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Aaron Rodgers, Packers hold off Ravens
BALTIMORE — For much of the afternoon, Aaron Rodgers was ducking oncoming linemen and misconnecting with hurried throws.
When it counted, however, Rodgers came up with the big plays.
Rodgers went 17 for 32 for 315 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He played most of the game without two of his top three receivers — James Jones hurt his left knee on a first-quarter play, and Randall Cobb left for good after being struck on his right knee on a tackle by Matt Elam.
And still, Rodgers was magnificent.
His 64-yarder to Nelson gave Green Bay a 16-3 lead late in the third quarter. After the Ravens closed to 19-17 on an 18-yard touchdown catch by Dallas Clark with 2:04 remaining, Rodgers clinched the victory with a 52-yard completion to Jermichael Finley on a third-and-3.
Rodgers completed only seven passes after halftime, yet those plays totaled 199 yards.
“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.”
The Ravens (3-3) had won 13 straight at home against NFC foes.
“Aaron made some really good plays out of the pocket in the second half,” Baltimore coach John Harbaugh said. “Early, he held it and took some sacks. Later, he held it and found some openings.”
Rodgers received ample aid from a depleted defense. Despite playing without injured linebackers Clay Matthews and Brad Jones, the Packers limited Baltimore to 47 yards rushing and registered five sacks, including three by A.J. Hawk.
“It’s kind of been our motto for a long time around here: ‘Next man up.’ We have to make it work,” Hawk said. “We had a lot of young guys out there today who really did a good job.”
It all added up to Green Bay’s first road win following losses at San Francisco and Cincinnati.
“It’s important to win on the road in this league if you want to make the playoffs,” Rodgers said. “This was a tough environment. This is a team that’s defending champs, a football team that’s very well-coached, great players on both sides of the ball. This is a great team character-building win.”
By John R. Bolton
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