Both Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rdogers, left, and coach Mike McCarthy know their team can improve, but they're still going to enjoy Sunday's 24-3 victory over the St. Louis Rams at Lambeau Field. Corey Wilson/Press-Gazette
It was just another ho-hum victory for the unbeaten Green Bay Packers.
They produced fewer total yards and first downs than the winless St. Louis Rams, lost the time of possession battle and got shut out in the second half on Sunday afternoon at Lambeau Field.
Yet for all those so-called struggles, the Packers never were threatened in their methodical 24-3 beatdown of the Rams.
Don’t call this an ugly victory, because the Packers showed flashes of brilliance and dominance.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers broke the Rams’ back with three second-quarter touchdown passes. Then the defense, despite allowing more than 400 yards, held up its end of the bargain by keeping the Rams out of the end zone.
“It’s not going to be pretty and perfect all the time, but hopefully it’s effective,” cornerback Tramon Williams said. “And it’s been effective.”
While the Packers are still looking for a perfect performance, they will gladly settle for perfection in the standings.
At 6-0, they are the only unbeaten team still standing in the NFL and have matched their best start since 1965.
No, they weren’t perfect, but they were as efficient and effective as they needed to be.
The offense looked lethargic in the second half, with four consecutive punts followed by an interception.
“It’s a feeling of minor disappointment I think in that locker room,” Rodgers said. “In the second half, we just struggled offensively, and that’s frustrating.”
But the offense did all the damage that was necessary in the second quarter. The heads of helpless Rams defenders were spinning when James Jones, Jordy Nelson and Donald Driver caught touchdown passes in a frenetic 12-minute span.
Is it so bad that the Packers didn’t extend their commanding halftime lead and wind up winning by 40 points?
When it was suggested the Packers must do a better job of finishing games, coach Mike McCarthy simply pointed to the scoreboard.
“We won by three touchdowns,” McCarthy said. “You can spin this any way you want. I’m clearly in tune with the things we could have done better. The last time I checked, when you win by three touchdowns, that’s a pretty significant win. Our defense kept them out of the end zone all day.”
The Packers have become so good that a 21-point victory isn’t good enough in some circles.
But in the only place that matters — the win column — the Packers are well beyond good.
They win coming from behind. They win playing from ahead. They win on the road. They win at home. They win outdoors. They win in domes.
It doesn’t matter where they play or who the opponent is. They know what needs to be done and how to do it.
When you’ve accomplished something that hasn’t been done around here since Vince Lombardi stalked the sideline, that’s saying something.
“I think you have to enjoy the wins because it’s tough to win in this league,” Rodgers said. “At the same time we have long-term goals and we really have a lot of confidence in the guys we’ve got and we need to play better.”
They can afford to get nit-picky about a lopsided victory. There are 10 regular-season games remaining and still much to accomplish.
But for now, they couldn’t be in a better position.
“We’re 6-0 and we still have a lot of room for improvement,” Rodgers said.
That’s an encouraging sign for the Packers, and a daunting one for the rest of the NFL.
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