."

The Rams' defense missed tackles on three of the Packers' first four plays from scrimmage as Rodgers guided his squad deep into St. Louis territory.

The drive stalled after a holding penalty on tight end Jermichael Finley, and the Packers settled for a 34-yard field goal from Crosby.

The Rams moved into Green Bay territory on their opening offensive possession, but Fisher opted to run a play instead of attempting a 53-yard field goal on fourth-and-5.

Austin was tackled after catching a 2-yard pass.

The Packers took possession and again marched into St. Louis territory.

Green Bay came away with no points as Rodgers was off the mark on what probably would have been a TD pass to a wide-open Finley and Tavecchio was wide left on a 49-yard field goal attempt.

Bradford connected with Givens on a 57-yard bomb down the middle of the field, putting the ball at Green Bay 4.

The Rams failed to capitalize on the opportunity.

On fourth-and-goal from the Green Bay 1, Bradford mishandled the exchange from center Scott Wells. Green Bay's Evan Dietrich-Smith recovered the ball.

A sack by Robert Quinn stopped another long drive by the Packers, but Crosby kicked a 48-yard field goal to put his team ahead 6-0 early in the second quarter.

Cook caught a short pass and turned it into a 37-yard gain in the second quarter.

It was Cook's first reception of the preseason.

"It was good to get a catch in," said Cook, who was signed to a five-year, $35.1 million contract as a free agent this offseason. "I wish we had a little more time to prove what the offense can do, but I understand it's a stepping stone and we're still building.

"We've still got two games left, so we'll get ready for the regular season."

A 38-yard field goal by Tavecchio with two seconds left in the second quarter gave the Packers a 9-0 lead at halftime.

In the third quarter, Rams quarterback Kellen Clemens had a ball tipped at the defensive line and intercepted by Jarrett Bush at the St. Louis 29.

The turnover led to a 30-yard field goal by Crosby. The kick was partially blocked by Cody Davis, but still went through the uprights.

The Packers made a major gaffe when Brandon Smith let a punt by the Rams' Johnny Hecker bounce and hit him in the side as he was blocking. Darian Stewart fell on the ball at the Green Bay 10.

Once again the Rams were kept off the scoreboard as Clemens was intercepted by Johnny Jolly in the end zone. Jolly returned the ball to the Green Bay 8.

Quarterback B.J. Coleman threw a 9-yard pass to Jake Stoneburner to extend the Packers' lead to 19-0 in the fourth quarter.

The Rams were penalized nine times for 52 yards. They were flagged three times for illegal formation and Chris Long was flagged twice for defensive offsides in the first quarter.

Contact reporter Steve Korte at skorte@bnd.com or 239-2522.

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