Packers 27, Ravens 14

A month ago, the Green Bay Packers were worried that their

season was slipping away.

Now they’ve won four straight after beating the Baltimore Ravens

on Monday night.

Yes, Monday’s 27-14 win was monumentally ugly. But that didn’t

matter afterward, because the Packers are suddenly sitting pretty

in the playoff race.

“It wasn’t pretty out there, but a win is a win,” Packers wide

receiver Donald Driver said. “We had to get this one to stay ahead

in the playoff race.”

While the Packers (8-4) are in good position to earn an NFC

wild-card berth, Monday’s win showed they still have some work to

do to be taken seriously once they make it to the playoffs.

Aaron Rodgers threw three touchdown passes, including two to

tight end Jermichael Finley. But Rodgers also had a pair of

interceptions, two of the combined seven turnovers in the game.

The teams also committed 23 penalties for 310 yards, tying for

the second-highest yardage total in an NFL game.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy called the penalties “unbelievable

for both sides” but said he was happy with the way his team

responded to trying circumstances – something they hadn’t done well

early in the season.

“I’ll say this about our football team: I was very proud and

excited the way they overcame the adversity,” McCarthy said.

The Ravens (6-6) struggled in coverage without star safety Ed

Reed, who sat out with hip and ankle injuries.

But Ravens coach John Harbaugh insisted his team is “still

breathing” in the playoff race.

“We’ve got plenty to be encouraged about,” Harbaugh said.

“We’re in a tight race for the wild card, we are every bit in it.

Everybody, they’ll say what they’ll say. It’s a week-to-week

proposition in this league.”

This week wasn’t so good.

Baltimore was called for five pass interference penalties, the

most by a team in a single game since the New York Giants in 2001

according to STATS LLC.

Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis said he didn’t think one call cost

them the game.

“Bottom line, (the) call was made,” Lewis said. “You don’t

gripe about it, you just keep on moving.

The Packers weren’t much better, getting flagged four times for

pass interference.

Rodgers was 26 of 40 for 263 yards with two interceptions, only

his sixth and seventh of the season.

While Reed’s replacement, Tom Zbikowski, came up with one of the

interceptions, the Ravens struggled in coverage.

Baltimore’s Joe Flacco was 15 of 36 for 137 yards with a

touchdown and three interceptions. The Packers sacked him three

times.

The win is a continuation of a significant momentum swing for

the Packers, who were 4-4 after looking bad in back-to-back losses

to Minnesota and Tampa Bay in early November but haven’t lost

since.

They’ve worked out some of their pass protection problems –

Rodgers was sacked only once Monday night – and their defense

appears to be getting more comfortable in the 3-4 scheme installed

by defensive coordinator Dom Capers in the offseason.

“If our defense plays like it did tonight, we’re going to be

tough to beat,” Rodgers said.

Leading 17-0 at halftime and seemingly cruising, the Packers

suddenly found themselves scrambling after a pair of turnovers,

both involving Driver, allowed Baltimore to get back in the

game.

The Packers were driving on their first possession of the second

half when Driver caught a pass in Ravens territory and fumbled as

he turned to run upfield. Flacco made the Packers pay, throwing to

Kelley Washington for a touchdown. Washington tried to do a

“Lambeau leap,” but fans pushed him out of the stands.

Rodgers watched as his first pass of the next possession bounced

off Driver’s leg and into the arms of linebacker Jarret Johnson.

Flacco went deep, drawing pass interference on Packers cornerback

Tramon Williams. Willis McGahee scored on a 1-yard touchdown run

two plays later, cutting the lead to 17-14 in the third

quarter.

After a missed field goal by Green Bay’s Mason Crosby, Flacco

then threw deep downfield to Derrick Mason, who caught the ball but

was called for offensive pass interference against Charles Woodson.

Mason compounded the problem by drawing an unsportsmanlike conduct

penalty afterward, and the Ravens had to punt from their own 9-yard

line.

The Packers got the ball back, and Rodgers threw to Korey Hall

and Driver for first downs before finding Finley for a 19-yard

touchdown pass and a 24-14 lead with 10:31 remaining.

The Packers allowed a long kickoff return and Williams was

called for pass interference, but Williams came back to pick off

Flacco in the end zone to preserve the lead.

“It was getting frustrating a little bit out there,” Williams

said. “But, you know, it can get like that sometimes. As a

defensive back, you have to have a short term memory and continue

playing. Something will eventually happen in your favor and luckily

it did for me tonight.”

NOTES: Ray Rice was held to 54 yards rushing and lost a fumble.

“You can’t give them the ball,” Rice said. “I gave it to them.

We’ll get it corrected.” … The Packers placed OLB Aaron Kampman

on injured reserve and signed OLB Cyril Obiozor from the practice

squad before Monday’s game. … Finley briefly left the game with a

knee injury but was able to return.