Pete Dougherty, Tom Silverstein and Aaron Nagler discuss Mike McCarthy's surprising game plan against the Ravens and the Packers' failures at backup quarterback. USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin
GREEN BAY – The Green Bay Packers arrived at the point Sunday where even some of their few positives are now troublesome.
Defensive tackle Kenny Clark, having a strong second season, was carted off the field early in the fourth quarter with an ankle injury. Clark, blocked by Baltimore Ravens center Ryan Jensen, had his right leg rolled up on in a pile.
After the game, safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix was displeased with how Jensen handled the play. Clinton-Dix said he saw things on film during the week that led him to believe Jensen was a dirty player. He said Jensen didn’t need to drive his hands into Clark, who Clinton-Dix said was in a compromising position.
“It was just a dirty play," Clinton-Dix said. "The guy’s on the ground, it’s just a dirty play. Just pushing him. Kenny’s legs are wrapped under him and he’s just (shoving him). He’s a dirty player, so it’s not like he was doing it on accident or just trying to be a physical player. He was doing it on purpose. He’s a dirty player, man.”
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Clark has been one of the Packers' best players on either side of the ball this season. But a team strength has been the defensive line, and the Packers have been rewarded after spending their offseason adding depth to the unit.
Defensive tackle Mike Daniels said that depth will be even more important without Clark.
“Kenny has been doing a great job,” Daniels said, “but our room is solid. Dean and Q have been awesome this year as well. So we’ll see the severity of his injury, but we’ve got our guys, and everybody just has to play harder. We have to play for him.”
Clark wasn’t the Packers’ lone injury Sunday.
Outside linebacker Clay Matthews, who had his first sack in 52 days, exited in the first half with a groin injury.
They also lost right tackle Justin McCray to a knee injury. McCray was replaced by second-year tackle Jason Spriggs, who was activated from injured reserve Saturday.
“It’s all right,” McCray said. “I just sort of fell on it. I fell, and somebody fell on me. ”
Back in town: The Packers promoted fullback Joe Kerridge from the practice squad to the 53-man roster Saturday afternoon, and 24 hours later he was in the game at Lambeau Field.
“It’s a good feeling to be back with Green Bay, just trying to do whatever I can for the team,” Kerridge said. “It was great seeing the guys when I came back a couple weeks ago. Picked up right where I left off and just trying to improve.”
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Kerridge performed very well in training camp and may have pushed starter Aaron Ripkowski for playing time if not for a calf injury. The Packers placed Kerridge on injured reserve before ultimately reaching an injury settlement.
“I had been back at (my alma mater) Michigan training and rehabbing and just getting right, waiting for my weeks to be over on my injury settlement and then trying to get back out to Green Bay,” Kerridge said. “Being a fullback in the NFL is — I don’t want to say it’s a dying thing, but a lot of teams don’t carry two fullbacks (on the 53-man roster). Getting the call back from Green Bay was a great feeling. I’m just trying to take advantage of this opportunity.”
Kerridge caught one pass for 3 yards in the waning moments of Sunday’s game.
Frustrated fans: There were several times throughout the Packers' first shutout loss in 11 years when fans inside Lambeau Field let the offense know how they felt.
The Packers' offense was booed multiple times as it left the field after an unsuccessful possession, something that’s rarely heard inside their home stadium. Receiver Jordy Nelson was asked about the fans’ response, and he appeared to understand.
“Part of it when you’re not performing,” Nelson said.
Return trip: Ravens safety Anthony Levine Sr. began his career as an undrafted rookie with the Packers. Levine spent the better part of two seasons on the Packers’ practice squad in 2010-11 before ultimately signing with the Ravens.
Levine, who plays mostly special teams, gave his teammates a pep talk prior to Sunday’s game against his former employer.
Said safety Eric Weddle: “Anthony Levine, our special teams ace, said to everyone today, ‘Let’s be legendary in a legendary stadium. We are in a seven-game stretch where we can’t just be good; we have to be the best in the league for us to get where we want to get.’”
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BOX SCORE: Ravens 23, Packers 0
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And then the Ravens pitched a shutout.
"When you've got one going, it's like a no-hitter," outside linebacker Terrell Suggs said. "When you've got one going, you want to keep it. You want to play dominant defense. This is the Ravens. This is a team that's built upon defense."