The Day After: Packers Defeat Ravens

Mitchell had a great extended recap of the Green Bay Packers' win over the RavensBut of all people, how can he miss a Football Outsiders Packer related Admiral Ackbar reference? I guess a lack of sleep can break even the best of NFL writers. Speaking of a lack of sleep, I'm beat after traveling back from Green Bay on Tuesday. I just managed to avoid the blanket of snow that has buried Wisconsin. So all I've got is some links back to some other great articles.

From Tom Pelissero:

But [CB Tramon] Williams also drew three pass-interference penalties (cost: 112 yards) on downfield throws and could have had a fourth for repeatedly impeding the receiver’s arm(s) while the ball was in the air.

Oh you're killing me. Sometimes he does a great job, such as the INT in the end zone, but 112 penalty yards! After the Admiral Ackbar reference, Aaron Schatz sends more sarcasm Williams's way (and he's not wrong) after announcing the Packers are now No.3 overall according to their rankings (ahead of even the Colts):

Yes, those Packers. You can't accuse them of consistency, and you can't accuse them of understanding the pass interference rules, but you can accuse them of overall greatness...

(By the way, while I was putting that table together, Tramon Williams was flagged for defensive pass interference nine more times.)

Tom Pelissero again on why Williams was targeted so often:

The Packers played 29 of 66 snaps (43.9 percent) in base or Big Okie, their third-highest percentage all season. That meant nickel CB Jarrett Bush was on the field less than usual, leaving Williams as the natural target.

In the cold weather, neither team played their safeties deep. Though QB Aaron Rodgers outplayed QB Joe Flacco overall, Rodgers was much worse on his deep accuracy (remember that long 1st half INT?). While the Ravens kept both safeties in the game, the Packers often sent SS Atari Bigby out, and LB Brandon Chillar in his place. If throwing deep is tough, defensive coordinator Dom Capers apparently decided to use the Big Okie (5 LB package) to take RB Ray Rice out of the game. The Packers played with 5 LBs a lot in the 2nd half, which is part of the reason why Flacco was challenging Williams deep.

Tom Pelissero on the rookies:

Matthews’ other sack was all him, whipping LT Jared Gaither off the initial punch.

Raji (35 snaps) had his own nice day, twice working off LG Ben Grubbs to drop a runner for loss or no gain and hitting Flacco’s arm on a late incompletion. The third key rookie on defense, LOLB Brad Jones, had four pressures, including his sack against RT Michael Oher.

It was interesting that late in the game the Packer D was rushing four rookies (Matthews, Raji, DE Jarius Wynn, and Jones) at times to finish off the Ravens.

On the injuries - from Mike McCarthy:

The two injuries I'd just like to comment on. Nick Barnett had a knee sprain. He may miss some practice time this week. I'll know more about Nick in the morning. Also Ryan Pickett had a hamstring strain, and he'll definitely miss some practice time this week.

The run defense has been outstanding this season, and Barnett and Pickett have been playing great. One big advantage of playing the 3-4 defense is that it makes it difficult to run up the middle. RB Ryan Grant couldn't go up the middle at all while the Ravens were playing both of their middle linebackers and their safeties in tight. For the Packers, that middle is usually occupied by Barnett and Pickett. The injuries aren't severe, but they could be nagging. It's something to watch this week.

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