Sunday, October 13, 2013

Packers outlast Ravens 19-17

It wasn't pretty, that's for sure. But the Green Bay Packers had just enough to beat the Ravens in Baltimore today. It was the first win for the Pack in Baltimore since MacArthur Lane was the running back and, coincidentally, the first time they had a 100-yard rusher in a game versus a Baltimore team since Jim Taylor against the Colts in 1963.

Those historical markers aside, the game was memorable on a few other well as forgettable on still others.

The nod to the memorable part of the game has to go to the defense which, for most of the game, held the Ravens in check with smash-mouth play. LB A.J. Hawk was a man possessed, seemingly everywhere on the field, responsible for three sacks on Ravens QB Joe Flacco. The defensive front on two separate occasions stopped Baltimore deep in the red zone, once with 1st and goal from about the 2-yard line. On the offensive side of things, Aaron Rodgers threw for more than 300 yards and Eddie Lacy rushed for his first 100-yard game as a professional.

(Karl Merton Ferron, Baltimore Sun, October 13, 2013)

One of the forgettable parts was the almost similar 4th quarter collapse (but not this time) as occurred against the Bengals, including a 63-yard pass completion on 4th-and-21 which brought the Ravens to within 2 points of the Packers late in the game. John Kuhn touching and muffing a blocked punt, which instead of giving the Packers the ball deep in Ravens' territory gave the Birds a first down, was another forgettable play.

Perhaps the most forgettable, however, were the injuries. Actually, we probably won't be able to forget these injures anytime soon. First, WR James Jones went down with a knee injury. He was out of uniform and walking stiffly on the sideline in the second half. Then, WR Randall Cobb went down after being hit low on the right knee after making a catch. He was taken to the locker room on a cart and was on crutches on the Packers sideline late in the game. In his post-game interview, head coach Mike McCarthy said he didn't know the severity of the injuries yet but should know more tomorrow.

So the Packers were down to two wide receivers for the second half of the game: Jordy Nelson and Jarrett Boykin.

The Packers now have a couple of starting linebackers sidelined and a couple starting receivers, as well. The injury bug has hit the Pack big early this season. And with the bye week already behind them, there's no time to "get healthy." GM Ted Thompson will have to figure out what to do to bolster the roster. Some pundits are already saying the Packers might have to become a serious contender in the trade market because of today's hits to the receiving corps.

It's not going to be easy. But the Packers have perhaps gone through the gauntlet of the toughest part of their schedule. Sure, there are 11 games left, no more byes and and it's all tough. But the Pack has already played three championship-caliber teams in their first five games and have come out with a 3-2 record. They have -- or had -- the talent to make a deep playoff run. In their last Super Bowl season, they also were plagued with injuries and found a way to win it all. Will that be possible this season? It remains to be seen.

All we can say right now is ... Go Pack Go!!!