Aaron Rodgers did not have the best game of his career. But he was at his best when it counted.
The all-world quarterback was much maligned by a Baltimore Ravens defense that showed tenacity all day. He outdueled Joe Flacco as the Packers earned a hard fought win in Baltimore, 19-17.
While these two teams can score at will, the game was played more like a struggle of wills. As Rodgers told ESPN.com, it’s these kinds of games that help a team get better.
"Days like today remind you of why you love this game so much," Rodgers said. "Offensively, we're struggling a little bit, but we found a way to make enough plays to win."
His ability to come up big at the end of the game helped propel the Packers to the victory. Here are five things we learned from Sunday’s action.
Packers can move the ball
Statistically, the Packers outgained Baltimore, 438-360. That is actually a huge number. Even with the low score, Rodgers was in control of this game. Flacco was very effective as well. He threw for 342 yards and two touchdowns.
"Aaron made some really good plays out of the pocket in the second half," Baltimore coach John Harbaugh said in the post game story. "Early, he held it and took some sacks. Later, he held it and found some openings."
Defense was tough despite injuries
Even without linebackers Clay Matthews and Brad Jones, the Packers allowed Baltimore 47 yards on the ground. The defense also had five sacks, including three by A.J. Hawk.
Baltimore’s defense did apply pressure on Rodgers, registering three sacks of their own.
A big return for the Ravens
Jacoby Jones helped Baltimore make this a game. Jones has been out for the past four weeks with injuries.
As written in the post game review, “Down 16-3, the Ravens began playing with a sense of urgency. Flacco directed a 10-play, 80-yard drive that ended with an 11-yard touchdown pass to Jacoby Jones with 11:52 remaining. Jones, who missed the previous four weeks with a knee injury, finished with two catches for 42 yards and had a 35-yard kickoff return.”
Nelson comes up huge
Jordy Nelson is quickly becoming a staple in the offense for the Packers and fantasy leagues everywhere.
The receiver caught four passes for 114 yards and a score on the day and led the Packers in that category. Nelson’s catch for the score was of 64 yards.
Receiving woes as well
James Jones was hurt early in the first quarter Sunday and Randall Cobb was hurt on the Packers' last play before halftime. When Nelson was used as the primary receiver, the Ravens' defense looked on to Nelson, which resulted in an interception, which was the first of the season for Rodgers when he used Nelson as the primary target.