The Ravens came into "Monday Night Football" with a chance to show a nationwide audience that they could lead the AFC playoff conversation, but left it clinging to a spot on the bubble.
With the Green Bay Packers' 27-14 win at a packed and frenzied Lambeau Field, the Ravens kept themselves mired within a crowded group of postseason hopefuls.
It was a story of missed opportunities.
The Packers coughed up three turnovers, tying a Week 9 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the most Green Bay has had this season, but the Ravens could not only capitalize on just two of them, they also coughed up the ball four times themselves.
Joe Flacco's first interception, which came five plays after Aaron Rodgers threw one in the first quarter, negated one chance for points. Packers kicker Mason Crosby missed a 38-yard field goal, but that was met with a Ravens three-and-out. Flacco's second pick, which happened in the end zone, erased Lardarius Webb's 68-yard kickoff return in the fourth quarter.
And all hopes of the Ravens coming back from a 17-0 halftime deficit - which tied their biggest margin this season - were erased when Flacco tossed his third interception of the night with 6:48 remaining.
Flacco had trouble with the NFL's top-ranked defense.
He completed 15 of 36 passes for only 137 yards and was off on many throws. Under duress for much of the game, Flacco was hurried into making some crippling poor decisions, as evidenced by his second pick that was the result of a broken play.
The Ravens had prime field position following Webb's kickoff return when a pass interference penalty in the end zone on Green Bay placed the ball on the 1-yard line. On first down, running back Willis McGahee was tripped up by cornerback Charles Woodson, who knifed into the backfield for a 2-yard loss. On second down, Flacco was forced out of the pocket and scrambled to buy time. Throwing across his body and off his back foot, Flacco's pass floated directly into the hands of a waiting Tramon Williams.
"I think it was a stupid decision and a worse throw," Flacco said. "It was second down, so you don't really need to make a play there. You can give yourself another shot on third down and still kick a field goal. I didn't set my feet, I didn't get enough on the ball, and I under-threw it to him."
Defensively, the Ravens were troubled from the start, as perennial Pro Bowl safety Ed Reed was scratched just before kickoff when a hip injury he dealt with all week didn't feel up to snuff.
Already, the Ravens knew they would not have the services of linebacker/defensive end Terrell Suggs, whose knee injury kept him from even making the trip to Wisconsin.
With one of their top pass rushers and best ball hawk out of the game, the Packers didn't have much trouble slicing through Baltimore's defense. And the Ravens helped them do it with four costly pass-interference penalties.
Rodgers continued to show why he is one of the elite quarterbacks in the NFL despite two interceptions. He totaled 263 yards on a 26-of-40, three-touchdown showing.
The Packers logged 350 yards of total offense, but Baltimore managed to hang around because of Rodgers' two picks and a fumble by wideout Donald Driver.
Rodgers was intercepted in the first quarter when he threw a deep jump ball that safety Tom Zbikowski, who started for Reed, hauled in.
Flacco gave it up soon thereafter when he went long to receiver Derrick Mason and safety Nick Collins got his hands on the football.
The Packers, however, were on fire in the second quarter. Rodgers led two eight-play scoring drives during the period to take a 17-0 lead by halftime. Each series featured a different pass-interference call on a member of the Ravens' secondary.
Cornerback Frank Walker's 28-yard flag gave life to a drive that was capped by a 2-yard touchdown pass to 6-foot-5 tight end Jermichael Finley, who outleaped the 5-foot-11 Zbikowski, and a 13-yard penalty on cornerback Lardarius Webb aided what ended in an 8-yard touchdown strike to wideout Donald Driver.
"When you're playing from behind, it's hard to get in your regular game plan and do things that you wanted to do," running back Ray Rice said. "Our defense played great, but it's just so hard playing from behind, especially on the road in this kind of environment."
Baltimore fought back in the third quarter, as Flacco found receiver Kelley Washington for a 12-yard touchdown, Rodgers was picked off a second time, and then a pass-interference penalty in the end zone set up McGahee's 1-yard touchdown plunge.
But, it wasn't enough, as the Ravens failed to stop the Packers' onslaught in the fourth.
Rodgers hit Finley, who led all receivers with seven catches for 73 yards, with the second-year player's second touchdown of the night, and Crosby converted a second field goal (32 yards) after his 28-yarder began the scoring on the Packers' initial drive.
The Ravens now find themselves on the outside looking in at the playoff picture. With the PIttsburgh Steelers (6-6) losing on Sunday, Monday's contest was a perfect opportunity to take a step forward.
But, the Ravens dropped one game behind the 7-5 Jacksonville Jaguars for the last AFC wild-card spot and tied with the Steelers, Miami Dolphins and New York Jets with four games to play.
"We are fighting for our lives right now, but we are still breathing," said head coach John Harbaugh. "We are still alive. I think our character and heart will show through as we finish up the season."
Injury Update:The Ravens reported injuries to wideout Mark Clayton (hamstring), defensive tackle Kelly Gregg (shoulder), kicker Billy Cundiff (concussion) and offensive tackle Jared Gaither (foot).