Packers rely on their defense to beat Rams

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Green Bay Packers' defense no longer looks like a liability.

After years of being the team’s weak link, defensive coordinator Dom Capers’ unit turned in another impressive performance in Sunday’s 24-10 win over the St. Louis Rams at Lambeau Field.

The Packers intercepted Rams quarterback Nick Foles four times, including a pick rookie cornerback Quinten Rollins returned 45 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter. Rollins sealed the win with his second interception of the game.

The Packers' pass rush has been borderline dominant the past three games, with 16 sacks.

What it means: The Packers can win even when Aaron Rodgers turns the ball over, which, shockingly, he did three times (two interceptions and a fumble). It was Rodgers’ first three-turnover game since Week 9 of the 2009 season against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

What were they thinking?: Special teams coordinator Ron Zook talked this past week about the Rams’ propensity for trick plays, so you would think the Packers would’ve been ready for one in the third quarter, when St. Louis ran a fake punt. But backup cornerback Demetri Goodson couldn’t stay on his feet when St. Louis punter Johnny Hecker lofted a pass to safety Cody Davis that went for a 20-yard gain. In the fourth quarter, Packers tight end Richard Rodgers cost his team three points because he was called for illegal hands to the face on a 47-yard field goal attempt. It would’ve given the Packers a 24-10 lead with 11:46 to play. Instead, Green Bay had to punt with an 11-point lead. Earlier, another special teams gaffe by Jeff Janis turned what should have been a Tim Masthay punt downed at the 1 into a touchback.

One reason to be optimistic: The Packers are finally starting to get some big plays from former first-round pick Datone Jones. The backup defensive end pressured Foles into the first-quarter interception Rollins returned for a touchdown. Then, in the third quarter, Jones blocked a 50-yard field goal attempt.

One reason to panic: The Packers don’t have enough offensive weapons to miss big-play opportunities, which made Richard Rodgers' drop of what might have been a 30-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter excruciating. On a rare day when Aaron Rodgers turned the ball over, the Packers could’ve used a play like that from their tight end.

Fantasy watch: We’ve said it before, but we’ll say it again: Where would the Packers be without James Jones? With the offense going nowhere, Jones broke free for a 65-yard catch-and-run touchdown in the third quarter. It was Jones’ fifth touchdown catch of the season. Jones' touchdown was the longest play the Packers have run from scrimmage this season. It was a short pass that Jones caught at the Rams’ 48-yard line, and the 31-year-old outran everyone to the end zone.

Ouch: On the same day the Packers got right tackle Bryan Bulaga back after he missed three weeks to a knee injury, they lost right guard T.J. Lang to the same injury. He was taken to the locker room on a cart and did not return. Two other defensive players also dropped out and did not return: OLB Nick Perry (shoulder) and NT B.J. Raji (groin).

What’s next: The Packers have one more game before their bye, at home next Sunday against the San Diego Chargers. Following the bye, they have consecutive road games at Denver and Carolina.