Browns can't overcome bad start in Green Bay
GREEN BAY, WI. -- The Browns dug themselves a 14-0 deficit after just the first two Green Bay possessions of the game and couldn't recover as they fell to 3-4 in a 31-13 loss to the Packers at Lambeau Field.
The Browns took the opening kickoff and gained a total of one yard before punting to the Packers after three plays. Brandon Weeden threw way out of reach to Greg Little on his first two passes. Spencer Lanning had a short punt of 37 yards, and Green Bay's Micah Hyde returned the punt 18 yards to the Browns' 40.
Aaron Rodgers took just four plays to lead the Packers to a 7-0 lead with the big play being a 26-yard pass to Jermichael Finley to the 14. Two plays later, Rodgers hit Finley for a 10-yard touchdown with 12:22 left in the first quarter.
The Browns got the ball back and after a dropped pass by Davone Bess and a false start by Joe Thomas, Weeden threw incomplete to Bess setting up another punt. However, after Lanning kicked the ball he was roughed by Jake Stoneburner, a rookie from Ohio State, to give the Browns their a first down at the 35.
On the first play after the penalty, Weeden hit Little for a 19-yard gain to the Packers' 46. The Browns stalled after in completing a third-and-one pass setting up a fourth-and-one from the Green Bay 37. Head coach Rob Chudzinski elected to go for the first down, and Weeden tried to pass to Bess, but was intercepted by Davon House at the Packers' 33.
The Packers marched 76 yards to take a 14-0 lead with 3:44 left in the first quarter on an Eddie Lacy run from one yard out. The longest play on the drive was a 15-yard pass to Jarrett Boykin.
The rest of the first half the teams traded field goals, but the head start the Browns gave to the Packers was too much to overcome.
In the first half the Browns were 0-of-5 on third downs. Weeden was just 2-of-11 for 23 yards, an interception and a 1.7 rating. At halftime, he was 5-of-14 for 48 yards with an interception and a 16.4 rating. Weeden was sacked once and rushed once for 11 yards.
The Packers were missing three of their starting four linebackers due to injury, in Clay Matthews, Nick Perry and Brad Jones, but the Browns couldn't get anything going for most of the game on the ground. The Browns had just 51 yards rushing through the first three quarters with Willis McGahee leading the team at that point with just 23 yards. He finished with 39.
-- Weeden led the Browns to their first touchdown with 6:09 to play to make it 24-13. The drive was just 20 yards, set up by an 86-yard kickoff return by Travis Benjamin. For the game, Weeden was 17-of-41 for 149 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He rushed twice for 20 yards and was sacked three times. In the first half, Weeden was just 5-of-14 for 48 yards with a 16.4 rating. Meanwhile, Packers QB Aaron Rodgers was 25-of-36 for 260 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions.
-- With 11:09 to play and the Browns on the Packers' 31, the Browns elected to go for the first down on fourth-and-15 rather than attempt a 48-yard field goal that would have made it a one possession game at 17-9 if successful. After the turnover on downs, the Packers went 69 yards on five plays to put the game away 24-6 as Rodgers hit WR Jordy Nelson with a 1-yard touchdown pass.
-- Clearly one of the Browns play makers is Benjamin, but he rarely touched the ball against the Packers. He was not targeted in the passing game and did not attempt a rushing play. Benjamin did not return any punts. He fair caught one, and the others were punted out of bounds. He was put deep as a kick returner after the Packers went up 24-6 and he promptly took the kick return 86 yards to the Packers 20.
-- WR Josh Gordon was held to two catches for 21 yards. On the fourth-and-15 attempt, Weeden attempted to throw to Gordon, but the pass was under thrown and Gordon didn't appear to go up and attempt to pull it in. Benjamin didn't catch a pass, and WR Greg Little had four receptions for 49 yards. Weeden also threw to Gordon on a fade into the end zone, but it was broken up by the CB Tramon Williams. WR Davone Bess had two catches for 11 yards.
-- TE Jordan Cameron had two receptions for 55 yards, including the Browns only touchdown from two yards with 6:09 to play in the game. It was Cameron's sixth touchdown of the season.
-- RB Willis McGahee had 11 carries for 39 yards, RB Chris Ogbonnaya had just 15 yards on four attempts.
-- RB Fozzy Whittaker made his NFL debut with a 7-yard run on his first carry. Whittaker had five carries for 11 yards. He also caught two passes for 13 yards. He had a 56-yard kick return in the fourth quarter
-- The Browns first score came with 5:11 to play in the first half on a 46 yard field goal by Billy Cundiff to make the score 14-3. Weeden scrambled for 11 yards on third and 18 to get the Browns in field goal range. With 5:03 to play in the third quarter, Cundiff kicked a 44-yard field goal to make it 17-6. The Browns started on the Packers' 45, but were only able to get to the 26 before settling for the field goal.
-- LB Paul Kruger and CB Chris Owens combined for a sack of Rodgers on the first series of the third quarter. Kruger had just one sack through six games until that play.
-- The Browns lost 38 yards in field position after LB Eric Martin was called for a personal foul after a short 23-yard punt by the Packers. Later, Martin was called being offside after the Browns recovered an onside kick.
-- LB Quentin Groves injured his ankle on punt coverage and didn't return. Groves injured his ankle against the Ravens in the second game and missed the next three games before returning against the Lions last week.
-- DB Tashaun Gipson tipped a pass by Rodgers as he blitzed from the edge and the ball fell incomplete on second-and-8 with 14 seconds to play in the first half. After an incomplete pass on third down, the Packers kicked a field goal to make it 17-3 at the half. In the fourth quarter, Gipson was flagged for a personal foul for hitting TE Jermichael Finley after a completion. Finley had to leave the game on a stretcher. He was moving his arms.