GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — The Los Angeles Rams already had a losing record even before Matthew Stafford got hurt.
Their performance in rainy conditions Sunday showcased how much worse they are without their veteran Super Bowl-winning quarterback.
With Stafford unavailable because of a thumb injury, the Rams failed to reach the end zone against Green Bay’s injury-riddled defense. Brett Rypien took over for Stafford and went 13 of 28 for 130 yards with two turnovers as the Rams fell 20-3 for their third straight loss.
“I’m not really sure what to think right now,” Rypien said. “All I know that that was clearly not good enough.”
Stafford hadn’t practiced all week after spraining a ligament in his right thumb in a 43-20 loss at Dallas.
Rypien said he didn’t learn for sure that he’d be starting until Friday but had a pretty good idea beforehand because Stafford couldn’t grip the ball.
Rams coach Sean McVay said after the game that Stafford is making “good progress” in his recovery.
The Rams (3-6) don’t play next week before hosting the Seattle Seahawks on Nov. 19.
“Whenever we get him back, we’ll certainly be excited about that,” McVay said. “Hopefully it’s when we come back and play Seattle, but I can’t give you any updates as it relates to exactly where he’s at.”
Rypien entered Sunday with a 2-1 record in his three previous starts, two in 2020 and one last year with the Denver Broncos. He struggled to deal with the conditions at Lambeau Field as it rained intermittently, leading him to put on a glove and change into studded cleats during the game.
The weather caused the biggest issue when Rypien lost a fumble that led to Green Bay’s first touchdown, a 3-yard run by Aaron Jones that put the Packers (3-5) ahead for good early in the second quarter.
Rypien mishandled a snap, picked the ball up and tried to roll to his right when Jonathan Owens sacked him to force a fumble. De’Vondre Campbell's 3-yard fumble return gave the Packers the ball at the Rams 41-yard line.
“After that under-center fumble where the ball kind of slipped out of my right hand there, they were able to get me a glove,” Rypien said. “Then I slipped on one of the play passes coming out of it, trying to step up or ended up getting sacked, so I put on the studded cleats. It wasn’t like terrible today, so I don’t think you can use that as an excuse.”
Green Bay’s defense was dealing with its own issues.
The Packers were missing injured linebacker Quay Walker, cornerback Eric Stokes and safeties Darnell Savage and Rudy Ford. They were playing their first game since trading cornerback Rasul Douglas to Buffalo. Defensive tackle Kenny Clark left in the first half with a shoulder injury.
Los Angeles couldn’t capitalize.
The Rams’ only points came on a 52-yard field goal from Lucas Havrisik late in the first half. Green Bay lost fumbles on each of its first two second-half possessions, but the Rams failed to score after each of them.
Green Bay converted Rypien’s two turnovers into 10 points. Anders Carlson kicked a 34-yard field goal in the fourth quarter after Rypien's pass was intercepted by Anthony Johnson Jr., who was making his first career start as one of two rookie seventh-round draft picks in Green Bay’s first-team secondary.
“I did really feel like I had a great week of practice, probably my best I’ve had going into a start,” Rypien said. “It’s frustrating to say the least.”
That young Green Bay secondary managed to hold the Rams’ standout receivers in check. Rookie Puka Nacua, who played after being listed as questionable with a knee issue, has three catches for 32 yards. Cooper Kupp had two receptions for 48 yards.
Kupp struggled to explain the reasons for the offense’s recent shortcomings.
“I don’t think there’s an easy answer to that,” Kupp said. “If there was an easy answer, we’ve got people that are confident and very smart minds in our building. If the answer was easy, we would have fixed it by now. I think we have to come back to work and just being ready to go and being critical of ourselves here.”
Los Angeles’ upcoming bye week gives the Rams extra time to sort out their issues. Their performance Sunday showed they could use the time off.
“Today was a humbling day,” McVay said.
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