Green Bay – Aaron Rodgers set the tone.

The Packers quarterback, fractured toe and all, led by example as Green Bay rebounded from the Vikings walk-off defeat with a crucial victory, 36-28, over the Rams going into a much-needed bye week.

Green Bay, 9-3, now holds a commanding lead in the NFC North over Minnesota, 5-6, and Chicago, 4-7, and trails Arizona by half a game in the race for the NFC’s top seed.  It was announced this afternoon by the NFL that the Packers game against Baltimore, the top seed in the AFC, has been moved from a 12-noon kick-off to 3:25 p.m. on FOX to showcase the contest.

After the game, Rodgers walked gingerly across Lambeau Field to the team locker room, he waved to a throng cheering fans as he entered the tunnel.

Against an elite defense, Rodgers completed 28 of 45 passes for 307 yards and two touchdowns, spreading the ball to nine different receivers as Davante Adams recorded eight receptions for 104 yards and Randall Cobb totaled four catches for 95 yards and a touchdown in the first half.  Rodgers set the tone with a 1-yard touchdown run in the first quarter when he froze Jalen Ramsey with a pump fake and out-ran the Pro Bowl cornerback to the corner of the end zone.

Head coach Matt LaFleur praised the toughness and resolve of his future hall of fame quarterback and of his team after a hard-fought victory.  Rodgers said the decision for a possible surgery on his little toe will come today.

“He certainly was limping around a little bit, especially in the fourth quarter,” La Fleur said.  The fact that here’s a guy that prides himself on being out there, being with his teammates, he’s not missing practices for no reason. He’s definitely battling through this. I think he’s one of the toughest competitors that I’ve ever been around. I just can’t tell you enough, obviously what he means to this football team, this organization and what he provides for us.”

“It’s been a long year to go this far without a bye week, but our guys did exactly what we asked them to do.  We knew it was going to be a tough game. Have a lot of respect for the Rams.  They’ve got great players, great coaches. We knew it was going to be a four-quarter battle and it was exactly that.

“But our guys stayed focused, and we talked about emptying the tank, and I think we’re at a point where everybody is pretty exhausted, but it definitely feels good going into the bye week on a win.  I’m really proud of just the effort and guys stepping up. Guys like Yosh (Nijman).  We’ll enjoy this for a while, but we also know there’s a lot of ball in front of us and we have to take advantage of each and every day when we’re back in this building.  It’s never easy in this league, but you definitely appreciate the times when you win hard-fought football games.”

There were plenty of heroes, from Dillon, Adams, and Cobb to an offensive line that won the battle in the trenches against Aaron Donald and a formidable Los Angeles defensive front.  On defense, Krys Barnes led the way with nine total tackles, and Kenny Clark and De’Vondre Campbell were standouts in creating three turnovers.

Cornerback Rasul Douglas, a former practice-squad player in Arizona, continues to make plays in a Green Bay secondary devoid of Jaire Alexander and Kevin King.

First, it was a game-clinching end-zone interception against the Cardinals last month.  Sunday, Douglas’ first NFL touchdown was a game-changer.  He jumped the route on Matthew Stafford’s pass intended for Cooper Kupp and returned it 33 yards for a commanding 36-17 lead late in the third quarter.  Douglas, who gave up a 54-yard touchdown to Odell Beckham, Jr., and dropped a potential interception in the fourth quarter, finished with five total tackles and a career-high four passes defended.

“Rasul has been a huge pick up for us and you have to give credit to ‘Gutey’ (GM Brian Gutekunst) and his staff for finding him,” LaFleur said.  “I just love how he competes. You see it play in and play out. The guy is so competitive. You see it in practice every day. Obviously, he’s made two plays that have had a major impact on games this year. There are multiple other plays that he’s made that have really impacted games, but obviously, the two that come to mind are Arizona and then tonight having a pick-six. It seemed like there were other opportunities out there for him to have another interception, but I think he had four PBUs (pass breakups), five tackles, and am just really proud of his effort. I think our guys have really embraced him and took him in and we’re lucky to have a guy like that. It’s rare to find a guy like that midseason.”

Mason Crosby’s recent struggles have been well-chronicled, but the veteran kicker successfully converted field goals attempts from 45, 28, and 29 yards and kicked three extra points to total a game-high 12 points, the margin of victory.  The only blemish was a 42-yarder Crosby clanged off the left upright that could have iced the game with 3:09 remaining.

The bye week affords a week of rest for the players to recharge for the final December-January stretch run, while the Packers coaching staff will self-scout to prepare for the Chicago Bears on Dec. 12th.

“All things considered, we’ve battled through a lot of adversity certainly,” LaFleur said.  “There’s room for improvement in all three phases, which is always exciting, and we know there’s a lot of challenges left in front of us. When we’re back in this building, we need to attack it on a daily basis, which I think our guys embrace and they take that to heart. We never look too far in front of us. We always try to focus on and stay as present as possible and our guys have that mentality, and I think that’s the mentality that it takes to win games in this league.”