Defense Was 'Off the Charts' in Season's Third Shutout


The Green Bay Packers started Sunday's game with the football and marched right down the field against Baltimore's defense. It took them just five plays to get to Baltimore's 5-yard line, and it looked like it might be a long day for the Ravens.

But then cornerback Jimmy Smith snatched away a pass intended for wide receiver Randall Cobb, and the defense didn't look back from there.

By the time Sunday's game was over, the Ravens had notched six sacks, three interceptions and two forced fumbles on their way to a commanding 23-0 victory at Lambeau Field.

"The defense, obviously, was off the charts," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "That's about as good as you can play on defense."

The unit absolutely controlled the game. They held the running attack to just 75 yards and then made life uncomfortable for backup quarterback Brett Hundley. He spent much of the day running outside the pocket, and even when he found some chunk plays, the Ravens responded with turnovers.

Green Bay had the ball 13 times on the day, and they never got inside the red zone after the game's opening possession. They punted six times and turned the ball over on downs three times, to go along with the five turnovers.

"When we do our thing and we go out and execute and play like Ravens, the sky is the limit," defensive tackle Brandon Williams said. "When we do what we do, great things like this happen."

The victory marked the third shutout for the Ravens defense this season. They also shutout the Cincinnati Bengals in the season opener and the Miami Dolphins in Week 8.

The only other season in franchise history where the Ravens had at least two shutouts was during the historic 2000 season, when they notched four.

"It means we're doing some things right here," Smith said. "We haven't played up to the level that we would like here at all times, but we have a lot of talent and we have enough ability to get to where we want to go."

The last time the Packers were shutout at Lambeau Field was Nov. 19, 2006. That game was against the New England Patriots, when Dean Pees was New England's defensive coordinator.

"He'll have good memories at Lambeau Field," Harbaugh said.

As the final minutes of the game ticked down and the Ravens were clearly in line for the win, Baltimore's starting defenders had no interest in watching the rest of the game from the sideline. The entire starting defense ran out to the field on every possession, and the veterans set the tone that keeping the shutout intact was important.

"It's like a no hitter, when you got one going, you want to keep it," said outside linebacker Terrell Suggs, who had a pair of sacks and a forced fumble. "You want to play dominant defense. This is the Ravens. This team was built upon defense."

The Ravens knew coming into the season that the defense would be the strength of the team, and that has proven to be the case. They had a rough patch in the middle of the season when Williams was sidelined, but they've cleaned up those issues in recent weeks and had shutouts in two of their last three games.

The defense leads the league with 16 interceptions and has kept the Ravens in games when the offense has struggled. Baltimore is playing the kind of defense right now that they envisioned coming into the season, and the Ravens find themselves in the thick of the AFC playoff picture because of it.

But Suggs was quick to remind his teammates that they can't rest on the laurels of their success heading into the final six games of the year.

"It don't mean [anything] if we don't make the playoffs," Suggs said. "It's good, but if we don't get in, y'all aren't even going to remember [the shutouts]. Y'all won't remember them. It's a good thing to build on, but we have to keep going. We have to keep getting these wins."

Check out all the best photos from Lambeau Field as the Ravens battle the Packers.

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