Rams-Packers takeaways: Sean McVay won't admit Matt Stafford needs to play better

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  • Matthew Stafford
    Matthew Stafford
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|
  • Sean McVay
    American football coach
  • Jared Goff
    Jared Goff
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|
Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay, center, talks with quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) during warmups prior to an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2021, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)
Rams coach Sean McVay, center, talks with quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) and receiver Cooper Kupp (10) during warmups before a game against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday at Lambeau Field. (Kamil Krzaczynski / Associated Press)

The Rams’ record fell to 7-4 after a 36-28 loss to the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.

Here’s what we learned:

Sean McVay won’t criticize Matthew Stafford

Stafford once again turned over the ball twice. He lost a fumble that the Packers quickly converted into a touchdown, and he had an interception returned for a touchdown for the third game in a row.

Not coincidentally, the Rams’ losing streak reached three games.

Former quarterback Jared Goff had some head-scratching streaks of errors during his five seasons with the Rams. He lost fumbles that exasperated fans and McVay — but he never threw a pick-six in three straight games.

McVay eventually tired of it and called out Goff, saying, “our quarterback’s got to take better care of the football.”

But McVay apparently won’t go there with Stafford, a 13th-year pro. Every one of his six turnovers in the last three games, McVay said, had a different narrative.

That makes perfect sense, but the same could have been said about Goff’s mistakes.

Odell Beckham Jr. can go deep

Rams receiver Odell Beckham Jr. shakes hands with a fan before the game.
Rams receiver Odell Beckham Jr. greets fans at Lambeau Field before the game. (Jeffrey Phelps / Associated Press)

In his second game with the Rams, Beckham scored his first touchdown on a 54-yard strike from Stafford.

Beckham was targeted 10 times and caught five passes for 81 yards.

The Rams still miss receiver Robert Woods, who caught passes and eagerly performed less-glamorous tasks that helped make the offense go. But Beckham showed that he can provide a big-play option.

The star-studded defensive front has yet to live up to expectations

Aaron Donald is a three-time NFL defensive player of year and future Hall of Famer. Von Miller is also no doubt bound for the Hall of Fame. And Leonard Floyd is a rising star.

But their second game together was no sack-fest.

All got hits on Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, but he was sacked only once by tackle Greg Gaines.

It marked the second time in as many games that the opposing quarterback got the ball out quick and avoided poor decisions that might have led to interceptions.

Other teams are successfully scheming around Jalen Ramsey

Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey pursues Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey pursues Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. (Jeffrey Phelps / Associated Press)

The Rams star cornerback is an outstanding player — but he can’t be everywhere at once.

So Packers coach Matt LaFleur, like 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan, put the onus on less-heralded Rams players, forcing them into mismatches and mistakes.

Rodgers completed passes to nine receivers. Packers receiver Davante Adams caught eight passes for 104 yards. Cobb had four catches for 95 yards and a touchdown.

The field-goal unit has been great, but those special teams…

Matt Gay kicked two more field goals. He has made 20 of 21 attempts.

Rookie Robert Rochell provided a bright spot when he recovered a fumble by Randall Cobb on a punt return.

But J.J. Koski fumbled on a punt return. And punter Johnny Hekker was inconsistent again.

Meanwhile, Corey Bojorquez, traded by the Rams in favor of Hekker, pinned the Rams at the one-yard line with a 61-yard kick.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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