GREEN BAY – Any momentum the Packers thought they had generated a week ago didn’t last long.
Seven days after Green Bay’s best offensive performance of 2017 without Aaron Rodgers, the Packers turned in their worst, getting blanked 23-0 by the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday at Lambeau Field.
The Packers turned the ball over on their first three possessions and five times overall in getting shut out for the first time since Head Coach Mike McCarthy’s first season. Sunday’s result came 11 years to the day after a 35-0 loss to New England on Nov. 19, 2006.
“Turnovers were probably the biggest factor in the game from my viewpoint,” McCarthy said a few minutes after his team fell to 5-5 and three games out of first place in the NFC North.
“You have to take care of the football. You look at our history here in Green Bay, the standard we’ve set winning the turnover ratio. Offensively it was way too much to overcome.”
The Packers hadn’t committed five turnovers in a game since Oct. 7, 2007, in a home loss to Chicago.
A promising opening drive ended with quarterback Brett Hundley getting picked off in the end zone by Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith.
Hundley then tried to force one deep downfield in the scramble drill, and veteran safety Eric Weddle came down with it.
When rookie running back Devante Mays fumbled on his first NFL carry to end Green Bay’s third drive, all signs pointed to a dominant day for Baltimore’s sixth-ranked defense.
The Ravens came into the game leading the NFL in interceptions with 13 and left with three more. Baltimore also sacked Hundley six times for 49 lost yards, getting a fumble on one of Terrell Suggs’ sacks in the fourth quarter.
“We took a big step backwards on offense today and it’s because we didn’t take care of the football,” McCarthy said. “It’s part of our everyday training. We’ll get back at it.”
Amidst all the offensive struggles, McCarthy said he never considered turning to third-string QB Joe Callahan, and he reaffirmed Hundley would remain the starter heading to Pittsburgh next week.
In the midst of all the miscues, Green Bay’s defense did its best to keep the Packers in the game. Baltimore managed just two field goals in the first half, and Green Bay got an interception of its own from Ha Ha Clinton-Dix to keep it close.
Baltimore then put together its only explosive drive of the game to begin the third quarter, going 59 yards in four plays after returning the second-half kickoff out to the 41. QB Joe Flacco (22-of-28, 183 yards, 90.9 rating) hit tight end Ben Watson for 33 yards and then receiver Mike Wallace for a one-handed 21-yard TD reception with cornerback Damarious Randall draped all over him.
Still, at 13-0, the Packers were one drive from getting back in the game, only they couldn’t put together that one drive.
Getting to the Baltimore 41-yard line, Hundley was sacked on fourth-and-6. From the Baltimore 36, running back Jamaal Williams was stuffed on fourth-and-1. One play after a 25-yard completion to Davante Adams (eight catches, 126 yards) came the sack-fumble by Suggs.
That turnover, plus Hundley’s third interception, led to Baltimore’s final 10 points in the last five minutes of the game.
“It was just a lot of stuff out there that we missed on offense,” said Hundley, who finished 21-of-36 for 239 yards and a 43.6 passer rating one week after an impressive fourth quarter in his first victory, against the Bears.
“You have to keep consistent as a quarterback. You can’t have that kind of game in Chicago and come here and have this kind of game. It doesn’t work.”
Complete game coverage: