Harris has unhappy homecoming, gets burned in Rams’ loss to Packers
Monday, October 17, 2011
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — So much for Al Harris’ happy homecoming.
The veteran cornerback wound up on the losing end of the biggest play of the day in the St. Louis Rams’ 24-3 loss to the unbeaten Packers on Sunday. Harris, known for his aggressive brand of coverage during his time in Green Bay, bit on a route by Jordy Nelson in the second quarter and Aaron Rodgers delivered an easy throw that turned into a 93-yard touchdown.
The Rams (0-5) remain winless, and any hopes of a quick turnaround appear to be fading.
“I am at a loss for words,” Harris said. “The things that happened out there shouldn’t happen on that level. Until we overcome that, it is going to be an uphill battle. We will continue to fight, but you have to play near-perfect ball and that is just something that we aren’t doing right now.”
Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo doesn’t think the season is lost, and isn’t interested in talking about moral victories.
“(We’ve) got guys in there in believing,” Spagnuolo said. “We are not accepting losing and there are no moral victories. The motto is still going to be to get better. We are going to reach a certain point and turn this thing around.”
Sam Bradford was 28-of-44 for 321 yards with an interception for the Rams, who were coming off their bye week. Bradford’s ankle was sore afterward but didn’t seem overly concerned about the injury.
He seemed more concerned about the team’s ability to score in the red zone.
“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.”
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. “We don’t accept losing and we don’t take any moral victories.”
Rodgers threw for 310 yards for the Packers (6-0). James Jones and Donald Driver also caught touchdowns from Rodgers, although the Packers offense hit a lull and didn’t score in the second half.
The defending Super Bowl champions are the only remaining undefeated team after Detroit lost to San Francisco.
The Rams were able to run up some yards early on, but potential scoring drives fizzled because of penalties and big plays by the Packers defense.
St. Louis drove to the Green Bay 23 on its first drive, but tight end Lance Kendricks was called for a false start. The Rams settled for a field goal attempt, and Josh Brown missed from 47 yards.
Green Bay took over and drove for a 32-yard Mason Crosby field goal.
Facing a fourth-and-3 play near the end of the first quarter, the Rams went for it and Bradford threw incomplete. The Packers got the ball back and gambled on fourth down as well, going for it on fourth-and-1 at the 50. James Starks burst through the line for a 15-yard gain.
Rodgers showed his mastery of play action on the next play, faking a handoff to Starks on the right side, rolling to his left and delivering a perfect pass to Jones in the end zone for a 35-yard touchdown and 10-0 lead.
After a Rams punt pinned the Packers at their own 7, Rodgers got the best of former teammate Al Harris on his big play to Nelson. Rodgers got the veteran cornerback to bite on a fake and then threw a rainbow to the wide-open Nelson for an easy score and a 17-0 lead.
Rodgers put together another drive toward the end of the second quarter, capitalizing on the threat of his running ability to finish it off. On second-and-goal at the 7, Rodgers appeared to make a run for the end zone — then pulled up and flipped the ball to Driver for a touchdown with 1:51 left before halftime.
Bradford took a beating on the Rams’ final drive of the half thanks to a couple of hard hits by Clay Matthews, but St. Louis drove for a 36-yard field goal by Brown. Green Bay led 24-3 at the half.
Wide receiver Mike Sims-Walker and linebacker Ben Leber were inactive for St. Louis. Neither player was listed on the team’s injury report this week.
“We weren’t trying to send any messages,” Spagnuolo said. “We just put out the guys out there that we thought would help us win the game.”