It never is easy with the Green Bay Packers – and while they were able to hang on at the end against the Baltimore Ravens, this game should have been wrapped up much, much earlier.
Their 31-30 win helped lock up the NFC North divisional crown for the third consecutive year, and Aaron Rodgers tied Brett Favre for career passing TDs (442), with a chance to break that record at home on Christmas next week.
Favre and Rodgers are currently tied for the record for most passing TDs in the history of the Packers, so this would be another stake backing up Rodgers in the conversation between which QB is better. But Sunday’s affair against the Ravens was not all sunshine and rainbows, especially after halftime.
The entire first half did not see a lot of scoring, as Baltimore put up the lone points of the first quarter on Mark Andrews’ first TD reception of the game. This game saw the Ravens starting backup QB Tyler Huntley, who was stepping in for the injured Lamar Jackson, and Huntley looked quite proficient against the Packers’ defensive unit.
Green Bay scored two TDs in the second quarter, one on a short run by AJ Dillon and another on a short pass from Rodgers to Davante Adams to end the first half. The Ravens found Andrews in the end zone again in the first half, and the game went into halftime tied at 14 apiece.
The third quarter was when things got interesting, as both teams had moments of figuring each other out and also forgetting what they had learned.
Aaron Jones caught Rodgers’ second TD of the day from nine yards out, as he got lost in coverage and Rodgers found him in the back left corner of the end zone, putting the score at 21-14 Green Bay. The only other scoring drive of the third quarter was a field goal by Justin Tucker, drawing the game to 21-17 heading into the fourth.
Green Bay was able to put distance in between itself and the Ravens by scoring 10 points within a four-minute span, as Marquez Valdes-Scantling made a beautiful catch on a slant and reached for the end zone to extend their lead to 28-17, and Mason Crosby helped cash in on a short field caused by a failed fourth-down conversion deep in BAL territory to make it 31-17.
After this is when the wheels came off the wagon for the Packers, almost blowing a two-TD lead.
Huntley ran in from three yards and eight yards out, respectively, on two consecutive scoring drives, changing the entire course of the fourth quarter. After kicking an extra point on Huntley’s first rushing TD, head coach John Harbaugh decided to go for a two-point conversion on their second one to try and end things in regulation.
But a Huntley pass to Andrews was broken up by the tandem of Darnell Savage and Eric Stokes, and the ensuing onside kick was recovered by Dillon, helping the Packers hang on and send them home with a victory.
Next week’s affair sees the Packers hosting the Cleveland Browns on Christmas Day, the first of two games on that Saturday. With the divisional race all locked up and in the driver’s seat for the top seed in the NFC, Green Bay an their 11-3 record is looking mighty fine at the current moment.뿓뿓뿓
Mike Johrendt has been an avid fan of the Packers ever since he can remember. He is now a writer at PackersTalk and you can follow him on Twitter at @MJohrendt23