Joe Flacco didn't have to spend much time dissecting the shortcomings of the Baltimore Ravens' offense in a 19-17 loss to the Green Bay Packers.
An ineffective running game and the inability to gain significant yardage before third down against a depleted Green Bay defense doomed the defending Super Bowl champions Sunday.
The Ravens (3-3) gained only 47 yards on the ground, managed just three points through three quarters and didn't get into the end zone until under 12 minutes remained in the game.
Flacco went 20 for 34 for 342 yards, but he was sacked five times and lost a fumble.
"It's tough when you don't have any success on first and second down and you're putting yourself in third-down situations," Flacco said. "In order to sustain drives, you need to get first downs on first and second down. You need to get some chunks in there, and we're not doing that."
Despite finishing with five plays of at least 20 yards, Baltimore punted on nine of its first 11 possessions. The other two drives ended in a fumble and a fourth-down gamble that failed.
By the time the Ravens started scoring, it was too late.
"It's a problem that we have to get fixed," said running back Ray Rice, who was limited to 34 yards on 14 carries and stuffed three straight times inside the Green Bay 5.
Aaron Rodgers threw a 64-yard touchdown pass to Jordy Nelson, Eddie Lacy ran for 120 yards and Mason Crosby kicked four field goals for the Packers (3-2).
Rodgers went 17 for 32 for 315 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He played most of the game without two of his top three receivers — James Jones hurt his left knee on a first-quarter play, and Randall Cobb left for good after being struck on his right knee on a tackle by Matt Elam.
And still, Rodgers was magnificent.
His 64-yarder to Nelson gave Green Bay a 16-3 lead late in the third quarter. After the Ravens closed to 19-17 on an 18-yard touchdown catch by Dallas Clark with 2:04 remaining, Rodgers clinched the victory with a 52-yard completion to Jermichael Finley on a third-and-3.
Rodgers completed only seven passes after halftime, yet those plays totaled 199 yards.
"Days like today remind you of why you love this game so much," Rodgers said. "Offensively, we're struggling a little bit, but we found a way to make enough plays to win."
The Ravens had won 13 straight at home against NFC foes.
"Aaron made some really good plays out of the pocket in the second half," Baltimore coach John Harbaugh said. "Early, he held it and took some sacks. Later, he held it and found some openings."
Rodgers received ample aid from the Green Bay defense. Playing without injured linebackers Clay Matthews and Brad Jones, the Packers got three sacks from A.J. Hawk and limited Baltimore to 122 yards in the first half.
Green Bay went up 9-0 in the third quarter when Crosby kicked a 50-yard field goal to cap a drive that featured a 43-yard pass play from Rodgers to Jarrett Boykin.
Baltimore answered with its first score, a 23-yard field goal by Justin Tucker following a 59-yard completion from Flacco to rookie Marlon Brown.
Harassed and hurried for much of the afternoon, Rodgers finally came up with a signature moment. He started to his left, then rolled right before lofting a perfect spiral to Nelson, who had gotten behind Lardarius Webb.
Down 16-3, the Ravens began playing with a sense of urgency. Flacco directed a 10-play, 80-yard drive that ended with an 11-yard touchdown pass to Jacoby Jones with 11:52 remaining.
Jones, who missed the previous four weeks with a knee injury, finished with two catches for 42 yards and had a 35-yard kickoff return.
"I'd feel better if we got the win," he said.
Looking to enhance Green Bay's 16-10 lead, Rodgers and the Packers held onto the ball for just over 7½ minutes before Crosby kicked a 31-yard field goal with 4:17 remaining.
It turned out to be the game-winner.
Notes: Green Bay leads the series, 4-1. Baltimore's only win was 48-3 in 2005. ... Baltimore placed LT Bryant McKinnie on the inactive list. Eugene Monroe replaced him as a starter and made his Ravens debut. ... Ravens LB Terrell Suggs had his run of five straight games with a sack end. But he had 10 tackles to move into second on the Ravens' career list, behind only Ray Lewis.