Browns Defense Hung In There, but Could Not Do Enough
Oct 20, 2013; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers tight end Jermichael Finley (88) reacts after scoring a touchdown in the 1st quarter against the Cleveland Browns at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
The Green Bay Packers got out to a quick start against the Browns and it looked like the game could end up a blowout when the game was 14-0. The defense showed signs of life and really did fight at that point, were able to start making a difference, but the offense could not take advantage of the opportunities. The Browns defense did not have a large number of highlight plays and actually had some inexcusable failures, but they were still able to keep the offense in the game.
Aaron Rodgers proved to be incredibly frustrating and was able to make a number of plays that ultimately proved too much for the Browns, but his numbers were not overwhelming. In the end, Rodgers threw was efficient completing 25 of 36 for 260 yards with 3 touchdowns. Two of those touchdowns came late in the fourth quarter and proved to be the dagger in the game, but while he was efficient, he was not as spectacular as he could have been. There were a number of completions that were check downs that the Browns tackled with little or no gain.
Much of what made Rodgers so frustrating was his ability to escape pressure and extend plays. He scrambled a couple times and slid quickly. It was not a question of his speed or agility as he is not an overwhelming athlete, but his sense of the pocket and knowing when and where he needed to go made him end up just out of the reach of Browns defenders on multiple occasions. The Browns only managed to sack Rodgers once on a blitz from Chris Owens that ended with he and Paul Kruger combining for a sack.
Kruger was among a number of players that had plays that just showed a lack of composure. He was hit with a personal foul for a head butt on an opponent. Linebacker Eric Martin was flagged for unnecessary roughness on a punt when he decided to get in an extra shove on a Packer player who was already several yards out of bounds.
The Packers made plays, but what ultimately seemed to really hurt the Browns both in the first quarter and late in the game was the pass rush not getting there and Rodgers finding holes in the coverage with time, either created by the line or himself. Even with a group of weapons with injuries, Rodgers is simply too good and he found ways to make plays. They ran the ball a little, but Eddie Lacy only ended up with 82 yards on the day with a touchdown.
The Browns defense played tough from the latter half of the first quarter to the fourth quarter, but the Packers proved to be just too much, especially with an offense that could not do anything consistently. The defense needed to make more plays including causing turnovers, but they were not awful by any stretch either and showed some resilience when they could have quit and let the Packers roll over them. This was an extremely tough day for the defense, but they hung in there as long as they could.