Green Bay place-kicker Richie Cunningham kicked a 42-yard field goal with three seconds remaining as the Green Bay Packers defeated the Ravens, 17-15, last night at Memorial Stadium.
It was the Ravens (2-1) first loss of the preseason and it came against a team many favor to win the 1997 Super Bowl.
Cunningham's kicked ended an eight-play drive that started at the Green Bay 31 with 1: 02 left in the game. 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 remaining when quarterback Eric Zeier threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Ray )) Ethridge.
"Our guys fought to the end, we made some tremendous comebackes. 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 forcing a fumble, and Ravens linebacker Mike Croel recovered at the Green Bay 47 with 3: 17 left in the game.
A 25-yard run by Derrick Cullors put the ball on the Green Bay 25, and seven plays later Zeier found Ethridge in the end zone.
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 and are the only undefeated team in the NFC.
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 of the game, the Ravens went from their own 28 to the Green Bay 29 in eight plays. But on third and 7, an illegal procedure penalty against offensive tackle Orlando Brown nullified a 14-yard reception by Derrick Alexander and 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 for a touchdown 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 had a reception down to the 1 disallowed because he stepped out of bounds before catching the pass.
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 at the Green Bay 22 killing an 11-play drive. Testaverde seemed to have a passing lane, but failed to step up in the pocket.
Testaverde's next error came nearly three minutes later when he underthrew tight end Frank Hartley from the Green Bay 19, and linebacker George Koonce intercepted the pass returning it to the Packers' 22.
The only scoring by the Ravens came with 7: 16 left in the half when 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.
Besides Green Bay's opening drive, the Ravens defense played well in the first half as the Packers failed to mount another serious drive in the half.
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 period with their first string offense against the Ravens' No. 2 defense. Green Bay scored on a 5-yard touchdown run by Brian Satterfield with 6: 53 left in the quarter to complete an 11-play, 94-yard drive. The big plays in the drive were Favre passes of 10, 18, 8 and 35 yards.
The Ravens came back with a 10-play, 67-yard scoring drive of their own as quarterback Eric Zeier passed 2 yards to receiver James Roe for the touchdown.
Zeier was the key factor in the drive, often scrambling and making big plays, including a 28-yard reception to receiver Jermaine Lewis on a second-and-10 situation, and then moving to his left and drifting back to his right to find Roe for the touchdown that brought the Ravens within 14-9.
Pub Date: 8/18/96