Packers vs. Ravens: Takeaways from Green Bay's 19-17 Win over Baltimore
A 19-17 win over the Baltimore Ravens in Week 6 now gives the Green Bay Packers a two-game winning streak. The Packers won an ugly game for the second straight week, but even the ugliest of wins are still wins.
The Packers now have a winning record for the first time this year with a record of 3-2. While they're certainly excited about this, there wasn't much else to be excited about from this game.
From injuries to mental mistakes and everything in between, there were plenty of negative takeaways from this game to go along with the obvious positive ones. Let's break down exactly what we learned in the Packers win on Sunday.
*All statistics courtesy of NFL.com.
Injuries Will Dominate Headlines
The Green Bay Packers were already without starters Clay Matthews and Brad Jones entering the game. If that was the least of their problems at the end of their game against the Baltimore Ravens, they'd probably be rather excited.
Unfortunately, that simply isn't the case. The Packers lost starting wide receiver James Jones with a leg injury early in the first half. That injury, however, was minor compared to the next injury Green Bay suffered.
That was the injury to wide receiver Randall Cobb that came later in the first half. Cobb was hit hard in the leg after making a long reception. He had difficulty getting off the field after the play and was eventually taken to the locker room on a cart.
With both Jones and Cobb gone, the Packers were left with only Jarrett Boykin and Jordy Nelson at receiver. The injuries had a huge effect on the Packers offense, as the unit was never really able to get anything going after the injuries.
Despite the win from Green Bay, all anyone will be able to talk about in the coming days is what the Packers will do with all of their injuries.
There Were Plenty of Mistakes, Too
Injuries were a big part of the Green Bay Packers struggles, but there were also a handful of mistakes that had a negative impact on this game.
For starters, there were too many drops from the Packers receivers this week. It wasn't just the usual suspects either; all the Packers receivers had difficulties this week. Jordy Nelson, Jarrett Boykin and James Jones all had drops in this game.
Then there was the bonehead play from John Kuhn in the first half. On a blocked punt by the Packers, Kuhn went to pick up the ball to run instead of leaving it alone. He failed to pick it up, the Baltimore Ravens recovered and since Kuhn touched the ball, the Ravens got possession back.
Finally, Jermichael Finley made a mistake by going out of bounds late in the fourth quarter after a huge gain. While it ultimately didn't matter by the end of the game, it was still a mental mistake that shouldn't have been made.
These types of mistakes simply can't continue to happen if the Packers want to be successful for the rest of the year.
The Defense Was Dominant
Well, A.J. Hawk was extremely dominant, and the rest of the Green Bay Packers defense was pretty good.
Hawk had his best game of the season, and possibly his career, against the Baltimore Ravens. He finished the day with 10 total tackles and a ridiculous three sacks.
However, it wasn't just Hawk who was playing extremely well for the Packers. Cornerback Davon House was a force in the secondary with a handful of pass deflections throughout the game.
Keeping the Ravens to 17 points and their ground game to only 47 rushing yards is a huge win for this Packers defense.
The Run Defense Was Especially in Top Form
Since we're on the topic of the Green Bay Packers defense, let's talk about how good the run defense was.
Many consider Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice to be one of the most talented running backs in the league. The Packers held him to only 34 yards on 14 carries, which is an average of 2.4 yards per carry.
Furthermore, Green Bay also slowed down Rice's backup, Bernard Pierce, by holding him to only nine yards on six carries. All in all, the Packers run defense held the Ravens to an average of 2.1 yards per carry on the game.
As long as they continue to play with this aggressiveness against the run, Green Bay should be able to slow a ton of NFL teams down offensively for the remainder of the season.
The Offense, However, Was Not Dominant
For the second, and maybe third, straight week, the Green Bay Packers struggled on offense. Yes, some of that had to do with the injuries we've already talked about, but it's clear that something just isn't clicking with this offense.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers finished the game by completing 17 of his 32 passes for 315 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He also put a ball on the ground that was recovered by the Baltimore Ravens.
Rodgers' stats may not look too bad, but when you take away his one good play, a 64-yard touchdown pass to Jordy Nelson, his struggles on the day become much clearer. Overall, the only player on offense who seemed to play with some consistency was running back Eddie Lacy.
This offense was supposed to be the strength of this team and one of the best in the league. Through five games, they've proven to be mediocre at best.
Where's the Love for Eddie Lacy?
On the second play of the game, Eddie Lacy broke a huge run for a 37-yard gain. That ultimately set up the Green Bay Packers for their first field goal of the game.
After that, it seemed like the Packers completely abandoned Lacy for the rest of the first half. He eventually got back on the field and played great football, but his absence early was a major head-scratcher.
Lacy ultimately finished the game with 120 rushing yards on just 23 carries. He ran hard, he ran with purpose and he was easily one of the best players offensively this week for Green Bay.
Lacy now has 270 rushing yards on the season in only three games of action. If the Packers want to continue to find success on offense, Lacy will need to continue to see the ball in his hands.
Depth Is a Major Issue at Wide Receiver
With James Jones and Randall Cobb out of this game, the Green Bay Packers only had two active receivers on their roster. That's right, Jordy Nelson and Jarrett Boykin were the only receivers on the depth chart for the entire second half.
While the Packers made it work this week, it's not something that they'll be able to continue to do in the upcoming weeks. Depth at wide receiver is now a major issue for the Packers moving forward.
Their only options are to trade for a receiver, sign a free-agent receiver or bring up one from their practice squad. Considering Myles White is the only receiver on their practice squad, the first two options are the ones that make sense for Green Bay.
Look for the Packers to make a move early in the week to add much-needed depth to their wide receiver corps.
Clay Matthews Wasn't Missed
As surprising as this may sound, it's absolutely true: Clay Matthews wasn't missed in this game for the Green Bay Packers.
When it was announced that he'd miss multiple games with an injured thumb, it appeared as if the Packers defense would take a big step backward. However, the Packers looked better than ever in their win over the Baltimore Ravens.
The defense finished with five sacks and two forced fumbles on the game. They did give up a bunch of yards through the air (342 to be exact), but a good chunk of those yards came very late in the game.
Will it be great when Matthews returns? Absolutely, but the great news is that it clearly won't be a disaster while he's out.
Struggles Abound, but the Season Is Still Young
If there is one thing that is clear from this victory for the Green Bay Packers, it's that there are still a mound of issues that need to get fixed on both sides of the ball.
The offense isn't clicking, there are injuries everywhere and the secondary is still getting carved up like a Thanksgiving Day turkey. However, the thing that the Packers, and Packers fans, need to keep in mind is that the season is still early.
Green Bay has barely played a quarter of its season, it is 3-2 and the schedule isn't quite as difficult from here on out. With such a young season, it's possible that anything can happen, and the Packers have enough talent that what will happen will likely be good.