Lambeau Field was hit with a yellow-out on Monday.
But in the latest instance in which the Green Bay Packers were able to rise above some difficult times, they overcame a pile of penalties, three turnovers and their usual special-teams snafus to beat the Baltimore Ravens 27-14 on Monday night.
The Packers couldn't overcome adversity in either of the losses against Minnesota. They stumbled all over themselves when times got difficult at Tampa Bay. But in four backs-against-the-walls games – including games against equally desperate San Francisco and Baltimore -- the Packers are 4-0. Suddenly, they've gone from 4-4 and a trip to the firing squad to 8-4 and, perhaps, a trip to the playoffs.
"I'll say this about our football team," coach Mike McCarthy said. "I was very proud and excited the way they overcame the adversity throughout the football game, whether it was overcoming penalties, being in a long down-and-distance situation, or being on the 1-yard line, overcoming giveaways. The adversity that we overcame throughout the football game is something that we will definitely carry forward with us as a football team."
Green Bay entered the game with a league-low 10 turnovers but gave it away three times on this cold December evening. The Ravens turned the final two turnovers into touchdowns, turning a lopsided 17-0 affair into a hold-onto-your-hats 17-14 game entering the fourth quarter.
The Packers tried to answer, but Mason Crosby missed his second short field goal in as many weeks, this one a 38-yarder.
Last week with their season on the line, the Ravens drove to the tying field goal and won the game in overtime while in a similar situation. This time, the Packers' defense stiffened, forcing the Ravens to punt from their end zone on fourth-and-29. The Packers turned the resulting good field position into the latest biggest touchdown of the season. The maturation of Aaron Rodgers continued, with three consecutive completions culminating in a 19-yard scoring strike to Jermichael Finley to make it 24-14.
When the Ravens threatened to make a game of it again, thanks to a here-we-go-again kickoff return and a pass interference penalty on Tramon Williams that accounted for 22 of the Packers' ridiculous 175 penalty yards and put the ball on the 1-yard line, the defense again rose to the occasion. After Charles Woodson stopped Willis McGahee for a 2-yard loss, Williams picked off an ill-advised pass in the end zone.
"He was able to come through in the clutch," rookie linebacker Clay Matthews III said. "The defense was able to break the momentum shift which they had with the penalties and all. But you know, that's what we pride ourselves on is making big plays and creating turnovers and giving the ball back to our offense."
This game won't have much artistic merit. Rodgers wasn't at his sharpest, especially early. The Packers could neither run the ball nor catch the ball. The receiving corps dropped six passes – not including Donald Driver fumbling away a third-down conversion early in the third quarter. The penalties included four for defensive pass interference to hand the Ravens 115 yards.
But at the end of the night, the Packers had beaten one of the AFC's top teams. They had scored 27 points against a defense that allowed 56 over the previous five games. They had shut down a top running attack and forced three more turnovers to run their season total to 30. And they have won four consecutive games since it appeared the season had died at Tampa Bay.
"We thought we should have won that game," linebacker Nick Barnett said. "I think guys are just not looking back. We're just going full speed ahead. Since that game, I think everybody knows that everything's on the line. It's been on the line. Every game, we have something to lose big. Our season could be over every game. We're taking every game as a playoff mentality."
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook under Bill Huber.