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Packers Defense Fails To Contain Ravens Offense


The Packers have suffered difficult losses all season, but a strong defense has helped keep them in every game.

On Monday, however, the Baltimore Ravens offense seemed to move the ball at will against the Packers defense, and that led to a 48-3 Packers loss.

Kyle Boller played one of the best games of his career, hooking up twice with tight end Todd Heap for touchdowns and once with wide receiver Randy Hymes. He completed 19-of-27 passes for 253 yards, leading the Ravens to the most points in their franchise's history. And he put up those points against a Packers unit, which entered the game as the fifth-ranked defense in the NFL.

The Packers' offensive performance fell short as well. They lost Samkon Gado with a knee injury in the first quarter, making it more difficult to churn out yardage. Before the injury Gado ran effectively, amassing 45 yards on six carries, including an outside run for 26 yards. Tony Fisher replaced Gado and finished with 27 yards on four carries. Noah Herron, became the sixth Packers running back to receive action. The rookie from Northwestern rushed for the first time in an NFL game and accounted for 27 yards on eight carries.

Another rookie, Aaron Rodgers, played in his second NFL game, entering the contest with 11 seconds left in the third quarter. On his first dropback, linebacker Adalius Thomas blitzed Rodgers and sacked him to force a fumble. Thomas would later return another Rodgers fumble for a touchdown.

Rodgers, however, had his moments. He converted two fourth downs on a 15-yard pass to Antonio Chatman and a five-yard pass to David Martin to lead the Packers to the Ravens' eight-yard line. That drive ended when safety Chad Williams intercepted Rodgers' pass in the end zone. The rookie quarterback finished 8-of-15 for 65 yards.

For all intents and purposes, the outcome of the game had been decided by the time Rodgers replaced Favre. Like Rodgers, Favre forced a few passes he would like to have back. Samari Rolle intercepted a deep pass intended for Robert Ferguson at the Ravens' four-yard line with 12:45 left in the second quarter. Cornerback Deion Sanders, who played with Favre for one season in Atlanta, intercepted another Favre pass with 2:05 left in the game.

Ed Reed caused the latter interception by pressuring Favre on a blitz. The ballhawking safety seemed to be everywhere -- pressuring Favre, decleating B.J. Sander during a punt return and leveling Donald Driver during his 20-yard reception. Reed helped limit Favre to a 14-of-29, 144-yard performance.

The Packers special teams also had their miscues. B.J. Sams broke several tackles while returning a punt 47 yards to the Green Bay 18-yard line. That play set up Boller's two-yard scoring pass to Heap, giving the Raven a 7-0 lead less than five minutes into the game. Vonta Leach bobbled a kick during a return as did William Henderson.

Ahmad Carroll, however, provided a highlight with his kickoff return. The former All-American sprinter raced 57 yards and hurdled kicker Matt Stover in the process. Stover's illegal block penalty tacked on 15 more yards. The Packers used that shortened field for their only score, a 27-yard Ryan Longwell field goal with 5:23 left in the first quarter.

Nick Collins served up some of the few highlights for the Packers as well. He recorded 12 tackles and leveled Heap to force an incompletion. Collins played well, but like the rest of the team could not slow the Ravens offense.

The Ravens moved the ball at will for the majority of the game. Their most impressive drive occurred following their first interception of Favre. The Ravens started with the ball on their four-yard line and drove 96 yards in 8:26 during a 16-play drive. Boller hit Heap three times on the possesion, and Jamal Lewis rushed eight times, which culminated in Randy Hymes' impressive one-handed 13-yard-touchdown reception.

That 96-yard drive gave the Ravens a 21-3 lead. Heap outjumped Mark Roman, adding a 27-yard touchdown with 9:49 in the third quarter. Lewis burrowed in from three yards out for the Ravens' final offensive score eight seconds into the fourth quarter. Heap caught nine passes for 110 yards on the day while Lewis rushed 22 times for 105 yards.

Thomas set up the Lewis touchdown with his sack and fumble of Rodgers, which Bart Scott returned to the Green Bay 14-yard line. A blitzing Williams would force another Rodgers fumble on the game's second-to-last possession. Thomas returned that fumble 35 yards for a touchdown.

That play came with 25 seconds left in game, effectively ending a game the Packers would like to forget.


Howie Ferguson passed way from congestive heart failure on Dec. 18 at age 75 in his home in New Iberia, La. Ferguson was inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame in 1974. The fullback gained 2,120 yards with the Packers.

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