ST. LOUIS (AP) -- A game without a touchdown pass just feels wrong to Aaron Rodgers. Never mind that it's the preseason.
The Green Bay Packers quarterback threw 39 TD passes last year and his streak of 35 consecutive games with a TD pass from 2008-12 is the second-longest in NFL history.
So, yeah, Rodgers feels a bit unfulfilled and frustrated going two games this August without reaching the end zone.
And yet, all three of his drives were productive in a 19-7 victory over the St. Louis Rams on Saturday night. All four thus far, counting the Packers' 17-0 loss to Arizona in the preseason opener.
"I would say it's preseason first, but we're working on things and we like to finish off those drives," Rodgers said after going 10 for 12 for 134 yards. "The Rams have a very good defense, we saw that last year, it was a tough game and we made some plays late to pull it out.
"But you've got to finish off those drives with TDs."
Rodgers expects to play at least a half in Week 3 at home Friday against the Seahawks. Getting to the end zone, "that's kind of the first priority," he said.
Here are five things we learned from the Packers' victory over the Rams:
1. SKILL TO SPARE: Both of Green Bay's starting wide receivers are injured, with Jordy Nelson expected back for the opener from knee surgery and Randall Cobb, who had a team-leading 80 receptions last season, dogged by a biceps injury.
So Rodgers leaned on tight end Jermichael Finley and got contributions from youngsters Jarrett Boykin and Brandon Bostick, too.
"That's the nature of competition," Rodgers said. "We've got a lot of guys hurt, banged up, and guys are playing for roster spots."
2. THIRD AND L-O-O-N-G: Adding playmakers like Tavon Austin and Jared Cook hasn't translated into instant success for the Rams' offense.
Both got involved for the first time, with Cook's 37-yard catch and run the highlight. But the Rams were 1 for 14 on third-down conversions and 0 for 3 on fourth down.
"I think we killed ourselves with penalties," quarterback Sam Bradford said. "It seemed like third-and-forever a lot of the night."
3. LACY'S PUSH: DuJuan Harris is the Packers' incumbent at running back but hasn't played in the preseason because of a knee injury. Second-round pick Eddie Lacy has capitalized on the opening, gaining 40 yards on eight carries and adding an 11-yard reception in the first half.
"Now we've got a back who has very good patience in Eddie," Rodgers said before hastening to add there are several other good backs in camp. "It's a fun competition and we'll see what happens moving forward, but Eddie had a good night."
4. KICKING IT: Mason Crosby set an NFL record with 762 points in his first six seasons, but converted a career-low 63.6 percent of his field goal attempts last year.
Coach Mike McCarthy said Crosby must beat out Giorgio Tavecchio to keep his job. Crosby was 3 for 3 in Week 2 including a 48-yarder, while Tavecchio was wide left with plenty of distance on a 49-yarder and made a 38-yarder.
"The opportunity did not present itself last week and frankly I think that it was important to get them the opportunity," McCarthy said. "We will continue to let those guys battle it out."
5. JOB ONE: Bradford got over-anxious on fourth-and-goal from the 1 and fumbled away the snap. That misplay marred an otherwise nice day, with Bradford going 8 for 12 for 156 yards and leading the Rams to zero points.
"That's on me. I just missed it," Bradford said. "I've got to make sure I have the ball before I get out of there. It's unacceptable. You can't have that happen."
CHICAGO (AP) -- Starlin Castro is continuing to find new ways to make 2013 the worst season in his young career.
Castro was benched shortly after making a mental mistake that allowed the St. Louis Cardinals to score a run and the Cardinals went on to defeat the Chicago Cubs 4-0 Saturday.
Already up 1-0, the Cardinals loaded the bases with one out in the fifth. Matt Carpenter lofted a pop-up to short left field and Castro called off Junior Lake to make the catch. Castro immediately put his head down and hesitated to throw home. Jon Jay took advantage of the mistake, tagging up and scoring from third base.
"I know the outs and everything," Castro said. "I just put my head down, like a mental mistake. I don't want to (make) any excuse for that, it's my mistake and that's why I pay for that, that's why I got taken out of the game. I feel really, really bad that that happened."
After the inning, manager Dale Sveum said something to Castro as he walked down the steps of the dugout. When the Cubs came out to play defense in the sixth, Donnie Murphy switched from third base to shortstop to replace Castro, and Cody Ransom came off the bench to play third.
"Obviously we had a big blunder there," Sveum said. "Lost track of what was going on for whatever reasons and I pulled him out of the game."
Sveum was then asked if Castro gave him an explanation for the mistake.
"No," Sveum responded. "There is no explanation."
After the game, Castro repeatedly apologized to his teammates, coaching staff and to hard-luck loser Travis Wood.
Wood (7-10) retired the first nine St. Louis batters of the game. He gave up four runs and four hits in 5 1-3 innings, including a two-run home run by Yadier Molina. Molina's ninth homer was his first hit in eight at-bats since he came off the disabled list Thursday.
