Pack of errors brings 1st loss Offense self-destructs, opening the door for Green Bay comeback

September 01, 1996|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,SUN STAFF

Green Bay's Richie Cunningham kicked a 42-yard field goal with three seconds remaining as the Green Bay Packers defeated the Ravens, 17-15, on Aug. 17 at Memorial Stadium.

It was the Ravens' first loss of the preseason after two victories and came against a team many favor to win the 1997 Super Bowl.

Cunningham's kick ended an eight-play drive that started at the Green Bay 31 with 1: 02 left. The big play in the drive was a 35-yard pass from quarterback Doug Pederson to receiver Desmond Howard that put the ball on the Ravens' 30.

The Ravens had taken a 15-14 lead with 1: 06 left when quarterback Eric Zeier threw a 12-yard scoring pass to Ray Ethridge.

"Our guys fought to the end, we made some tremendous comebacks. But in the end, it just didn't work out for us," said Ravens coach Ted Marchibroda.

The Ravens' touchdown was set up after safety Bennie Thompson and cornerback Donny Brady sandwiched running back Brian Satterfield to force a fumble, and Ravens linebacker Mike Croel recovered at the Green Bay 47 with 3: 17 left.

A 25-yard run by Derrick Cullors put the ball on the Green Bay 25, and seven plays later Zeier found Ethridge.

This was the Ravens' first trip into the land of the NFL elite, and mistakes in the first half by the first unit severely hurt the team. The Ravens played their first-stringers for only a half.

"We made some mistakes this week that we didn't make in the previous week," Marchibroda said. "They didn't stop us, we stopped ourselves inside the 30. We have to correct that. We weren't quite as alert as we needed to be. But we played one of the top five teams in the league, and we held our own."

The Packers improved their preseason record to 3-0.

Green Bay couldn't stop the Ravens' offense, but the Packers didn't have to, as numerous Ravens mistakes put the Ravens behind 7-2 at the half.

On their first possession, the Ravens went from their own 28 to the Green Bay 29 in eight plays. But on third-and-seven, an illegal-procedure penalty against offensive tackle Orlando Brown nullified a 14-yard reception by Derrick Alexander. Quarterback Vinny Testaverde threw incomplete to Alexander on the next play to halt the drive.

Green Bay's offense was superb on the ensuing possession as quarterback Brent Favre tore up the Ravens' defense. Favre threw to tight end Keith Jackson for 18 yards off a bootleg.

Favre then threw 25 yards to receiver Antonio Freeman (Poly) over the middle and to receiver Robert Brooks for 16 more yards on a crossing pattern. On first-and-goal from the 3, Favre lofted a touchdown pass to Brooks with 4: 54 left in the first quarter.

The Ravens again moved the ball on offense, this time going from their own 26 to the Green Bay 36. But on third-and-nine, rookie receiver James Roe's reception at the 1 was disallowed because he stepped out of bounds before the catch.

Another threat wasted.

The next mistake came with 7: 46 left in the half. Testaverde, under pressure from defensive end Reggie White, fumbled and the Packers' Sean Jones recovered, killing an 11-play drive.

Testaverde's next error came nearly three minutes later when he under-threw tight end Frank Hartley from the Green Bay 19, and linebacker George Koonce intercepted.

The only scoring by the Ravens came with 7: 16 left in the half. The Ravens were awarded a safety after Favre was called for intentional grounding from the end zone as he was being chased by defensive tackle Dan Footman and linebacker Jerrol Williams.

Aside from Green Bay's opening drive, the Ravens' defense played well in the first half, as the Packers failed to mount another serious drive.

Green Bay finished with 157 total yards compared to 147 for the Ravens in the first two quarters. The Ravens had 77 yards rushing and Green Bay finished with 47.

The Packers and the Ravens each scored touchdowns in the third quarter, which ended with Green Bay ahead 14-9.

The Packers opened the quarter with their first-string offense against the Ravens' No. 2 defense. Green Bay scored on a 5-yard run by Brian Satterfield with 6: 53 left to complete an 11-play, 94-yard drive.

The Ravens came back with a 10-play, 67-yard scoring drive of their own as Zeier passed 2 yards to Roe for the touchdown.

Zeier was the key factor in the drive, often scrambling and making big plays, including a 28-yard pass to Jermaine Lewis on a second-and-10 situation, and then scrambling to find Roe for the touchdown that brought the Ravens within 14-9.

Pub Date: 9/01/96

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.