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Game Notes: Field Fills With Flags

If the fans at Lambeau Field on Monday night were thinking they’d never seen so much penalty yardage in one game before, they were right. The Packers and Ravens combined for 310 penalty yards (on 23 infractions), the most combined penalty yards in the Green Bay franchise’s 1,200-plus game history. - More Packers-Ravens Game Center


If the fans at Lambeau Field on Monday night were thinking they'd never seen so much penalty yardage in one game before, they were right.

The Packers and Ravens combined for 310 penalty yards (on 23 infractions), the most combined penalty yards in the Green Bay franchise's 1,200-plus game history. The total topped the 309 yards in the Oct. 21, 1945, contest between the Packers and Boston Yanks.

It also tied for the second-highest penalty yardage in one game in NFL history.

The Packers had 11 penalties for 175 yards and the Ravens had 12 flags for 135. The huge yardage totals were due mostly to the nine pass interference calls -- some certainly questionable -- but many of which came on downfield throws and were significant plays in the game.

Some of the more noteworthy were:

--A 25-yard pass interference call on Baltimore cornerback Frank Walker against Greg Jennings in the second quarter, which helped lead to a Green Bay touchdown.

--A 41-yard pass interference call on Green Bay corner Tramon Williams against Demetrius Williams in the end zone, putting the ball on the 1-yard line and leading to a Ravens TD.

--An offensive pass interference call on Baltimore receiver Derrick Mason for pushing Charles Woodson out of the way to make a 46-yard catch on third-and-17 early in the fourth quarter. Mason then was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct for arguing the call, leaving the Ravens in a third-and-32 situation from their own 9.

Green Bay's Williams actually had three big pass interference calls for a total of 106 yards. Fortunately for the Packers, two of those were wiped out by Green Bay interceptions in the ensuing moments, one by Williams himself in the end zone.

"Some calls didn't go my way," Williams said. "I just kept playing through it."

Green Bay's 175 penalty yards were the second-most against the Packers in franchise history, behind only the 184 in the '45 game against the Yanks.

The other NFL game with 310 combined penalty yards was Tampa Bay (190) vs. Seattle (120) on Oct. 17, 1976. The all-time league record for most combined penalty yards in one game is 374 yards, set by Cleveland (209) and the Chicago Bears (165) on Nov. 25, 1951.

"We have to be smarter about those penalties," linebacker Nick Barnett said. "But we can't let it affect us, how we play, or start getting cautious about the way we play. We just have to keep grinding it out."

Rookies getting sacks

Rookie outside linebackers Clay Matthews and Brad Jones combined for three sacks on Monday night, with Matthews getting two of them. Jones' was the first of his career.

It marked just the fourth time in team history, and first time at Lambeau Field, that two rookies recorded sacks in the same game. Most recently, the feat was accomplished on Nov. 15, 1998, when Vonnie Holliday (two) and Jude Waddy each had sacks at the N.Y. Giants.

The other two were on Dec. 14, 1986, at Tampa Bay (Elbert Watts and Tim Harris) and on Dec. 9, 1984, at Chicago (Charles Martin and Alphonso Carreker).

Rookie B.J. Raji also has a sack this season, giving the Packers three rookies with sacks in the same year for the first time since 1987, when five players had sacks -- Jeff Drost, Johnny Holland, Kenneth Jordan, David Caldwell and Carl Sullivan, though the last two only recorded a half-sack each.

"They're all contributing," Head Coach Mike McCarthy said of the defensive rookies. "They're getting more and more play. They fit right into the plan. They're improving, they're getting better, they're quality reps, they're producing. And you just cannot have enough of those guys."

Matthews' two sacks give him seven on the season, which leads the team and also is tied for the most in the league by a rookie this season. Washington's Brian Orakpo also has seven sacks.

Matthews is now just one away from tying the Packers' rookie record of eight sacks, held by Holliday (1998) and Harris (1986).

"He doesn't play like a rookie, him or B.J. and Brad as well," veteran nose tackle Ryan Pickett said. "They don't play like rookies. They grew up fast. They're all stepping up, making big plays."

And enjoying seeing one another's early success.

"We definitely take pride in the fact that as rookies, we're kind of closer with one another than maybe with the rest of the team, just because you're part of a fraternity and all in the same class," Matthews said. "It's definitely special. When those guys are making plays, you feel a little more amped up, a little more happy for them. But at the same time, it's a team game. We all came out and executed today and got a win."

Nifty fifty

Donald Driver's 8-yard touchdown catch with 32 seconds left in the first half was his 50th career touchdown, making him the 10th player in Packers history to hit that mark in TDs. It ties him with James Lofton for ninth place in team annals.

The play also marked Driver's 49th receiving touchdown, which also ties him with Lofton in that category, good for fifth in franchise history. Like Driver, Lofton had one rushing touchdown in his nine-year career with the Packers from 1978-86. Driver's rushing TD came on a 31-yard run in 2001.

Driver's next touchdown catch will move him into a tie for fourth in team history with Max McGee (50, 1957-67). Like Driver and Lofton, McGee also had one non-receiving TD, but it was on a return.

Long wait

Offensive tackle Mark Tauscher recorded his first career pass reception on the Packers' opening drive. On third-and-3 from the Baltimore 7-yard line, Aaron Rodgers' pass was batted at the line by linebacker Ray Lewis, and Tauscher caught the deflection. He was dragged down for a 3-yard loss, leading to a Mason Crosby field goal.

{sportsad300}Tauscher actually had a pass reception earlier in his career, but it didn't count. On Christmas Day 2005 at Lambeau Field against the Bears, Tauscher caught a 1-yard TD pass in the second quarter on a tackle-eligible play, but the score was nullified by a holding penalty against Green Bay.

"That was a tough one," Tauscher said. "That one still sticks with me."

So much so that he still remembers the teammate that was flagged for the holding call.

"Grey Ruegamer," Tauscher said, without hesitation.

Streak still intact

Running back Ryan Grant came into Monday night's game with a streak of 218 carries without a fumble, and it almost ended just the fourth time he touched the ball.

On the first play of the Packers' second possession, right after the defense had recovered a fumble by Baltimore running back Ray Rice in the red zone, Ravens linebacker Dannell Ellerbe stripped the ball from Grant and cornerback Domonique Foxworth recovered for Baltimore at the Green Bay 21-yard line.

But the Packers challenged the play, and a replay review showed that Grant's knee was down just before the ball came out, so Green Bay kept possession.

Grant finished with just 41 yards on 18 carries, but ran his fumble-less streak to 236 rushes. Grant does have one fumble this season, on a pass reception.

Injury update

McCarthy reported only three injuries after the game. Tight ends Spencer Havner (wind knocked out) and Jermichael Finley (bruised knee) both left the game but returned to action.

Pickett, however, sustained a hamstring injury on the play where Williams intercepted a pass in the end zone in the fourth quarter, and he did not return.

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