GREEN BAY – In his fourth start as the Green Bay Packers quarterback, Brett Hundley appeared to have more of coach Mike McCarthy’s offense at his disposal Sunday afternoon.
It went poorly.
In a game their defense played well enough to win, the Packers were shut out in a dispiriting 23-0 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. It was the first time the Packers have been shut out since Nov. 19, 2006, when they lost 35-0 at home to the New England Patriots in McCarthy’s first season as coach.
The Ravens entered Lambeau Field with the NFL’s worst-ranked pass offense, a unit that also ranked 30th in yards per game, but they were significantly better than an anemic Packers offense still aimless without Aaron Rodgers.
The loss might have been a deathblow to the Packers' chances of staying competitive late in the season. They are now 5-5 through 10 games, and even though that’s one game better than their 10-game record in 2016, there is no cavalry on the way. The Packers, closer to last than first in the NFC North, are now 1-4 in games Rodgers does not finish.
Here are takeaways from Sunday’s loss:
CLUMSY START: The Packers opened with three turnovers on their first three possessions for the first time since Sept. 12, 1982, against the Los Angeles Rams, according to Elias. Two of those turnovers were interceptions from Hundley on the first two possessions; the third was a fumble on rookie Devante Mays’ first career carry. Of the three, Hundley’s first interception was most harmful. It came with the Packers at Baltimore’s 5-yard line on second-and-goal. Hundley had receiver Davante Adams open underneath, but threw into double coverage to Randall Cobb. Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith intercepted the pass in the end zone, taking an easy three points off the board for the Packers, if not a touchdown. Hundley finished 21-of-36 for 239 yards, three interceptions and a 42.1 rating. He was also sacked six times and the offense was booed several times while leaving the field Sunday.
SILVERSTEIN: Hundley's play sparks tough questions
DOUGHERTY: McCarthy fails to provide help for Hundley
RUN GAME GOES BACKWARD: The Packers' run game was productive enough to win last week in Chicago against a stout Bears defensive front. Against the Ravens’ 28th-ranked run defense, it effectively disappeared. The Packers rushed for 75 yards on 25 carries, averaging 3 yards per rush. Jamaal Williams was solid in short yardage but showed why he hasn’t been the Packers' preferred tailback, finishing with 57 yards on 18 carries (3.2-yard average). Williams’ longest run was 8 yards, which doubles as his longest run this season. If Ty Montgomery doesn’t return from his ribs injury next week, it’ll be interesting to see if the Packers expand their backfield rotation. Mays did not get another carry until the Packers final drive, and he fumbled again.
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DEFENSE END PAIR OF DROUGHTS: It was a good day to end droughts for the Packers' defense. Clay Matthews started in the first quarter, getting his first sack since Week 4. That snapped a stretch of 52 days without a sack, perhaps fitting for No. 52. Safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix dropped an interception in the first quarter, leading to the Ravens’ first field goal, but he came back in the second quarter to intercept quarterback Joe Flacco. Clinton-Dix, whose last interception came in the same game Matthews had his last sack, squeezed Ravens running back Danny Woodhead against the left sideline to remove Flacco’s throwing window.
VIDEO CHAT: Aaron Nagler postgame with fans
PACKERS CHAT: Ryan Wood at 1 p.m. Monday
ONE-SIDED FIELD POSITION: It was a good day for defense, which meant field position was at a premium. The Ravens had a clear edge in field position, helping them control the game and ultimately win. On average, the Ravens’ 11 possessions started at their own 46.5-yard line, almost 30 yards better than the Packers' average starting position (19.6). The Packers started inside Ravens territory once, at their 45-yard line after Baltimore’s 15-yard penalty for “verbally abusing” an official following a punt. The Ravens started in plus territory five times.
BOX SCORE: Ravens 23, Packers 0
GAME BLOG: Review Silverstein's live coverage
INJURIES: Second-year defensive tackle Kenny Clark, one of the Packers' few positives at the moment, was carted off the field and straight to the locker room with an ankle injury after his right leg was rolled up on. Matthews did not play in the second half after leaving with a groin injury midway through the second quarter. Right tackle Justin McCray left with a knee injury and was replaced by 2016 second-round pick Jason Spriggs, who returned from injured reserve Saturday. Cornerback Damarious Randall was injured slamming his forehead into the turf after allowing a touchdown in the second half, but he returned.