But the biggest play of the day may have been Jay scoring on what the umpires ruled an infield fly.
"It was Jon doing the right thing, tagging, maybe being able to draw a throw," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "I think good teams constantly find ways to put pressure on the defense, and Jon is such a heads-up player, he took two hard steps and saw he had an opportunity."
The Cubs were shutout for the fifth time in seven games at Wrigley Field. The Cubs left the bases loaded in the third. Darwin Barney and Wood singled and Lake drew a one-out walk. But Cardinals starter Joe Kelly worked out of the jam when he got Anthony Rizzo to strike out and ended the inning on a Nate Schierholtz ground out.
Kelly (4-3) tossed six shutout innings and allowed four hits while striking out six and walking three. Kelly hasn't lost since joining the Cardinals' rotation on July 6.
Despite the alarming lack of offense, the story for the Cubs was Castro's continued lack of focus on the field. Sveum said the coaching staff will continue to work with Castro, but the onus is on the young shortstop to make sure the mental lapses don't continue.
"He's played in the big leagues long enough and we've had our discussions," Sveum said. "There comes a point where you have to cross that bridge and get to the next level. He feels as bad as anybody, he knows what happened and he feels awful right now."
Sveum was unsure if Castro would play Sunday, but added that he had no intention of giving up on him. He cited Castro's past offensive success and, despite Saturday's gaffe, what Sveum believes are improvements on the defensive side.
After hitting at least .300 in his first two seasons and leading the league in hits in 2011, Castro regressed a bit in 2012. However, 2013 has seen him reach new lows, hitting only .244 with a sub-.300 on base percentage.
"It's bad. It's an unbelievable year," Castro said. "Especially for me, I've never had a year like that. I feel really bad, especially with the mistake today and my struggling at home plate. But I don't put my head down. I know I can be good and finish strong."
NOTES: Cubs OF Brian Bogusevic, on the 15-day disabled list since July 15 for a strained left hamstring, will report to Triple-A Iowa to continue rehab. ... Cubs RHP Scott Baker, on the 60-day disabled list recovering from Tommy John surgery, will make his second rehab start Sunday with Single-A Dayton. ... Cubs RHP Edwin Jackson (7-12, 5.05 ERA) will face Cardinals RHP Adam Wainwright (13-7, 2.71) Sunday in the series finale. . The Cardinals recalled LHP Tyler Lyons from Triple-A Memphis before the game. He is 2-4 with a 5.35 ERA in seven starts. LHP Sam Freeman was optioned to Memphis after pitching four scoreless innings Friday against the Cubs.
CHICAGO (AP) - Jake Arrieta threw seven shutout innings and Nate Schierholtz drove in three runs to lead the Chicago Cubs to a 7-0 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday.
Arrieta (1-0) allowed two hits and struck out seven for his first win with the Cubs.
The hard-throwing right-hander was acquired from the Baltimore Orioles in a July 2 trade.
Before Friday, his only other day on the Cubs' roster was as the 26th man for a doubleheader against Milwaukee on July 30.
The Cubs snapped a four-game losing streak with the win and are 7-7 this season against the Cardinals. St. Louis has dropped six of nine overall.
The Cubs had been shut out in four of their past five home games - a streak dating back to Aug. 3.
Cardinals starter Jake Westbrook (7-8) walked the first three batters he faced in the bottom of the first inning.
Schierholtz, the cleanup hitter, hit a two-run single to center to put the Cubs.
After Welington Castillo grounded into a double play, Donnie Murphy followed with a run-scoring single to give the Cubs a 3-0 lead.
Arrieta sailed through the Cardinals lineup. After allowing a single to Carlos Beltran in the second, he got Kolten Wong to ground into a double play in his major league debut.
Those two outs started a streak of 13 straight outs (including five strikeouts) until he walked Westbrook with one in the sixth.
The next batter, Matt Carpenter, also walked to give the Cardinals their first threat of the game, but Jon Jay grounded into a fielder's choice and Matt Holiday struck out looking to end the inning.
The Cubs added a run in the fifth on Schierholtz's sacrifice fly and then scored two more in the sixth on a run-scoring double by Darwin Barney and a safety squeeze bunt by Arrieta.
The final run in the seventh scored on a wild pitch.
NOTES: With the addition of prospect Kolten Wong (who went 0-for-3 in his debut) to the Cardinals' roster and lineup on Friday, former World Series MVP David Freese was relegated to the bench with leadoff hitter Matt Carpenter (who had been playing second) moving to third base. "I would say it's a day-by-day situation," general manager John Mozeliak said. "I'm not saying (Wong) has to play every day - there are gonna be times when we want to get David back in the lineup - so I imagine there's gonna be some split playing opportunities." ... Cubs RHP Matt Guerrier was scheduled to have surgery on his throwing arm on Friday. The surgery, performed by Dr. Timothy Kremchek, is expected to sideline Guerrier six to eight months. ... The Cards' Joe Kelly (3-3) faces Travis Wood (7-9) in the second game of the series on Saturday.