Hawk helps injury-ravaged Packers hold off Ravens : Packers Insider

Hawk helps injury-ravaged Packers hold off Ravens

October 13, 2013 by  
Filed under News

By Brian E Murphy, PackersInsider.com senior editor

~BALTIMORE — Aaron Rodgers came up with the big plays at just the right time, and Green Bay’s depleted defense shoved around the defending Super Bowl champions.

It all added up to the Packers’ first road win of the season, a gritty 19-17 decision over the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.

The win was the Packers first win in Baltimore since 1974, when they beat the Baltimore Colts.

Rodgers threw a 64-yard touchdown pass to Jordy Nelson, Eddie Lacy ran for 120 yards and Mason Crosby kicked four field goals for the Packers (3-2), who had previously lost to San Francisco and Cincinnati on the road.

Rodgers was off all game long, but made two key passes late in the game were enough for the win thanks to a great defensive performance by the Packers.

Green Bay took a 16-3 lead into the fourth quarter and was up 19-10 with 4 minutes left, but the Ravens (3-3) kept coming back.

Baltimore closed to 19-17 on an 18-yard touchdown pass from Joe Flacco to Dallas Clark with 2:04 remaining, just one play after Packers safety Jerron McMillian tripped over his own feet and let Jacoby Jones get behind him for a 4th and 20 conversion to keep the game alive. Had he played like a pro there and not fallen, the game would have been over and it would have been a simple 19-0 victory, at worst.

Clark scored on a one-handed grab as he got behind McMillian in the end zone.
Rodgers seemingly clinched the victory with a 52-yard completion to Jermichael Finley on a third-and-3. But Finley failed to stay in bounds, unwisely, which gave the Ravens time to get the ball back.

However, Eddie Lacy converted a key first down a few plays later, and smartly fell down in bounds. Hopefully the veteran Finley learned a lesson there from the rookie from Bama.

Rodgers salvaged a pitiful game with the bomb to Nelson and the big pass to Finley late.

He finished 17 for 32 for 315 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He played most of the game without two of his top three receivers — James Jones appeared to hurt his left knee on a first-quarter play, and Randall Cobb left for good after being struck on his right knee on a dirty, cheap tackle by Matt Elam. Hits like these (ask Dustin Keller), are becoming all too common these days.

The NFL and NFLPA are partly to blame as the NFL has been sued over the concussions, so they have put some serious teeth in the rules on hits to the head.

It’s a shame, and criminal in my opinion, that the NFL reacts like this after the fact, to protect it’s pocketbook, but it doesn’t do anything about protecting the players knees. The Players Union needs to step up too.

Despite playing without injured linebackers Clay Matthews and Brad Jones, the Packers held Baltimore to 47 yards rushing and registered five sacks, including three by inside linebacker A.J. Hawk.

The Ravens had won 13 straight at home against NFC opponents.

AJ Hawk was the player of the game.

Green Bay went up 9-0 in the third quarter when Crosby kicked a 50-yard field goal to cap a drive that featured a 43-yard pass play from Rodgers to Jarrett Boykin.

Baltimore answered with its first score, a 23-yard field goal by Justin Tucker following a 59-yard completion from Flacco to rookie Marlon Brown.

Harassed and hurried for much of the afternoon, Rodgers finally came up with a signature moment. He started to his left, then rolled right before lofting a perfect spiral to Nelson, who had gotten behind Lardarius Webb.

Down 16-3, the Ravens began playing with a sense of urgency and got the desired results. Flacco directed a 10-play, 80-yard drive that ended with an 11-yard touchdown pass to Jacoby Jones with 11:52 remaining.

Jones, who missed the previous four weeks with a knee injury, finished with two catches for 42 yards and had a 35-yard kickoff return.
Looking to enhance Green Bay’s 16-10 lead, Rodgers and the Packers held onto the ball for just over 7 1/2 minutes before Crosby kicked a 31-yard field goal with 4:17 remaining.

It turned out to be the game-winning points.
Green Bay got field goals from Crosby on its opening drive and on the final play of the second quarter for a 6-0 lead at halftime.

Baltimore accumulated only 36 yards of offense during the first quarter, zero on the ground.
In the second quarter, a peculiar sequence of events began when Green Bay’s Ryan Taylor blocked a punt. The ball bounced beyond the line of scrimmage, was touched by John Kuhn of the Packers and recovered by Baltimore at its own 41-yard line. That play was clearly the BONEHEAD PLAY OF THE GAME, and probably will be the BONEHEAD PLAY OF THE SEASON as it’s hard to beat that. It had been years, perhaps decades, since the Packers blocked a punt. And Kuhn went ahead and ruined that.

The Ravens subsequently got a first-and-goal at the Green Bay 4, but four straight runs failed to get the ball into the end zone. It was a classic goal line stand by the Packers improved defense and deep defensive line.

Late in the half, Flacco was sacked and lost the ball. Green Bay’s Datone Jones recovered and Crosby connected on a 31-yard field goal as time expired.

The ugly, but painful win puts the Packers at 3-2, just a half-game behind the Lions and Bears, who are each 4-2. Greg Jennings is 1-4 now in Minnesota. I wonder how he (and his sister) likes the view down there in the basement.

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