Monday, October 17, 2011
Sports News

Packers are NFL's only unbeaten after topping Rams

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[October 17, 2011]  GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -- Don't expect Charles Woodson and the Green Bay Packers' defense to beat themselves up for letting the winless St. Louis Rams pile up yards.

Woodson worries first about points and wins -- and the Packers were just about perfect on both counts Sunday.

Despite giving up 424 yards of offense, Green Bay's defense shut St. Louis out of the end zone in a 24-3 victory that kept the Packers perfect at 6-0.

"Does anybody want to give up a lot of yards? No. But the goal is to win," Woodson said. "We held them to three points today, kept them out of the end zone, which is a goal of ours. There's places where we can get better, we feel like we'll get better, and we'll enjoy this win today."

With Sunday's loss by NFC North rival Detroit, the Packers are the last unbeaten team left in the NFL this season.

But the Packers' defense hasn't been flawless.

Green Bay has been tough in the red zone and made plenty of big plays. But the Packers are having a hard time stopping teams between the 20s. It happened again Sunday.

Sam Bradford was 28 of 44 for 321 yards with an interception for the Rams (0-5). Bradford said moving the ball but failing to score was becoming an unsettling trend for St. Louis.

"It is something that we struggle with all year," Bradford said. "There have been several games that we have been able to move the ball up and down and we get to the red zone, we have silly mistakes that don't allow us to put the ball in the end zone. In this league, if you want to win, you got to score touchdowns."

Bradford's ankle was sore after the game, but he said he wasn't hurt badly.

Rams running back Steven Jackson had 18 carries for 96 yards.

"For whatever reason, we get into the red zone, we keep shooting ourselves in the foot," Jackson said.

The Packers held the Rams to 3 for 13 on third down and 1 for 4 when they went for it on fourth -- more indications that the Packers' defense tightens up when it needs to.

"You give some things, but you buckle down in the times when you're supposed to and get yourself off the field," Woodson said. "I think we had a couple of fourth downs today where we got off the field. Those are the type of things that we're going to have to do during the season. When games are tougher than they are today, you're going to have to make plays and get off the field in crucial situations. And today we did."

Bradford said the Rams have to find ways to avoid getting backed into third-and-long situations.

"It is not easy to pick first downs up when you get yourself into that situation," Bradford said. "When you do it with penalties, it becomes very frustrating. We got to figure out a way, whether it is my communications skills or whether it is guys just tuning in, we've got to figure out a way on first and second down not put ourselves in such a bad situation."

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The Packers' offense took control in the second quarter, as Aaron Rodgers threw touchdowns to James Jones, Jordy Nelson and Donald Driver. But Green Bay's offense hit a lull and didn't score in the second half.

"It's a feeling of minor disappointment, I think, in that locker room," Rodgers said. "We just, in the second half, offensively just struggled. The second quarter was great, we put up a lot of points. I think it's encouraging at the same time. It's tough to win in this league, we're 6-0, and have a lot of room for improvement."

Packers coach Mike McCarthy had a mixed reaction to the victory. He bristled at questions about the offense being shut out in the second half, saying, "the last time I checked, when you win by three touchdowns, that's a pretty significant win."

But McCarthy also said the team isn't anywhere near where it wants to be.

"You have to be running on all cylinders, and we're not there yet," McCarthy said. "So fortunately, we're 6-0. We'll continue to work to get there."

NOTES: Wide receiver Mike Sims-Walker and linebacker Ben Leber were inactive for St. Louis. Neither was listed on the team's injury report this week. "We weren't trying to send any messages," Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo said. "We just put our the guys out there that we thought would help us win the game." ... It was the Packers' last home game for nearly a month. ... Packers cornerback Sam Shields sustained a head injury after he picked off a Bradford pass in the end zone and was hit hard. McCarthy said Shields was still being evaluated after the game.

[Associated Press; By CHRIS JENKINS]

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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