Now this is a rarity. The Baltimore Ravens are one of the Packers’ most uncommon opponents. That has a lot to do with the fact that their franchise is so new, but it’s fun nonetheless. For such an aged club, playing an opponent that you’ve played less than 20-30 times seems weird. We’ve played the Bears 194 times, the Lions 174 times, and the Vikings 112 times. The Ravens have faced the Green and Gold 5 times. So, naturally, for Pack to the Past this represents a fun challenge. There aren’t many matchups to choose from. However, these guys don’t come around but every 4 years, it’s great to have the opportunity.

How have the Packers fared in our 5 games? It’s not close. We’re 4-1 against the Ravens all-time, but I’ll cheekily admit the sample size is low. The success the Ravens have had since their inception make this somewhat surprising. The Ravens have been a model version of an expansion team since their entrance into the league in 1996. Since then, they’ve won two championships–something the Jaguar, Texans, and Browns take as a personal affront. They have been a fun team to watch but this year has certainly been less-than-exciting.

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The Ravens come into Lambeau gasping for air. They’ve been beaten by bad teams and good teams and their offense is struggling. In a way, they aren’t that much different than us. Maybe the Ravens will end up being the bizarro Packers, our archenemies, living in a division that is the upside-down version of ours. Mostly, I’m just excited to see what the hell the uniforms are going to look like together when we wear our throwbacks.

The Packers are coming off a win, hoping to string a few together to keep in the hunt. No, I still do not want to consider the possibility Aaron won’t be coming back. I see you, snide Packers Twitter guy, telling me that I’m dumb for believing. I’ll ask you this, “When you learned Santa wasn’t real, did you cry? Or did you believe even harder, like me?” I bet you cried. Anyway.

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This week, I’m continuing my exposure therapy methodology. We’re going to look at a time in which we were healthy…and terrible. Again, you should ask yourself, do I prefer disappointment or humiliation? It’s an easy choice this week as we explore the rout that is the only victory Baltimore has over us.

The Green Bay Packers at the Baltimore Ravens

Week 15

December 19th, 2005

GB-3 BAL-48

You’d be plenty forgiven for forgetting that this game ever happened. Really, you might as well just scratch that whole season from your memory banks. I know I did. That was the year I hit puberty. I had no time for Mike Sherman wasting another season of Brett Favre’s career. I needed to look at my acne in the mirror with a mixture of shock and horror. It was a busy time.

But, this is the Ravens’ only win against the Packers and it was a doozy.

This is a really bizarre game. There are a few names involved here that you might not expect. Let’s start with the game, however. The Packers fell behind early, punting after an immediate 3-and-out that was capped by an intentional grounding penalty on Favre. This was the start of a dismal night for him, not to mention the punt was returned for 50 yards and set the Ravens up with great field position.  They scored quickly on a Kyle Boller-Todd Heap connection. That’s a weird sentence now, but it was a fairly productive pairing over the years.

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Samkon Gado started the next drive with purpose. Favre went 2/3 for 7 yards and the Packers punted. That would become a theme. So would the Ravens scoring after a failed Packers possession, because it took only four more plays to get into the endzone with a direct-snap run by receiver Mark Clayton. This was one of the earliest looks at a “Wildcat” style formation that I’ve seen and it worked out fairly well for them.

Considering that this game was already in the bag for Baltimore, they ran it down the Packers’ throats for the rest of the game, amassing 182 yards on 38 carries which included a touchdown run by familiar-face running back Chester Taylor. The Packers were basically in no-contest mode, surrendering 5 turnovers, two of which were provided by #4. So, why is this game so interesting?

  1. Brett had a terrible game, that’s for sure. On a pass play in the late second quarter he was pressured from behind and did that weird Brett thing we will always remember: he just freaking launched the thing. It was like the pass rusher set off a spring and the ball compulsively exploded from his hands. However, the only people anywhere in range were 3 Baltimore defenders. One of which was the immortal Deion Sanders. I had no idea he played for the Ravens before I did the research. It’s like a ghost from the past appeared simply to haunt Brett.
  2. This is one of the first times that we got to see Aaron Rodgers. It was also one of the reasons that people were so afraid to move on from Favre after the stellar 2007 season. Rodgers looked godawful. I’m talking Brett Hundley against the Vikings bad. Worse even. He barely played and accounted for the other 3 turnovers that really helped balloon the score out like this. He looked like a scrub, a nobody that the Packers had reached on. Does that sound familiar?

The Packers survived this season, though Brett left the final game in tears–sure that he was to retire. He didn’t. He kept on going. It’s a weird analogy, but that’s what this fan base needs to do. Never quit, always Brett.

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