The Baltimore Ravens went into Green Bay with a 4-5 record, on the outside looking in on the playoffs. They were set to face the 5-4 Packers, in a game that could go either way. The Ravens had never won a game at Lambeau field, and they would need a win there Sunday to keep their playoff hopes alive. Baltimore exceeded all expectations in Green Bay and won handily with a score of 23-0. The win is not only historic because it is the first time the Ravens defeated the Packers in Green Bay, but because the win gave head coach John Harbaugh his 100th career win. Such a huge milestone could not have come at a better time for the Ravens, as the victory puts them in position to snag a wildcard berth in the playoffs going forward.
The Baltimore Ravens offense took a step in the right direction on Sunday. Although the offensive performance was not fantastic, it was sufficient to obtain a much-needed win in Green Bay. The passing attack led by Joe Flacco was able to move the ball and put points on the board. This happened despite the lackluster performance by the Baltimore offensive line. The offensive line against Green Bay was a major disappointment, as that unit had consistently performed well for many weeks. The Baltimore ground attack was also affected by the offensive line, as it was very ineffective throughout the game.
Ravens Passing Attack
The Ravens passing attack as a method to move the ball down the field was not great on Sunday, but solid. Quarterback Joe Flacco completed a majority of his passes. 22 of Flacco’s 28 passing attempts were completed, giving him a 78.57% completion rate. Number 5 also tossed one touchdown to wide receiver Mike Wallace, who made an amazing catch to extend the Baltimore lead to two possessions. Despite having a productive day passing the ball, Flacco’s performance would be tainted by a crucial mistake. Flacco made a very idiotic and costly decision midway through the second quarter. He tried to hook up with Danny Woodhead on a wheel route, but Woodhead was completely covered by safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. The pass was intercepted, and it cost Baltimore a potential score when the Ravens only had a 3 point lead. The receiving corps for the Baltimore Ravens also played very well during Sunday’s game, as they showed signs of life that have been rarely seen this year. Receiver Mike Wallace caught all four passes thrown at him, and led the group in yards, while also scoring the only receiving touchdown. Jeremy Maclin also performed well in Green Bay. He caught 4 of 5 targets from Joe Flacco, for 34 yards. The running backs continued to contribute mightily to the passing game. Danny Woodhead, who returned from injury this week, led the team in receptions. Woodhead caught 5 passes for 21 yards, serving his purpose as a check down and screen running back effectively. Running back Alex Collins also often caught the ball, for largely the same reason. Overall, the Ravens air attack fared well but still needs improvement. Flacco only threw for 183 yards and one touchdown. If the Ravens want to score points through the air, this will have to improve.
Ravens Rushing Attack
The Ravens rushing attack on Sunday, for the second consecutive game, was bad. Running back Alex Collins started his tenure in Baltimore in good fashion. In the month of September, Collins averaged 7.8 yards per carry on 16 attempts. In October Collins rushed for 5.5 yards per carry on 64 attempts. In November so far, Collins’ production has severely dropped. He currently averages 2.8 yards per carry on 33 attempts. Against the Green Bay Packers, Collins carried the ball 20 times, for just 49 yards. That gives him a 2.5 yard per rush average for the game. The reason for his lack of production is hard to pinpoint, but the offensive line did him no favors in Green Bay. With the absence of left tackle Ronnie Stanley, the Ravens were forced to move guard James Hurst to the vacant spot. Baltimore then put Luke Bowanko at left guard. The offensive line all game failed to open holes for the running backs and Collins suffered because of it. Even after Collins made something out of nothing, rushing for 13 yards on one play, the offensive line goofed it up. Luke Bowanko was called for offensive holding, pushing the Ravens back 10 yards, negating the first down by Collins.
Ravens Offensive Line
The offensive line let down the Ravens on Sunday. As strange as it sounds, the offensive line has been a strength of the Ravens offense for the past few weeks. However, the unit regressed to their old ways this past Sunday. The absence of left tackle Ronnie Stanley forced some shifting along the offensive line. James Hurst was moved from left guard to left tackle, and Luke Bowanko replaced him at left guard. Flacco would end up being pressured often and was sacked three times for 22 yards lost. The offensive line also failed to open holes for Alex Collins and the running backs, rendering the ground game basically useless. Even the center, Ryan Jensen, who has been stellar all season, failed to stay consistent throughout the game. The Ravens were in a position to score on their first offensive drive, but Ryan Jensen snapped the ball over Flacco’s head and lost 14 yards on one play. Then, Flacco was sacked just a couple of plays later to end the drive.
