Packers overcome Ravens to keep playoff hopes alive

Packers overcome Ravens to keep playoff hopes alive

Much ado was made about the Baltimore Ravens’ defense before Monday night’s matchup against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.

Fortunately, it didn’t amount to much.

Aaron Rodgers stepped up and, despite throwing two picks, tallied 263 yards and three touchdowns as the Packers beat the Ravens 27-14 Monday night, keeping the team’s hopes for an NFC wild card playoff berth alive in a game that started off as a defensive standoff and evolved into an offensive showcase.

The victory leaves the Packers (8-4) in a tie with Philadelphia for the best record among NFC teams competing for a wild card spot. Green Bay would be the conference’s No. 6 seed if the season ended now.

The Packers beat the Ravens mostly because of their defense’s play in the third quarter, withstanding a rally by the Ravens. Baltimore finished with just 193 total yards while committing four turnovers in a game marked by a near record amount of penalties.

Both teams racked up 23 penalties for a total of 310 yards on the 21-degree night. The Packers were just 10 yards shy of setting a new single-game franchise record at 175 yards.

But the Packers’ offense overcame a stifling Ravens’ defense to come out on top, keeping the team’s postseason hopes alive.

Green Bay led 17-0 at halftime, but the Ravens rallied for two touchdowns in 30 seconds to cut the Packers’ lead to 17-14 after three quarters.

Joe Flacco, who had been bothered by a right ankle sprain, got Baltimore on the board with 3:28 left in the third quarter on a 12-yard touchdown pass to Kelley Washington to cap an 11-play drive following Donald Driver’s fumble.

On the ensuing kickoff, Packers offensive lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith caught a short kick, but fumbled and officials pointed toward the Ravens before the referees corrected themselves and said Green Bay had actually recovered.

On the next play, Rodgers’ pass deflected off Driver’s leg and into the arms of Ravens’ linebacker Jarret Johnson.

Flacco then went for it all and Packers cornerback Tramon Williams was flagged for pass interference on Demetrius Williams in the end zone, costing Green Bay 41 yards.

With the ball on the 1, Willis McGahee scored two plays later to make it 17-14 with 2:58 left in the quarter.

Through three quarters, Flacco was 12 of 27 for 111 yards and an interception.

Green Bay built a 17-0 lead on two TD drives late in the first half engineered by Rodgers, who went 21 of 34 with 198 yards and two interceptions through three quarters.

Rodgers’ first touchdown pass was a 2-yard toss to Jermichael Finley with 4:35 left.

After former Packers’ cornerback Frank Walker was penalized 25 yards for pass interference, Rodgers completed passes of 29 and 14 yards to Finley to set up first-and-goal at the 2.

Finley motioned out of the backfield to the left and caught Rodgers’ throw over Tom Zbikowski, who was starting in place of Ed Reed. Finley had six catches for 60 yards through three quarters.

Inside of two minutes in the half, Rodgers scrambled for 23 yards to put Green Bay in scoring range. After an incompletion, Rodgers hit Greg Jennings for a 17-yard gain to put the Packers at the Baltimore eight with 38 seconds left.

Rodgers then threw a pass to Driver on the right side, who slipped passed Domonique Foxworth and reached the end zone with Lardarius Webb missing the tackle.

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