Browns vs. Packers: Takeaways from Green Bay's 31-13 Win over Cleveland
While the score points to a blowout, the game was actually much closer than the score suggests. It took two fourth-quarter touchdowns from the Packers to completely put away the Browns.
While there were certainly some negative takeaways from this game, the majority of what the Packers did in Week 7 was positive. Here are eight takeaways from Green Bay's win over Cleveland.
*All statistics courtesy of NFL.com.
Aaron Rodgers Is Unbelievable
However, it didn't matter who Rodgers threw to because he was brilliant doing it all game long. Rodgers finished the game with 260 passing yards and three touchdowns. He also completed nearly 70 percent of his passes while doing so.
The best part of this performance was how Rodgers spread the ball around and completely trusted his receivers. He knew he couldn't just lock in on Jordy Nelson and be successful, so he got the ball into the hands of Jarrett Boykin, Eddie Lacy and Myles White.
While Rodgers has struggled some the past two weeks, he looked better than ever against the Cleveland Browns. As long as Rodgers continues to play at this level, the Packers will be extremely difficult to beat, no matter how many injuries they suffer.
Eddie Lacy Continues to Impress
As of right now, Lacy has to be considered the Offensive Rookie of the Year. Sure, some of that has to do with the lack of production from other rookies, but Lacy has also been fantastic for the Green Bay Packers this year.
Lacy had another great game on the ground against a talented Cleveland Browns defense. He finished the game with 82 rushing yards and a touchdown on 22 attempts. Lacy also added another 26 receiving yards on five receptions.
It's clear that the Packers have all the desire in the world to continue to make Lacy a huge part of their offense moving forward. If he continues to perform in a workman-like manner as he did in this game, he should have no trouble bringing home some hardware at the end of the season.
Where Did Jarrett Boykin Come From?
Earlier in the week, yours truly looked at whether or not Boykin could step up in Cobb's absence. I came to the conclusion, after looking at the tape from last week's game against the Baltimore Ravens, that Boykin would struggle to produce like Cobb.
I'd like to state my official apology right now to Mr. Boykin for doubting him in any way. In all seriousness, though, where did that performance come from?
Yes, Rodgers is so good that he makes every receiver look good, but this was an absolutely great performance from the second-year receiver. Boykin led all receivers for the Green Bay Packers with eight receptions, 103 yards and a touchdown.
Boykin definitely deserves a game ball for his performance this week.
Can Mike Daniels Get More Playing Time Please?
All Mike Daniels does for the Green Bay Packers is make plays.
He was at it again on Sunday with a sack and a number of other big plays. Heading into Sunday's game, Daniels had been graded as the 11th-best 3-4 defensive end in the league, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required).
Unfortunately, Daniels has only played in 144 snaps through Week 6. That simply isn't enough playing time for a player who is clearly making a positive impact every time he is on the field.
Daniels needs more playing time, starting in Week 8.
A.J. Hawk Continues to Be the Leader on Defense
After a career game last week, A.J. Hawk continued his strong play this week against the Cleveland Browns.
He finished the game with 12 total tackles. However, it was Hawk's ability to get pressure on Brandon Weeden that made this such a good performance.
Hawk was able to get pressure on Weeden early in the first quarter to cause an errant, drive-ending throw. Then Hawk was in on another sack, but he was called for a fluke facemask penalty.
Overall, Hawk has stepped up in a huge way with Clay Matthews. He's always been a leader for the Green Bay Packers on defense, but now his play is finally living up to the high expectations he had coming out of college.
The Secondary Played Its Best Game of the Season
We can talk about how terrible Weeden is all day, but the Green Bay Packers secondary played a big part in Weeden's struggles.
There wasn't a single member of the Packers secondary who had an awful game. Davon House was phenomenal with the lone interception for Green Bay. Both Sam Shields and Tramon Williams shut down their opponents.
Even Micah Hyde, who was tasked with slowing down tight end Jordan Cameron, played solid football. The great news is that this unit is only going to get better once Casey Hayward returns from his hamstring injury.
With the success the Packers have had in slowing down the run, they could end up fielding one of the best overall defenses in the league if their secondary continues to play like this.
The Packers Are the Team to Beat in the NFC North
With this win, the Green Bay Packers now look like the team to beat in the NFC North. At 4-2, they currently sit atop the division, thanks mostly to an early bye week. However, they look like the most complete team in the division right now, and they still have that player known as Aaron Rodgers on their roster.
It's not going to be an easy path to an NFC North Championship, but the Packers are currently in the driver's seat to get there.
An Injury Once Again Mars a Win
When Finley went down in the third quarter, it was easy to tell instantly that something was wrong.
The play on Finley wasn't a helmet-to-helmet hit, but it was a brutal hit that left Finley motionless on the field for a long time. He was eventually removed from the field via a stretcher. Reports came out during the game from Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel that Finley had movement in all his extremities, which is certainly good news.
You can be sure that the locker room of the Green Bay Packers will be rather somber after this win as they wait for news on just how bad Finley's injury is.