NFC North: Ravens-Packers120709

Packers approaching penalty record

December, 7, 2009
12/07/09
11:46
PM ET
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- In case you’re in to such trivia, Green Bay’s all-time record for most penalty yards in a game is 184 yards. The mark was against the Boston Yanks on Oct. 21, 1945.

As I type these words, the Packers have 175 penalty yards in a game that begs for multiple editions of Dirty Laundry. We’ll keep you updated as the Packers attempt to run out the clock here. Back-to-back interceptions of Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco seem to have put this game out of reach.

Finley shines on Monday nights

December, 7, 2009
12/07/09
11:33
PM ET
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Did I mention that Jermichael Finley likes "Monday Night Football"?

Green Bay’s tight end has put together the first multi-touchdown game of his career. The second score, a 19-yard catch here in the fourth quarter, re-established the Packers’ 10-point lead. Overall, Finley has seven receptions for 79 yards and two scores.

On Oct. 5 at Minnesota, also a Monday night game, Finley caught six passes for 128 yards and a score.

17 penalties through three quarters

December, 7, 2009
12/07/09
11:19
PM ET
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- I wanted to bring up some numbers from this tightly-officiated game.

Through the third quarter, here are the penalty totals:

Baltimore: eight for 110 yards
Green Bay: nine for 143 yards

That is all.

Whew!

December, 7, 2009
12/07/09
11:09
PM ET
This game just got a lot more interesting. (Translation: DON'T EVER THINK ABOUT TURNING OFF ESPN's COVERAGE OF "MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL"!)

Minutes ago, Green Bay was driving for a score that would have given them at least a 20-point lead. Now the Packers are clinging to a 17-14 lead after the Ravens capitalized on consecutive turnovers.

A fumble by Donald Driver halted the Packers' scoring drive, leading to an 11-play drive that culminated in Kelley Washington's 12-yard touchdown reception. A pass went off Driver's leg on the Packers' next offensive play, leading to an interception that set up Willis McGahee's 1-yard touchdown run.

Things have moved so fast I've re-written this post five times before getting a chance to post it. Hang on folks. This should be fun. Will the Packers totally self-destruct or can they hang on?

Beware of contact in passing game

December, 7, 2009
12/07/09
10:45
PM ET
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Apparently, if you’re a defensive player Monday night, you can’t so much as touch a receiver. Referee Walt Anderson’s crew is calling an extraordinarily tight game.

By my count, we’ve had five pass interference penalties as of the midpoint of the third quarter. Four have gone against Baltimore. The most recent, called on Ravens safety Dawan Landry as he ran downfield with receiver Donald Driver, looked particularly bereft of contact.

But it’s the responsibility of defensive players to adjust to the way a game is called, and that’s one of many things the Packers have done better this evening.

Halftime: Packers 17, Ravens 0

December, 7, 2009
12/07/09
10:25
PM ET
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Some halftime thoughts from Lambeau Field, where Green Bay has a commanding lead:

    [+] EnlargeAaron Rodgers
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesAaron Rodgers had two first-half touchdown passes.
  • You couldn’t ask for much more from the Packers' defense. On a national stage, they’ve shut down a pretty potent offense. The Ravens have 72 total yards and six first downs. They’ve committed two turnovers and haven’t threatened to score after linebacker Clay Matthews forced tailback Ray Rice to fumble in the red zone on their opening possession. This is how an elite defense plays in December.
  • Keep in mind the Packers are using three defensive rookies extensively, and all of them have made significant contributions. Matthews has three tackles, along with a sack and the forced fumble. Defensive lineman B.J. Raji has two tackles, including one behind the line of scrimmage, while linebacker Brad Jones has three tackles.
  • Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has completed 16 of 24 passes, including two for touchdowns. But if you ask me, he looks hampered by the rib injury he was reported to have last week. We noted he grimaced in obvious pain after throwing an inaccurate deep pass that was ultimately intercepted. He’s also taken a while to get up after several post-throw hits. I don’t think it’s a serious situation, but just something to monitor.
  • Tight end Jermichael Finley is becoming a fan of "Monday Night Football." He has five receptions for 56 yards and a touchdown. In an Oct. 5 Monday night game at Minnesota, Finley had six receptions for 128 yards and a score.
  • It might be too late, but if I were the Ravens, I’d work harder to get the ball to Rice. The NFL’s leading open-field runner, based on yards after the catch, Rice has only two receptions.

Is Rodgers hurt?

December, 7, 2009
12/07/09
9:19
PM ET
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Anyone else see the pained grimace on the face of Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers on his interception? ESPN’s cameras showed Rodgers turning away from Ravens nose tackle Kelly Gregg, in obvious pain even before contact.

Rodgers was listed as having a rib injury during the week but did not miss any practice time. Perhaps the injury is bothering him more than he and/or the Packers have let on.

Chilly and comfortable in Wisconsin

December, 7, 2009
12/07/09
3:24
PM ET
THE FOX RIVER VALLEY, Wis. -- Greetings from just outside Green Bay, where it’s chilly but dry as we prepare for the Packers’ matchup with Baltimore.

Sorry to disappoint those who were hoping for a Winter Wonderland, but as of now the forecast calls for only a few flurries prior to midnight. The temperature at kickoff is expected to be 24 degrees. That’s balmy for we Upper Midwesterners, especially for those of us who get to sit in the press box.

If you’re keeping score at home, this will be the first-ever "Monday Night Football" game in Green Bay during the month of December. There have been a number of Saturday night, Sunday night and Thursday night games here, and in my experience it’s usually not as bad as it looks. It’s more of a dry cold around here if you know what I’m talking about.

Seriously, though, the Packers typically work these cold-weather games to their advantage. Since the start of this decade, they are 30-12 in the regular season during the months of December and January. That includes an 18-4 record at Lambeau. Ravens, beware.

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