Good, bad and ugly from Packers’ 31-30 win over Ravens

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  • Baltimore Ravens
    Baltimore Ravens
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  • Green Bay Packers
    Green Bay Packers
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  • Aaron Rodgers
    Aaron Rodgers
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The Green Bay Packers became the first team in the NFL to 11 wins and the first team to clinch a playoff spot by beating the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium.

The NFC North champions overcame deficits of 7-0 and 14-7 in the first half and then held on for dear life as the Ravens raced back from a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter. A dramatic stop on a two-point try with 42 seconds left allowed the Packers to escape with a 31-30 victory.

Here’s the good, the bad and the ugly from the Packers’ Week 15 win:

The Good

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Packers offense: Aaron Rodgers threw three touchdown passes and probably could have had four or five against a depleted Ravens secondary. The Packers started slow, but Rodgers and the offense responded to a pair of Ravens touchdowns in the first half with touchdowns of their own, and they took control of the contest with back-to-back touchdown drives to open the second half. Not including the final possession, the Packers scored on five of eight possessions, and the offense averaged 5.9 yards per play. The group was devastatingly effective on first down and also converted 5-of-9 opportunities on third down and 4-of-5 trips into the red zone. The Packers have scored 30 or more in four straight games and are really starting to click on offense. With 13 touchdown passes and zero interceptions over the last four weeks, Rodgers is now the favorite to be the NFL’s MVP again.

The Bad

Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Defense with a lead: The Packers took a 14-point lead with just over nine minutes to go, but Joe Barry’s defense gave up two quick scoring drives to backup quarterback Tyler Huntley, who marched the Ravens 75 yards for the first score and 49 yards for the second. Huntley converted two third-down opportunities and another on fourth down during the touchdown drives. The Packers eventually got the stop on the two-point conversion, but Green Bay has now allowed 28 points or more in four straight games. The Ravens created 24 first downs, converted nine third downs or fourth downs, and out-gained the Packers, 354 to 343. It took a fourth-down stop in the red zone and the late stop on the two-point conversion to prevent a really ugly afternoon from the defense. The defense’s containment of Hundley, a scrambling quarterback with terrific athleticism, was nothing if not concerning.

The Ugly

Green Bay Packers special teams coordinator Maurice Drayton.

The special teams, again. Coach Matt LaFleur said the play on special teams “isn’t up to the standard,” which might be the understatement of the century. The Packers did recover the final onside kick, but Maurice Drayton’s group continues to make baffling errors in key spots. Among the mistakes: a fair-catch interference penalty, a holding penalty negating a kickoff return, a botched kickoff return, and a 40-yard punt following a delay of game penalty. Incredibly, Sunday’s performance on special teams was a massive improvement over last week. The Packers have to be better in the third phase or a loss to a good football team could be just around the corner.

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