The Browns (3-4) fell to the Green Bay Packers (4-2) 31-13 today at Lambeau Field.
Final: Packers 31, Browns 13
The beginning of the fourth quarter was fast and furious. Weeden led the Browns to the Packers’ 31-yard line but facing a fourth-and-15, head coach Rob Chudzinski elected to go for the first down instead of kicking what would have been about a 48-yard field goal in rainy conditions. Weeden’s pass to Gordon down the sideline fell incomplete and the Packers’ 17-6 lead held. The Packers put the game out of reach on the next drive on Jordy Nelson’s 1-yard touchdown catch—Nelson beat Haden on a slant route. That touchdown was set up by a 15-yard personal foul call on Tashaun Gipson. He was called for a helmet-to-helmet hit, although replays showed he led with his helmet. Packers tight end Jermichael Finley was carted off the field. Following Nelson’s touchdown, Travis Benjamin returned the kickoff 86 yards to the Green Bay 20-yard line. Brandon Weeden then hit Jordan Cameron from 2-yards out on fourth-and-goal for a touchdown to make it 24-13. The Browns then recovered an onside kick (Joe Haden) but the play was nullified, as Tank Carder was offsides. The second attempt was nearly recovered by Haden as well, but the kick never traveled 10 yards. Rodgers then found Jarrett Boykin for a 20-yard touchdown to seal the game. Brandon Weeden finished the game 17-for-42 passing for 149 yards, a touchdown and an interception and a quarterback rating of 48.6. Josh Gordon had just two receptions for 21 yards. Jordan Cameron finished as the team’s leading receiver with seven catches for 55 yards and a touchdown.
End 3Q: Packers 17, Browns 6
The Browns' defense continued to allow big chunks of yards but has forced the Packers to punt a couple of times, holding Green Bay at 17 points. Billy Cundiff hit a second field goal, this one from 44 yards, to bring the Browns to within 17-6. Just before the half, a penalty on the Packers negated a punt that was downed at the 1-yard line. Instead, the re-punt landed 35 yards upfield but a needless cheap shot by linebacker Eric Martin moved the ball back 15 yards. Josh Gordon has been held without a catch. Outside linebacker Quentin Groves is out with an ankle injury.
End 2Q: Packers 17, Browns 3
The Browns got on the scoreboard in the second quarter with a 46-yard field goal by Bill Cundiff, but the Packers got those points back on a short field goal by Mason Crosby with three seconds left in the half. Weeden is five-of-14 passing for just 48 yards and an interception. He has a quarterback rating of 16.4. Willis McGahee has 23 yards rushing on eight carries. Davone Bess and Josh Gordon each have drops. Strong safety T.J. Ward has a team-high six tackles.
End 1Q: Packers 14, Browns 0
The Browns’ offense has looked miserable and the defense hasn’t fared much better. Brandon Weeden is two-for-11 passing and has missed several wide-open receivers. After a three-and-out, the Packers scored quickly when tight end Jermichael Finley beat linebacker Craig Robertson ,shook off his attempted tackle and then bounced off of Tashaun Gipson and Buster Skrine en route to the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown. The Browns got their first first down thanks to a roughing the kicker penalty on the Packers. On that same drive, the Browns attempted a pass on third-and-1 and fourth-and-1 in Packers territory. The first pass fell incomplete and the second was intercepted by Davon House. On the Packers’ second drive, they moved the ball on the ground with Eddie Lacy, who capped an easy drive with a 1-yard touchdown run to put Green Bay up 14-0. The Browns later tried a direct snap to Chris Ogbonnaya on fourth-and-1 and converted, but couldn’t do anything with the ball afterward.
Inactives: Browns – Inside linebacker Brandon Magee (oblique), center Patrick Lewis, offensive tackle Martin Wallace, guard Garrett Gilkey, tight end Keavon Milton and defensive end Billy Winn (quadriceps). Notes: Outside linebacker Jabaal Sheard is active today for the first time since Sept. 22, when he suffered a sprained left knee while recovering a fumble against the Minnesota Vikings. Magee was listed as questionable entering today. He practiced all last week on a limited basis. Packers – Cornerback Casey Hayward (hamstring), running back James Starks (knee), outside linebacker Clay Matthews (thumb), outside linebacker Nick Perry (foot), inside linebacker Brad Jones (hamstring), tight end Ryan Taylor (knee) and wide receiver James Jones (knee).
Lineup changes: Browns – no changes announced. Packers – Jarrett Boykin will start at wide receiver in place of James Jones; Mike Neal will start at left outside linebacker in place of Perry; Jamari Lattimore will start at inside linebacker in place of Brad Jones; and Andy Mulumba will start at right outside linebacker in place of Matthews. Notes: Three of the Packers’ four starting linebackers are out, and two of their three top wide receivers are sidelined. James Jones is inactive, and fellow receiver Randall Cobb (fractured fibula) is on injured reserve and designated to return.
Ryan Lewis’ top storylines: 1. The Packers’ vaunted passing attack will be without at least one of its best wide receivers today. Randall Cobb suffered a fractured fibula last week and was placed on the injured reserve/designated for return list. The Packers might also be without James Jones, who didn’t participate in practice on Thursday with a knee injury. Much of the burden will be on starting receiver Jordy Nelson and backup Jarrett Boykin, who will replace Jones if he can’t play. 2. How does Brandon Weeden recover after his disastrous, awkward shovel-pass for an interception against the Detroit Lions in a 31-17 loss? Weeden this week said he is not paying attention to the criticism, which is coming heavy from Browns fans. Weeden has thrown for 1,005 yards on 56 percent passing with four touchdowns and five interceptions. 3. The Packers will be without one of their best defensive players, four-time Pro Bowl outside linebacker Clay Matthews, who was ruled out with a broken thumb. Last year, Matthews had 13 sacks in only 12 games. The Packers will have inside linebacker A.J. Hawk, though. Hawk leads the team with 52 tackles and had a career-high three sacks last week against the Baltimore Ravens. 4. Today should feature the return of Browns starting outside linebacker Jabaal Sheard, who was a full participant in practice on Thursday. Sheard has been out of the lineup since going down with a sprained left knee Sept. 22 against the Minnesota Vikings. The Browns have only had all four outside linebackers in the rotation (Paul Kruger, rookie Barkevious Mingo, Quentin Groves and Sheard) for one game, the 14-6 loss to the Ravens in Week 2. 5. Browns running back Willis McGahee sat out practice on Thursday to rest his surgically repaired knees. A Browns spokesman said the team’s plan all along has been to give McGahee rest. After Chris Ogbonnaya received an expanded role last week against the Lions, it’s unclear how much of a factor McGahee will be against the Packers. Considering Weeden’s struggles, the Browns need a strong effort from their running game to keep up with the Packers.
Links to preview stories via Ohio.com: 1. Browns’ vastly improved cornerback Buster Skrine, rest of defense know clutch plays needed against Packers’ Aaron Rodgers. 2. Matchup of the week: Packers running back Eddie Lacy against Browns’ run defense. 3. Five must-know numbers. 4. How they rank. 5. Nate Ulrich, Marla Ridenour and Ryan Lewis predict the score. 6. Quote of the week. 7. Browns hoping outside linebacker Jabaal Sheard makes immediate impact in his return against Packers. 8. Browns notebook: Brian Hoyer undergoes successful ACL surgery. 9. Browns wide receiver Greg Little breaks silence to express disappointment in his performances early this season, hope for turnaround. 10. Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden trying to ignore negative reaction to his performance, focus on rebounding against Packers.