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Matthew Stafford’s struggles continue as Rams’ losing streak grows to three games

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Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford fumbles during the first half against the Packers.
Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford fumbles during the first half of a 36-28 loss to the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on Sunday.
(Matt Ludtke / Associated Press)

Matthew Stafford and the Rams struggled to find consistency on offense as costly turnovers and miscues added up to a loss to the Green Bay Packers.

Rams lose to Packers 36-28 for their third consecutive loss

Rams linebacker Troy Reeder and cornerback Jalen Ramsey break up a pass intended for Green Bay wide receiver Davante Adams.
Rams linebacker Troy Reeder, left, and cornerback Jalen Ramsey, center, break up a pass intended for Green Bay wide receiver Davante Adams during the second half.
(Morry Gash / Associated Press)

If it happened once, consider it a mistake. An aberration.

When it occurs twice in row, perhaps that’s a coincidence. Maybe bad luck.

Three consecutive games?

That’s a trend.

And make no mistake: The Rams and quarterback Matthew Stafford are trending downward.

On Sunday against the Green Bay Packers, for the third time in three games, Stafford committed two costly turnovers. For the third game in a row, an opponent returned an interception for a touchdown.

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers reacts after beating the Rams on Sunday.
(Matt Ludtke / Associated Press)

And the Rams lost, 36-28, before a crowd of 77,948 at Lambeau Field, extending their losing streak to three games.

The Rams, a star-laden team once regarded among the favorites to play in Super Bowl LVI at Sofi Stadium, instead dropped to 7-4 and fell further off the pace for a favorable NFC playoff seed.

At this point, with six games left, the playoffs also could be in doubt unless the Rams return to a semblance of their early season form.

“We’ve got six left for sure,” coach Sean McVay said. “That’s a lot of football and the story isn’t written yet.

“We’ve got the pen.”

McVay might have been tempted to poke himself in the eye with an implement after watching his hand-picked veteran quarterback put the Rams in what proved to be another insurmountable hole.

Stafford lost a fumble in the first quarter, and the Packers converted the miscue into a touchdown for a lead they never relinquished. After Stafford led the Rams back to within 13 points late in the third quarter, Packers cornerback Rasul Douglas picked off a pass and returned it for a touchdown.

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Odell Beckham Jr. scores on 54-yard TD catch to give Rams hope

Packers 36, Rams 25 — 14:52 fourth quarter

Matthew Stafford and Odell Beckham Jr. made their first big connection.

Stafford and Beckham combined for a 54-yard touchdown pass on the first play of the fourth quarter. Stafford then fired a two-point conversion pass to Cooper Kupp.

Stafford has completed 13 of 23 passes for 226 yards and three touchdowns, with an interception.

Beckham has three catches for 67 yards.

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Matthew Stafford struggling, throws a pick-six for the third consecutive game

Packers 36, Rams 17 — 1:52 third quarter

Packers cornerback Rasul Douglas intercepted a pass by Matthew Stafford and returned it 33 yards for a touchdown.

It was the third time in three games that Stafford had an interception returned for a touchdown.

Stafford has completed only nine of 18 passes for 154 yards and two touchdowns, with an interception. He also lost a fumble.

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Packers tack on another field goal to take 30-17 lead

Packers 30, Rams 17 — 2:28 third quarter

Mason Crosby kicked a 29-yard field goal that increased the Packers lead.

But it was a victory of sorts for the Rams defense because they helped the team avert disaster.

The Packers were poised to possibly put away the game after Rams punt returner J.J. Koski lost a fumble.

But the Packers could not convert the turnover into a touchdown

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Packers open second half with scoring drive to extend their lead

Packers 27, Rams 17 — 7:18 third quarter

The Packers started the second half with a 75-yard drive scoring drive that featured Aaron Rodgers’ 28-yard pass to Marquez Valdes-Scantling, a fourth-down pass to tight end Josiah Deguara and a five-yard touchdown pass to running back AJ Dillon.

Rodgers has completed 21 of 31 passes for 264 yards and two touchdowns. He also has rushed for a touchdown.

Packers receiver Randall Cobb, who has four catches for 95 yards a touchdown, was ruled out of the game because of a groin injury.

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Rams trail Packers 20-17 at halftime

Packers 20, Rams 17 — Halftime

The Rams started slow but Matthew Stafford rebounded with two touchdown passes to keep the Rams within striking distance.

Stafford, who lost a first-quarter fumble, has completed nine of 14 passes for 154 yards and two touchdowns, a 79-yard catch-and-run by receiver Van Jefferson and six-yard touchdown catch by running back Darrell Henderson.

