Packers hold off Ravens to clinch NFC North title
Aaron Rodgers passed for 268 yards and three touchdowns as the visiting Green Bay Packers edged the Baltimore Ravens 31-30 on Sunday to clinch the NFC North division title.
The Packers (11-3) won for the fourth time in five games and maintained control of the top seed in the NFC playoffs by sweating out a wild finish. Green Bay was outgained 354 yards to 346 and withheld a late Ravens surge, as Baltimore quarterback Tyler Huntley ran for an 8-yard score with 42 seconds left to pull the Ravens within one point.
Rather than attempt a point-after touchdown kick to tie the game, however, the Ravens elected for a two-point conversion. Huntley’s pass for Mark Andrews was incomplete.
The Ravens (8-6) lost their third straight game to fall into a tie with the Bengals atop the AFC North. The teams are set to meet in Cincinnati next week.
Huntley started in place of Lamar Jackson, who sprained his right ankle early in the second quarter of last week’s 24-22 loss at Cleveland. Huntley nearly helped Baltimore rally from a 21-point deficit a week ago and performed admirably against the Packers, going 28-for-40 for 215 yards and two touchdowns through the air while rushing for 73 yards and two scores.
Rodgers completed 23 of 31 passes. Marquez Valdes-Scantling had five receptions for 98 yards and a score, while Davante Adams and Aaron Jones added receiving TDs.
Andrews had 10 receptions for 136 yards and two TDs.
Facing a fourth-and-1 from the Green Bay 15 and trailing 21-14, Baltimore lined up to go for it with three-plus minutes remaining in the third quarter. A false-start penalty on rookie offensive lineman Ben Cleveland proved costly, however, as the added yardage prompted the Ravens to kick a 38-yard field goal instead.
Justin Tucker’s kick was good, but Baltimore was unable to secure the stop it needed on the ensuing Packers possession. Rodgers connected with Valdes-Scantling for an 11-yard touchdown to cap an 11-play, 88-yard drive and put Green Bay on top 28-17. The scoring pass was No. 442 of Rodgers’ career, tying him with Hall of Famer Brett Favre for the most in franchise history.
Rodgers had an opportunity to surpass Favre about three minutes later, but he narrowly missed an open Allen Lazard in the right corner of the end zone on third-and-goal. The Packers settled for a 29-yard field goal to take a 31-17 lead with 9:30 to play.
Huntley capped a 75-yard drive with a 3-yard TD run to cut the deficit to seven with 4:47 to go before scoring his second TD in the final minute.
–Field Level Media