The Baltimore Ravens defense pitched its third shutout of the season. Only five teams in the past 30 years pitched three or more shutouts. The last four of these teams, which includes the 2000 Ravens, won the Super Bowl. Obviously, the Ravens have a long way to go if they want to win a Super Bowl, but the statistic is still encouraging. The Ravens pass defense shut down backup quarterback Brett Hundley, who was coming off of his best game ever. The Ravens run defense was able to slow the Green Bay rushing attack, and the Ravens pass rush played its best game of the year.
Ravens Pass Defense
The Baltimore Ravens knew they were coming into Green Bay with a chance to shut down a vulnerable passing. The Packers’ franchise quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, will miss the rest of the 2017 season with a broken collarbone, so second-year quarterback Brett Hundley is closing out the season for Green Bay. Hundley is obviously not Rodgers, but he is talented. In his most recent game before facing Baltimore, Hundley threw for 212 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception, with a 72.0% completion rate against the Bears. Hundley also finished his route of the Bears in Chicago with a 110.7 quarterback rating. However, when Hundley faced the Ravens, the wheels fell off the cart. On the first two Green Bay drives the game, Hundley threw two interceptions, one to Jimmy Smith in the end zone, and the other to Eric Weddle. Hundley played terribly throughout the game. He completed only 58.3% of his passes on 36 attempts, for 239 yards, with three interceptions. His quarterback rating by the end of the game fell at 43.6. This is less than half of the quarterback rating Flacco received, which was 90.9. The reasons for this utter destruction of the Green Bay air attack are the secondary and pass rush. The Baltimore Ravens’ secondary has been the strength of this stout defense all season. The cornerback unit led by the shutdown defensive back, Jimmy Smith, made it very difficult to pass the ball. Hundley continually returned to his favorite target, Devante Adams, instead of spreading out the placement of the ball. The pass rush also was a major part fo shutting down Hundley. Hundley simply had no time to make decisions and was forced into rushed passes.
Ravens Run Defense
The Baltimore Ravens run defense was simply sufficient on Sunday. Jamaal Williams filled in the role of the injured Ty Montgomery at running back. Williams was held to just 57 yards on 18 rushing attempts, giving him an average of 3.2 yards per carry. Brett Hundley was the second leading rusher for Green Bay. Hundley ran the ball three times, for 19 yards, an average of 6.3 yards per carry. The Ravens were able to limit the gains of the opposing rushing unit. In total, the Green Bay rushing group only obtained 75 yards on the ground, and of course no touchdowns. The run defense unit led by Brandon Williams has greatly improved over the past few games. The Ravens were at one point last in rushing yards allowed. Since shutting down Jay Ajayi and the Miami Dolphins ground game, however, the run defense has been stout.
Ravens Pass Rush
The Ravens pass rush had the best performance out of all the units on defense. The pass rush was constantly in the face of Green Bay quarterback Brett Hundley, hitting him 11 times. Since Hundley dropped back to pass 36 times, this means he was not only pressured but hit 30.56% of the time. The Ravens were able to drop Hundley for a sack 6 different times. 2 sacks came from Matthew Judon, who was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week yesterday. Another 2 sacks came from Willie Henry, and the other two came from the ageless Terrell Suggs. The pass rush unit had its best performance all season on Sunday, and it could not have come at a better time. The win against the Packers was needed to keep the Ravens alive in the playoff hunt, and the pass rushers did what they needed to do to leave victorious.
The Baltimore Ravens played one of their best games all season on Sunday. Despite a slow offensive performance, the defense was able to carry the Ravens to victory. With the win, quarterback Joe Flacco has beaten all but two NFL teams, the Seahawks, and the Ravens. John Harbaugh got his 100th career win, and the Ravens finally beat the Packers in Green Bay. The offensive performance throughout most of the game was slow, but the unit got the job done. Therefore, I give the offense a B grade. The defense, on the other hand, was nothing short of dominant. For their outstanding performance, the defensive unit gets an A+ grade. Overall, this performance by the Ravens gets a grade of A-. Hopefully, the Ravens will be able to continue this success into next week, when they play Tom Savage and the Houston Texans on Monday Night Football, in Baltimore.