Henderson has rushed for 33 yards in nine carries.

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has completed 15 of 24 passes for 199 yards and a touchdown.

Randall Cobb has four catches for 95 yards and a touchdown. Davante Adams has five receptions for 80 yards.

Aaron Jones has rushed for 25 yards in eight carries.

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Rams strike back with Matthew Stafford to Darrell Henderson touchdown

Packers 20, Rams 17 — 1:28 second quarter

Cooper Kupp finally got going.

Matthew Stafford connected with Kupp on passes of 22 and 19 yards during an eight-play, 75-yard scoring drive that Stafford capped with a six-yard touchdown pass to running back Darrell Henderson.

Stafford has completed nine of 14 passes for 154 yards and two touchdowns.

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Aaron Rodgers finds Randall Cobb in the end zone to cap quick drive

Packers 20, Rams 10 — 4:21 second quarter

Aaron Rodgers fired a seven-yard touchdown pass to Randall Cobb to finish a six-play, 89-yard scoring drive.

The key play was a 43-yard strike from Rodgers to receiver Davante Adams.

Rodgers has completed 12 of 17 passes for 176 yards and a touchdown. He also has rushed for a touchdown.

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Rams add a field goal to stay within striking distance

Packers 13, Rams 10 — 7:20 second quarter

The Rams got a turnover, but they failed to fully capitalize.

After going three and out, the Rams punted with just more than eight minutes left in the first half. Packers returner Randall Cobb caught the ball but fumbled, and Rams rookie Robert Rochell recovered the ball at the Packers 26-yard line.

But Matthew Stafford’s third-down pass intended for Odell Beckham Jr. was incomplete.

Matt Gay came on to kick a 36-yard field goal that cut the Packers’ lead to three points.

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Packers extend their lead with another Mason Crosby field goal

Packers 13, Rams 7 — 9:40 second quarter

Mason Crosby kicked a 28-yard field goal to increase the Packers lead to six points.

Aaron Rodgers connected with receiver Randall Cobb on a 54-yard catch-and-run play that put the Packers at the Rams’ 14-yard line.

But Rodgers’ third-down pass sailed through the end zone.

Rodgers has completed nine of 13 passes for 99 yards.

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Matthew Stafford and Van Jefferson connect on 79-yard TD pass

Packers 10, Rams 7 — 12:42 second quarter

Matthew Stafford came back strong.

Stafford, who lost a first-quarter fumble, connected with receiver Van Jefferson on a 79-yard touchdown pass play to cut the Packers’ lead to three points.

Stafford has passed for 25 touchdowns this season.

Stafford has completed three of six passes for 88 yards.

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Rams defense manages to limit Packers to a field goal

Packers 10, Rams 0 — 13:39 in second quarter

The Rams defense worked its way out of a tough spot and limited the Packers to Mason Crosby’s 45-yard field goal.

The Packers had stopped Rams running back Darrell Henderson on fourth-and-one at the Rams’ 29-yard line, putting pressure on the Rams defense to stop Aaron Rodgers from engineering a potential touchdown drive.

But nose tackle Greg Gaines sacked Rodgers on third down, forcing the Packers to kick the field goal.

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Matthew Stafford turnover puts Rams into an early hole

Packers 7, Rams 0 — 2:11 first quarter

Matthew Stafford avoided having an early pass intercepted, but he once again put the Rams in a hole with a turnover.

Packers linebacker Rashan Gary forced Stafford to fumble and the Packers recovered the ball at the six-yard line.

On third and goal from the one-yard line, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers faked a hand-off and rolled out to his right before crossing the goal-line for a touchdown.

It’s the third time in three games that Stafford has committed or been victimized by a first-half turnover that has led to a touchdown.

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Armed with Matthew Stafford, Sean McVay ready for showdown vs. Matt LaFleur

Rams coach Sean McVay, left, and Packers coach Matt LaFleur.
(Associated Press)

GREEN BAY, Wis. — As young assistants on Washington’s coaching staff, Sean McVay and Matt LaFleur aspired to draw up and call plays for the most talented and experienced quarterbacks in the NFL.

“We always would talk about what it would be like to coach a guy like Aaron Rodgers,” LaFleur said, “and just how … you’re basically limitless in what you want to get accomplished.”

Last season, his second as a head coach, LaFleur and Rodgers led the Packers to an NFC divisional-round victory over the Rams at Lambeau Field, triggering the Rams to move on from quarterback Jared Goff.

On Sunday, when the Rams (7-3) return to play the Packers (8-3), McVay will come armed with a veteran quarterback of his own in Matthew Stafford.

