The Green Bay Packers (4-2) defeated the Cleveland Browns (3-4) with ease at Lambeau Field on Sunday, 31-13. With the win and a couple of late-game losses by the Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears early Sunday afternoon, the Packers advanced to the top of the NFC North division standings for the first time this season.
Despite the victory, the Packers’ athletic and versatile tight end Jermichael Finley left the game on a stretcher after he was hit in the helmet by the shoulder of Browns safety Tashaun Gipson.
The Packers, who were already without wide receivers Randall Cobb and James Jones, can’t seem to catch a break even in victory. Finley has been asked to play more of a receiving role in the wake of a thinning wide receiver group, and a likely second-concussion puts him and the Packers in what seems like a very tough situation.
Finley caught five passes for 72 yards and scored one touchdown before leaving Sunday’s game. Earlier this season, he suffered a concussion in a loss against the Cincinnati Bengals. His injury is a cause for concern, but the Packers were able to continue living by the mantra set by head coach Mike McCarthy after last week’s grueling win over the Baltimore Ravens: keep calm and carry on.
Even if the Packers lose another significant piece to the puzzle, the fans have little to worry about moving forward into the 2013 season.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers completed 25-of-36 passes for 260 yards and threw three touchdown passes. Wide receivers Jordy Nelson and Jarrett Boykin totaled 13 catches for 145 yards and two touchdowns. Rookie running back Eddie Lacy recorded 106 total yards (82 rush, 26 receiving) and scored one touchdown. The Packers’ offensive line kept Rodgers pretty clean, allowing only one sack all day.
The Packers were also without key players such as Clay Matthews, Nick Perry and Casey Hayward on defense as well. At outside linebacker, the Packers had one veteran (Mike Neal) who was playing with an injured shoulder and two rookies, yet still continued to answer the bell.
Green Bay’s defense held the Browns to 216 total yards and 13 points, while registering three sacks and intercepting one of quarterback Brandon Weeden’s passes. Cleveland’s offense was 1-of-3 on fourth-down conversions and was miserable on third downs.
In the Packers’ last three games, the defense has allowed an average of 13 points per game. For a defense which prides itself on attacking and getting after the opposing quarterbacks and not having their most valued assets available, it speaks great volumes of how strong of a team the Packers truly are on and off of the field.
Green Bay has been repeatedly knocked down this season, but they somehow continue to get up again and again. It’s hard to believe the Packers are where they are right now, and it’s exciting to imagine the possibilities when their key players return later this season.
In what had seemed like a time of panic, the most injury-riddled NFL team proved once again on Sunday that there isn’t much to worry about in Wisconsin.