GREEN BAY, Wis. — The deep, wobbly pass appeared to be underthrown and the receiver slipped. Ravens safety Eric Weddle stepped up in the open field for an interception so easy it looked as if he was the intended target.
It’s been a while since Baltimore has been this good in keeping opponents off the scoreboard.
Weddle’s pick was one of five turnovers forced by the Ravens in their third shutout of the season, a 23-0 win on Sunday over the Green Bay Packers.
Baltimore last accomplished the feat when the Ray Lewis-led defense had four shutouts for the Super Bowl-winning team in 2000; the last NFL team to have three was New England in 2003.
Jimmy Smith and Marlon Humphrey also intercepted Brett Hundley for Baltimore (5-5), which led the NFL in picks entering the weekend.
“Defense, obviously, was off the charts,” coach John Harbaugh said. “That’s about as good as you can play on defense.”
C.J. Mosley forced a fumble and had one of Baltimore’s two fumble recoveries. Terrell Suggs, Matthew Judon and Willie Henry each had two sacks apiece.
Leave it to Suggs to add some perspective to the defense’s feel-good day.
“Don’t mean (anything) if we don’t make the playoffs,” the veteran edge rusher said sternly about the shutouts. “It’s good, but if we don’t get in … you won’t remember them.”
A problematic offense couldn’t generate a touchdown drive until Joe Flacco’s perfect deep ball to Mike Wallace over two defenders for a 13-point lead nearly two minutes into the third quarter. Flacco threw for 183 yards, going 22 of 28 with an interception.
His lone touchdown pass was still enough of a cushion against a Packers team struggling without two-time MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers, out with a broken collarbone.
The Packers were last shut out on Nov. 19, 2006, when then-starter Brett Favre left with an elbow injury in the first half of a 35-0 loss to New England. Rodgers, then in his second year in the league, finished off that loss in relief.
Hundley, Rodgers’ replacement this season, didn’t fare any better.
He was 21 of 36 for 239 yards. But he threw interceptions on the Packers’ first two series. On the third drive, backup running back Devante Mays fumbled on his first carry of the season.
“Our guys were playing so fast and covering so well, it just made it tough on” Hundley, Harbaugh said.
Any big gains the rest of the day were negated by busted plays or penalties. The Packers (5-5) have lost four of their past five games.
“You have to take care of the football,” coach Mike McCarthy said. “Offensively, that was way too much for us to overcome.”
Davante Adams was a lone bright spot, torching the Ravens’ strong secondary for 126 yards on eight catches. The Packers actually outgained the Ravens 265-219. But turnovers sapped any momentum.
“We’re not in panic mode, everything is still in front of us,” Adams said. “We’ve got to get a grip of it real quick here. Otherwise, we will be in panic mode.”
Justin Tucker kicked three field goals for Baltimore. Alex Collins added a 3-yard touchdown run with 2:12 left. That score came a play after Hundley threw his third interception, returned 15 yards by Humphrey.
Collins had 49 yards on 20 carries, while Wallace finished with 56 yards on four catches.
Ravens: Harbaugh picked up his 100th career win, counting regular-season and postseason victories.
Packers: Lost in the lackluster performance on offense was a solid outing for a defense that allowed a season-low in total yards. It was the fewest yards allowed by Green Bay since giving up 189 to Chicago in Week 7 last season.
Packers linebacker Clay Matthews suffered a groin injury midway through the first quarter. He returned for one play on the next defensive series, then watched the rest of the first half from the sideline. Matthews did have a sack before getting hurt, his first sack since Week 4, to give him 3½ for the season. Another starter, defensive lineman Kenny Clark, was carted off the field in the fourth quarter with an ankle injury.
“It’s pretty ugly. Not what we expected when we went out there.” — WR Jordy Nelson on the offense taking a step back after a 23-16 win last week against Chicago.
The Ravens were whistled for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after punting the ball in the third quarter to the Packers after referee Jeff Triplette said a player on the sideline “verbally abused an official.”
Ravens: Host the Houston Texans on Nov. 27.
Packers: Visit the Pittsburgh Steelers on Nov. 26.