GREEN BAY – The defense did everything it could to keep the Packers within reach of the Baltimore Ravens at Lambeau Field on Sunday.
While Green Bay conceded the fewest yards it has all season and held the Ravens to only 3-of-14 on third downs, it wasn’t enough to keep pace with a Baltimore defense that generated five turnovers and six sacks in a 23-0 victory.
The defense’s adversity was tested from the first series of the game, and yet the Packers gave up only 13 combined points off the five turnovers.
It wasn’t until the offense’s fifth and final turnover – a Marlon Humphrey interception return to the Green Bay 3 – that the defense finally conceded a touchdown when the decision was well in hand.
In the end, the 219 total yards allowed and Baltimore’s 2.2 yards per rush came as little consolation to the Packers’ defense.
“We definitely didn’t do enough,” linebacker Blake Martinez said. “Our motto is not letting the other team score more points than us and we allowed that today. We made some good plays, we made a lot of adversity stops, held them to field goals or got them off the field, gave our offense a chance, but obviously we didn’t do enough. We needed more turnovers, more impactful plays to help the offense get going.”
For the third straight week, the Packers’ front seven controlled the line of scrimmage in containing Ravens running back Alex Collins to only 49 yards on 20 carries. Collins entered the game with the NFL’s third-highest average among running backs at 5.9 yards per rush.
In halting the Ravens’ run game, the pass rush was able to get after Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco, who was hit six times. Clay Matthews, Dean Lowry and Kyler Fackrell each recorded a sack to contribute to Green Bay’s nine tackles for loss.
The Packers bested the Ravens in total yards (265-219), first downs (16-14) and total plays (67-57), but the difference came down to turnovers and overall field position.
Thanks to the takeaways, two solid returns and three fourth-down stops of the Packers’ offense, Baltimore’s average starting field position was its own 47-yard line.
“We just have to put out the fire. No matter what happens, we just have to be resilient,” defensive tackle Mike Daniels said. “We can’t even let them think they’re getting something going. Their offense has to be – we can’t let their offense feed off their defense. We have to make sure we shut them down, which is something we didn’t do.”
Safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix was responsible for the Packers’ only takeaway, intercepting Flacco’s pass intended for running back Danny Woodhead down the sideline in the second quarter.
It was a nice play and marked Clinton-Dix’s second interception of the season, but the Pro Bowl safety was more focused afterward about the pick he narrowly missed on second-and-6 with 2:32 left in the first quarter.
The Ravens converted the first down on the next play to set up Baltimore’s first score of the afternoon on Justin Tucker’s 32-yard field goal.
“I knew he was going to try to get Woodhead on a ’backer and didn’t know there was a safety over there, I guess, and Flacco threw me a gift,” said Clinton-Dix of his interception. “I can talk about the one that I dropped. I just took my eyes off it at the last second and it went right through my hands. That’s the one that I missed the most. I really don’t give a damn about the one I caught.”
Already playing without starting safety Morgan Burnett (groin) and cornerback Kevin King (shoulder), Green Bay also finished the game without Matthews (groin) and defensive tackle Kenny Clark, who was carted off the field in the second half with an ankle injury and didn’t return.
The Packers have to take the positives from the past three weeks into next Sunday’s game against Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers, possessors of the NFL’s 10th-ranked offense.
“There’s always opportunities to make plays,” linebacker Nick Perry said. “Each individual has to win their one-on-ones and take advantage of the situation to create those opportunities. We did a good job for the most part, but it wasn’t enough overall.”
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