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Rams’ Matthew Stafford says playing Packers in Green Bay is a field of dreams

Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis., before the start of Sunday’s game between the Rams and Packers.
(Gary Klein / Los Angeles Times)

It will be a different sort of Thanksgiving weekend for Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford.

Before he was traded to the Rams in January, Stafford spent 12 years playing for the Detroit Lions, who play a home game on Thanksgiving Day every season.

The Rams (7-3) have a walkthrough Thursday, but they don’t play until Sunday when they take on the Green Bay Packers (8-3) at Lambeau Field.

“I loved playing on Thanksgiving for the tradition, for the game, for all of that,” Stafford said Wednesday, adding that he was always home in time for Thanksgiving dinner with his family. “It was a lot of fun having the next couple days off. You could eat leftovers and do all that fun stuff.”

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Rookie Ben Skowronek among the Rams’ inactives for Sunday

Rams wide receiver Ben Skowronek jogs on the field during a game against the Titans earlier this month.
(Ashley Landis / Associated Press)

The Rams’ receiver depth continues to be depleted.

Rookie Ben Skowronek is among the inactive players for Sunday’s game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Skowronek is dealing with a back issue.

Skowronek, a seventh-round draft pick, had played in place of Robert Woods, who suffered a season-ending knee injury during practice before the Nov. 15 defeat by the San Francisco 49ers.

The Rams receiver corps includes Cooper Kupp, Van Jefferson, Odell Beckham Jr. and J.J. Koski.

The Rams promoted receiver Landen Akers from the practice squad.

Quarterback Bryce Perkins, safety Juju Hughes, linebacker Chris Garrett, and offensive linemen Alaric Jackson and Tremayne Anchrum are inactive.

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Rams’ Odell Beckham Jr. looking to exorcise some bad Green Bay memories

Rams wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. warms up before a loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Nov. 15.
(Tony Avelar / Associated Press)

His memories of playing at Lambeau Field are not pleasant, but receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is looking forward to returning to the stadium on Sunday when the Rams play the Green Bay Packers in a game that could have NFC playoff implications.

In January 2017, on a day that featured a wind-chill factor of 4 degrees, Beckham dropped several passes in the New York Giants’ playoff loss to the Packers. The game was played less than week after Beckham and other Giants receivers had traveled to Miami on a day off, which produced headlines in the days leading up to the game.

“Terrible,” Beckham said Friday, when asked about his memory of the game. “It was one of my worst games…It was just the whole aftermath.

“The world made a thing of a thing. And it wasn’t one of my best experiences.”

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Rams vs. Green Bay Packers matchups, start time and how to watch

Breaking down how the Rams (7-3) and the Green Bay Packers (8-3) match up heading into their game at 1:25 p.m. PST on Sunday at Lambeau Field. The game will be carried on FOX.

When Rams have the ball: Matthew Stafford will try to bounce back after putting the Rams in an early hole in each of the last two games because of interceptions, two were returned for touchdowns. Stafford has passed for 24 touchdowns, with eight interceptions. He is accustomed to playing at Lambeau Field, where he had a 3-7 record during 12 seasons with the Detroit Lions.

The Rams are two weeks removed from receiver Robert Woods’ season-ending knee injury, but it remains to be seen how coach Sean McVay effectively makes up for his absence. Cooper Kupp is still Stafford’s primary target, but McVay must find a way to make Van Jefferson and Odell Beckham Jr. legitimate threats.

Beckham, with one day of practice, caught two passes in a 31-10 defeat to the San Francisco 49ers. McVay has said that working OBJ into the scheme will remain a work in progress. Rams receivers and tight end Tyler Higbee dropped multiple passes against the 49ers.

Running back Darrell Henderson has been effective but has not had much opportunity in the last two games. Packers defensive coordinator Joe Barry was a linebackers coach on McVay’s staff for four seasons. Tackle Kenny Clark and linebackers De’Vondre Campbell and Rashan Gary are key players.

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Rams vs. Green Bay Packers: NFL betting odds, lines and spread

Rams (-1, 47) at Green Bay Packers, 1:25 p.m., FOX

It is not hyperbole to say that this is an enormous week for the Rams. After looking bad against the Titans and 49ers, a strong performance on the road against one of the NFC’s best could answer a lot of questions about Sean McVay’s team.

Conditions will be tough at Lambeau Field for the game against the Green Bay Packers, as the boys from SoCal will deal with winds in the 20 mph range and wind chills in the 20s. Wind and cold are virtually impossible to replicate, so the Rams will have to roll with the punches.

There is a lot to dissect with this game and the line movement we’ve seen throughout the week. If it feels like there aren’t many reasons for optimism, you’ll want to keep reading.

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