What to Watch Answered
Sunday, October 8, 2006
By Nick Wagoner
GREEN BAY, Wis.-
1. Finding Favre Ė Packers quarterback Brett Favre is still among the best to ever play the game, but he has struggled with turnovers and bad decisions in recent years. The Rams must find a way to continue their turnover turnaround and take advantage of any Favre miscues.
ANSWER: The Rams found themselves in the unenviable position of allowing Favre the ball with a chance to win the game. Somehow, the defense came up with the right time for a turnover as defensive end Leonard Little forced a fumble that was recovered by cornerback Jerametrius Butler to ice the game with 36 seconds to go. Other than that, Favre was solid if unspectacular. He finished 22-of-39 for 220 yards with a touchdown for a rating of 81.1.
2. Lambeau Mystique Ė Itís easy to fall into the trap of getting caught up in your surroundings when you play at a place like Lambeau Field. All of that psychological stuff might not mean much elsewhere, but it matters at Lambeau. The Rams must focus on execution and not make silly mistakes such as false starts and other costly penalties.
ANSWER: Itís unclear whether it was the Lambeau mystique or not, but the Rams had 10 penalties for 78 yards. On the flip side, they didnít have as many issues with the yellow flags in the second half and did not turn the ball over once again.
3. Aerial Attack Ė The Ramsí passing game has taken off in the past two weeks and the Packers have one of the worst pass defenses in the league. That combination would seem to leave the Pack ripe for the picking. Itís up to quarterback Marc Bulger and his receiving corps to continue to build on the performance of the past two weeks.
ANSWER: Once again, Bulger was solid. He didnít light up the Wisconsin sky like he did the Edward Jones Dome last week, but he finished with good numbers, going 18-of-28 for 220 yards with a pair of touchdowns for a rating of 112.2. More important, he didnít throw any interceptions again and set a franchise record for consecutive attempts without a pick. And, most important, he added a fourth victory to his record as the starter this season.
4. Covering Koren Ė Packers receiver Koren Robinson is among the leagueís finest returners, going to the Pro Bowl last year in that capacity. The Rams are 31st in the league in covering kicks, but added Isaiah Kacyvenski on Tuesday to help boost that unit. Field position is always important, but especially on the road. The Rams must limit Robinsonís output.
ANSWER: The wind played a major factor in the kicking game, but Robinson was much more of a factor in the receiving game than as a returner. The Rams covered kicks much better, with a 22-yard effort from Robinson serving as the long for the day. He finished with two returns for 44 yards.
5. Green Bayís Green Line Ė The Packers offensive line is young or inexperienced almost all the way across the line and that youth can be exploited in the form of sacks. Getting pressure on Favre can also lead to more takeaways. Expect defensive coordinator Jim Haslett to throw a variety of blitzes and looks at the line in an effort to get big plays.
ANSWER: The Rams didnít get to Favre as much as they would have liked, but they got to him when it counted most. Defensive end Leonard Little had a sack and forced Favre to fumble to preserve the Ramsí victory.