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Remmel: Packers vs. Ravens


To be candid, any mention of Baltimore in connection with the Green Bay Packers - at least to a Green and Gold fanatic of a certain vintage - is much more remindful of the Green and Gold's rivalry with the former Baltimore Colts than it is of their young and current series with the Baltimore Ravens.

Inevitably, reference to the Maryland metropolis conjures up visions of Johnny Unitas, Alan "The Horse" Ameche and Raymond Berry, among others, not to mention lantern-jawed Don Shula, the winningest coach in pro football history, and his coaching duels with the Packers' fabled Vince Lombardi.

Chief among them a historic Western Conference playoff on the day after Christmas in 1965, memorable not only because the Packers ultimately prevailed (13-10) by way of a Don Chandler field goal but because it also was the first overtime game in Green Bay's storied annals.

Another encounter of special significance occurred a decade earlier. The date was Oct. 8, 1955, the site was Milwaukee County Stadium and a historical highlight found Kenosha's Alan "The Horse" Ameche, the Colts' first-round draft selection, returning to the state with the Hosses as a prized NFL rookie after winning the Heisman Trophy as the wheelhorse of the 1954 Wisconsin Badgers.

Ameche and the Colts proceeded to edge the Packers on that distant and highly publicized occasion, 24-20, before a crowd of 40,199 fans.

Focusing on the present and the competitive matter at hand, a nationally televised matchup with the Ravens Monday night, we find the Packers making their first regular season appearance in Baltimore since 1982, when they battled to a 20-20 overtime deadlock with the Colts, who would move to Indianapolis two years later.

It was the Packers' 17th appearance in Baltimore, where they were involved in a number of classic contests during the '60s at Memorial Stadium, a notoriously hostile venue which no longer exists.

One in particular evokes happy memories of Paul Hornung scoring a team-record five touchdowns on a foggy, late November afternoon in 1965 while leading Green Bay to a 42-27 victory.

Hornung, incidentally, remains the only Packers player ever to score five touchdowns in a single game.

The Golden Boy had first experienced record-breaking success against the Colts four years earlier, when he rang up 33 points in Green Bay's City Stadium (now Lambeau Field). Hornung that day scored four touchdowns, six extra points and one field goal to set the club's all-time single-game mark while escorting the Packers to a 45-7 triumph (Oct. 8, 1961).

With respect to Monday night's encounter with the Ravens, it will be the principals' third meeting but the Packers are facing them on Baltimore turf for the first time since the franchise was established.

The Ravens, of course, are the former Cleveland Browns, who moved to Baltimore in 1996 with a new identity.

Although it will be the Packers' first regular-season matchup with the Ravens in Baltimore, it will not be Green Bay's first visit as a Ravens opponent. The Packers invaded Memorial Stadium for a preseason game - in 1996 - and departed with a 17-15 victory, placekicker Richie Cunningham settling the issue with a 42-yard field goal with only 3 seconds remaining.

It was the Packers' final appearance in Memorial Stadium, which since has been demolished by the wrecking ball and replaced by M&T Bank Stadium at Camden Yards.

The area also is home to baseball's Baltimore Orioles, who earlier had moved into Camden Yards next door.

The Packers' owe their 2-0 advantage in the regular-season series largely to quarterback Brett Favre, who presided over 28-10 and 31-23 victories over the Ravens in 1998 and 2001 respectively, both in Lambeau Field.

The latter represented a singular accomplishment for the Green and Gold, who dispatched then-defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore with surprising facility, sweeping to an early 17-0 advantage and leading throughout.

Favre seldom has been more efficient, completing 27 of 34 passes for 337 yards and a touchdown - without an interception - to close out the afternoon with an imposing 137.4 passer rating.

In the overall process, the Packers' field general conducted touchdown drives of 59, 74, 80 and 82 yards.

Flanker Antonio Freeman, a Baltimore native, had a career day against his hometown team. Favre's primary target, he emerged with a game-leading nine receptions for 138 yards, a 15.3-yard average, and a touchdown.

Continuing an association with the team that is more than 55 years old, Lee Remmel was named the first official Team Historian of the Green Bay Packers in February 2004. The former *Green Bay Press-Gazette reporter and Packers public relations director, Remmel will write regular columns for as part of his new assignment.

In addition to those articles, Remmel will answer fan questions in a monthly Q&A column. To submit a question to Remmel, click here. *

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