ST. LOUIS - All of those months of injury rehab paid off for Sam Bradford, who showed no signs of a season-ending knee injury last November.
Aaron Rodgers looked pretty polished, too.
Bradford and Rodgers each threw a touchdown pass in their preseason debuts in the Green Bay Packers' 21-7 victory over the St. Louis Rams on Saturday.
"It felt great there," Bradford said. "No surprises. It felt really good."
Michael Sam played in the second half and got his first sack of the preseason, dropping Matt Flynn for a 10-yard loss in the fourth quarter to force a 49-yard field goal by Mason Crosby. Sam had a tackle earlier in that series and totaled two quarterback hits.
"I felt more comfortable, more relaxed," Sam said. "I know the speed of the game, I know how it is and it just felt right."
Everything went according to plan for Rodgers and the Packers.
"We practiced up-tempo offense and to be able to come out and execute it at this stage of the game is great," running back Eddie Lacy said. "It will be tough for opponents to keep up and be able to beat us."
Rodgers was 11 for 13 for 128 yards and a 3-yard score to Randall Cobb. His only complaint was about officiating -- the teams were whistled for a combined 22 penalties for 171 yards and two touchdowns catches were nullified.
"It's way over the top, it's just too much," Rodgers said. "The game's way too choppy if they're going to call it like that."
Bradford, who said weeks ago that the left knee was no longer a concern, was 9 for 12 for 101 yards and an 11-yard touchdown to Lance Kendricks.
"It was nothing new, I've been here before," Bradford said. "I think for everyone else it's probably a bigger deal for me to get back out on the field."
Lacy had five carries for 25 yards on the Packers' 12-play, 86-yard drive to start the game.
Sam, the seventh-round pick is the first openly gay player drafted in the NFL, is likely competing with undrafted Ethan Westbrooks for a backup spot.
Westbrooks was the second-team left defensive end behind Chris Long and had a sack with four total tackles, while Sam got work at both defensive end spots.
The Edward Jones Dome appeared about half-full, even with the benefit of hundreds of Packers fans who made the trip and let loose with a big cheer after Cobb's TD catch. The Rams announced ticket sales of 55,072 and capacity is about 66,000.
Rodgers had plenty of time to operate and he looked sharp, going 6 for 6 for 47 yards and scrambling 14 yards on the opening drive. He ended the quarter with a 35-yard pass to Andrew Quarless to the St. Louis 12 that led to a short field goal and a 10-0 lead.
"The offense got off to a great start," coach Mike McCarthy said. "I really liked the production that we were able to get done in the first two series."
Scott Tolzien was 10 for 15 for 107 yards behind Rodgers and Flynn, who started the opener, was effective as the third quarterback. Flynn threw a 34-yard touchdown pass to rookie Jeff Janis, a seventh-round pick, and added a 2-point conversion pass to Davante Adams that made it 18-7 late in the third.
Most of Bradford's passes were underneath, with most of Brian Quick's 41-yard gain coming after the catch. He just missed connecting with Kenny Britt on a 35-yarder in the first quarter and converted on fourth-and-3 from the Packers 43 with a 5-yard pass to Jared Cook.
Rams backup quarterback Shaun Hill was 1 for 4 for 14 yards. He threw two touchdown passes as the starter last week when Bradford was held out.
The Rams held out left tackle Jake Long (knee), middle linebacker James Laurinaitis (ankle) and cornerback Janoris Jenkins (hamstring). All three could play next week at Cleveland.
Jordy Nelson started for the Packers after returning from a hamstring injury this week, but had no catches in limited action.
STEVENS POINT - Stevens Point police want your help finding suspects in two possible stabbings. The stabbings happened early Friday morning and early Sunday morning near downtown Stevens Point.
Friday, four young men got into a fight on Main Street. One man said he was stabbed in the chest. Police say the suspect is a black man in his mid-20s, about 5' 9" tall, with a muscular build and short hair. The victim was treated at the hospital and released.
Sunday morning, police responded to an incident at 2nd Street and Crosby Avenue. Witnesses heard glass breaking and people yelling about a stabbing. Police don't have a victim or suspect description in that case, but they don't believe the two stabbings are connected.
If you have any information about the stabbings, call Detective Sgt. Gruber at 715-346-1518.
You can also call Portage County Crimestoppers to remain anonymous at 888-346-6600.
TOWN OF LITTLE RICE - Dennis Schoeneck's pickup truck sloshes through muddy logging roads these days. But he'd prefer it if a much larger truck could even make it down the path.
"Heck, I think you could spit and make mud here," the Enterprise Forest Products owner said Tuesday morning.
Foot-deep ruts make up most of the logging road leading back to 23 acres of private land the long-time logger harvests in the western Oneida County town of Little Rice. Schoeneck started logging professionally in 1979 and says 2016 has been "exceptionally wet" compared to any other year.
"The old adage, make hay while the sun shines, that's not just for farmers," Schoeneck said. "That's for us too."
RHINELANDER - People in Rhinelander will be able to cast their November election ballots starting on Friday. It's the earliest people in Wisconsin have ever been able to vote.
The absentee ballots are stacked and ready for Friday at the Rhinelander City Clerk's office. To make the early voting process go as smoothly as possible, you will need to come prepared.
"When you come in make sure that you're registered. That is important. Make sure you're registered in the city if you're coming into us," said Clerk Valerie Foley.
Registering is easy; all you need is a photo ID and proof of residence. The registration form takes a couple of minutes, and then you will be able to fill out an election ballot.
"I think it is going to be a very busy day. I think people are pretty interested in the issues. And I think a lot of them would like to get and make sure they can vote if they're not certain they're going to make it to the polls in November or not," said Foley.
The clerk's office has already sent out about 200 ballots to people who have requested them.
Now, it is preparing for the early voter in-person rush.
If you are unsure whether you are registered to vote or where to go for early voting, the clerk's office suggests voters visit myvote.wi.gov for more information.
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