The Green Bay Packers dominated a backup quarterback — as expected — during a 20-3 win over the Los Angeles Rams. Although the Packers were missing four preferred Week 1 starters and lost Kenny Clark in the first half, the defensive performance is easy to dismiss given the inexperience of Brett Rypien and the drizzly conditions at Lambeau Field.
Was the win fool’s gold? Beating a 3-5 team missing its veteran quarterback at home in poor weather probably won’t be season-changing for the Packers.
The 2023 season is about development and progress. And although the Packers offense had only 10 points through three quarters and finished with just 20, signs of progress were everywhere.
Let’s celebrate some progress made:
— The Packers scored a first half touchdown for the first time since Week 2.
— Jordan Love completed 20 of 26 passes, and one incompletion was a drop and another was a throwaway. His 79.6 completion percentage was a season high.
— Aaron Jones got a season-high 24 touches. Add in 10 touches for A.J. Dillon and the Packers running duo handled the ball 34 times. Overall, Packers running backs gained 185 total yards.
— Love was under pressure on just seven of 31 dropbacks. He took four sacks, officially, but one was off a backwards lateral out of bounds and another was 100 percent on the quarterback. The offensive pass protected well.
— Tight end Luke Musgrave had two explosive plays — a 25-yard catch setting up a score and a 20-yard touchdown, his first career score.
— Love hit 2-of-3 passes beyond 20 yards and 6-of-8 beyond 10, although one of his misses was an underthrown deep ball that should have been a Christian Watson touchdown.
— Love snapped a five-game streak with an interception. He did not have a turnover worthy play.
— The Packers converted eight third downs or fourth downs and would have finished with 10 or more had Jon Runyan Jr. not been penalized for offsides on back-to-back successful quarterback sneaks on fourth down.
— Love was consistent and effective operating from clean pockets, and he also made two tough throws against pressure, including an 18-yarder to Wicks and the 37-yarder to Watson.
— The Packers had only two three-and-outs over 12 possessions.
The question now: Was this real progress that can be sustained and built upon in the coming weeks, or was it a mirage fueled by playing an opponent that could hardly get a first down? The Packers will soon find out. They’ll play the Steelers, Chargers, Lions and Chiefs in the next four weeks. Sunday’s performance against the Rams was exactly what the Packers offense needed in terms of building confidence entering this stretch, and if success can be sustained, especially over the next four games, the win over the Rams will look like an important turning point for the Packers offense. Progress is a non-linear journey, but at least the Packers took a long-awaited step forward on Sunday.