Green Bay Packers hold off flailing LA Rams to keep playoff hopes afloat

AJ Dillon ran for two scores, Aaron Rodgers threw a touchdown pass to Aaron Jones and the Green Bay Packers kept their playoff hopes afloat with a 24-12 victory over the Los Angeles Rams on Monday night.

Dillon put Green Bay (6-8) ahead for good with a tiebreaking eight-yard touchdown run in the second quarter and also scored from one yard out in the third period. He ran for 36 yards on 11 carries before leaving the game midway through the second half to be evaluated for a concussion.

Rodgers went 22 of 30 for 229 yards with a touchdown and interception to win his ninth straight Monday Night Football start. The longest MNF winning streak by any starting quarterback is owned by Kenny Stabler, who won 11 straight from 1975 through 1980.

The four-time MVP’s lone touchdown pass was a seven-yarder to Jones, who rushed for 90 yards and had four catches for 36 yards.

Rodgers’ latest Monday night victory came in freezing conditions. The temperature was 15F (-9C) with a wind chill of 7 just before the opening kickoff.

The Rams (4-10) have matched the highest loss total by any defending Super Bowl champions. When John Elway retired after leading Denver to consecutive Super Bowl titles in the 1997 and 1998 seasons, the Broncos finished 6-10 in 1999.

Los Angeles played this game without several notable injured players, including three-time defensive player of the year Aaron Donald and All-Pro receiver Cooper Kupp. Quarterback Baker Mayfield made his first Rams start with injuries sidelining Matthew Stafford and John Wolford.

Mayfield had rallied the Rams to a 17-16 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders on 8 December, less than 48 hours after they had claimed him off waivers from Carolina. Mayfield wasn’t as effective Monday, going 12 of 21 for 111 yards with a touchdown and interception.

He was sacked five times while working behind an offensive line missing center Brian Allen, who injured a calf on the game’s first play from scrimmage. Preston Smith recorded two sacks for Green Bay.

The Rams also Got field goals of 33 and 55 yards from Matt Gay, who also sent an extra-point attempt wide right. Gay’s 55-yarder matched the third-longest field goal anyone has ever made at Lambeau Field.

Mason Crosby had a 34-yard field goal for Green Bay while playing his 255th consecutive regular-season game to tie Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre for the longest streak in franchise history.

After Gay and Crosby traded field goals early in the game, Green Bay pulled ahead thanks mainly to Dillon, the 6ft, 247lb running back whose bruising style thrives in this type of weather.

Facing fourth-and-3 from the 17, the Packers passed up a field-goal attempt and instead handed the ball to Dillon, who ran for 4 yards. Dillon then put Green Bay ahead for good with an 8-yard touchdown run in which he pushed Rams defenders backward for the last yard or so.

The Packers led 10-6 at halftime and broke the game open by scoring touchdowns on their first two drives of the second half. Rodgers’ seven-yard touchdown pass to Jones put the Packers ahead 24-6.

Los Angeles cut the lead to 24-12 on Mayfield’s eight-yard completion to Tyler Higbee, the first touchdown catch by a Rams tight end this season.