Browns vs. Packers: Full Roster Report Card Grades for Green Bay
The Green Bay Packers extended their winning streak to three games with a win over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday. Despite a slow start to the game, the Packers were eventually able to put 31 points on the board while only giving up 13.
While a victory over the Browns might not look good if you know the Browns, it was still a much-needed win for this Packers team. Green Bay rode strong games from Aaron Rodgers, Jarrett Boykin and the secondary to ultimately get the win.
This was one of the better all-around performances from Green Bay, and it should show as we take a look at the Packers' full report card.
*All statistics courtesy of NFL.com.
Key Player: Aaron Rodgers
Everyone has wanted to talk about how Tom Brady has no receivers this year but has still looked good. Well, Rodgers just went out there and made Jarrett Boykin look like an All-Pro receiver.
To put it as simply as possible, Rodgers is brilliant. His accuracy, arm strength and elite vision were all on display against the Cleveland Browns. He finished the game with 260 yards and three touchdowns and made it look easy.
When Rodgers plays like he did on Sunday, the Green Bay Packers become a nearly unbeatable team.
Final Grade: A+
Key Players: Eddie Lacy, Johnathan Franklin
With the Green Bay Packers short on receivers, everyone knew that the ground game would be a big part of the offensive game plan against the Cleveland Browns.
Lacy finished the game with 22 carries for 82 yards and a touchdown. Franklin added another two carries and eight yards. Overall, the ground game did a fantastic job of taking pressure off Aaron Rodgers and the passing game.
Lacy also was a factor as a receiver, finishing the game with five receptions and 26 receiving yards. With a reinvigorated ground game, the Packers truly do have one of the most complete offenses in the league.
Final Grade: A-
Key Players: Jordy Nelson, Jarrett Boykin, Myles White
With Randall Cobb and James Jones sidelined for the game, the Green Bay Packers had to rely heavily on previously unused receivers for this game. The result was a solid overall game from No. 1 receiver Nelson and a breakout game for Boykin.
While Nelson only had five catches for 46 yards, he did it against a very talented Joe Haden and also added a touchdown in the game. The big winner in today's game was Boykin. His eight receptions and 103 yards were both good enough to lead the Packers statistically.
If Boykin continues to play like he did this week, the Packers might not even feel the loss of Cobb.
Final Grade: A
Key Players: Jermichael Finley, Andrew Quarless
It was clear early on that Finley was going to be a huge part of the Green Bay Packers game plan against the Cleveland Browns. He was targeted early on the Packers first drive, which ended with a 10-yard reception for Finley.
Finley finished the game with five receptions and 72 receiving yards, the second-most on the team. Unfortunately, Finley was knocked out of the game prematurely with another neck injury that forced him off the field on a stretcher.
When Finley left the game, Quarless (and any other tight end) failed to make an impact at all. However, Finley's efforts throughout the game were enough to give this position a passing grade.
Final Grade: B+
Key Players: Don Barclay, David Bakhtiari, Josh Sitton, T.J. Lang, Evan Dietrich-Smith
While the Cleveland Browns don't have the best pass rush in the league, they do have a handful of talented players who can get after the quarterback. However, the Green Bay Packers offensive line held that unit to just one sack for the entire game.
Aaron Rodgers had a clean pocket to throw from for the majority of the game, which is a credit to the offensive line. This unit also was dominant in the ground game, consistently opening up holes for Eddie Lacy.
This unit was supposed to be one of the weakest spots for the Packers this year. That hasn't been the case, and the Packers are winning football games because of it.
Final Grade: A
Key Players: Ryan Pickett, Mike Daniels, B.J. Raji, Johnny Jolly, Datone Jones
The defensive line has been a strength for the Green Bay Packers all season, and that was no different on Sunday against the Cleveland Browns.
This unit made plays in every aspect of the game. It was stout against the run, holding the Browns running backs to only 63 rushing yards on 21 carries. The defensive line also was able to get pressure in the passing game, forcing numerous poor throws from Brandon Weeden.
With the defensive line playing as good as they have been, the rest of the Packers defense can be more aggressive and make more plays.
Final Grade: A-
Key Players: A.J. Hawk, Jamari Lattimore, Nate Palmer, Andy Mulumba
Few units have been demoralized by injuries as much as the linebackers of the Green Bay Packers. With Clay Matthews, Brad Jones and Nick Perry all out for this game, the Packers had to rely on a number of players who normally wouldn't even see the field.
With that understanding, it's easy to see why this unit struggled at times. It was either a step too slow or a step behind for a good portion of the game. Now that doesn't mean it didn't make plays, because it did. Lattimore finished the game with 12 total tackles and a sack. Hawk also added another 12 total tackles.
While there were definitely bright spots for this unit, it was also easy to see the impact all these injuries have had.
Final Grade: B
Key Players: Sam Shields, Tramon Williams, Micah Hyde, Davon House
Playing against a quarterback like Brandon Weeden is always going to make a secondary look good. However, the Green Bay Packers cornerbacks were really quite good against the Cleveland Browns.
Shields did a fantastic job at covering Josh Gordon, the Browns' best receiver, and keeping him from making any type of impact. Gordon finished the game with only four receptions and 49 yards.
Both Williams and House also made big plays—Williams with a sack and House with an interception. Even Hyde was successful this week in slowing down tight end Jordan Cameron.
It's hard to know how much of this performance was due to the poor play of Weeden and how much was the improved play of the secondary. Either way, the Packers cornerbacks still finished the game with one of their best grades of the season.
Final Grade: B+
Key Players: Morgan Burnett, M.D. Jennings, Chris Banjo, Jerron McMillian
It hasn't always been pretty for the Green Bay Packers safeties this year. They've easily been the weakest link for this defense on the season.
However, things are starting to look up, thanks mostly to the return of Burnett. He's added leadership and aggressiveness to this unit since returning from a hamstring injury.
While no one in this group made any huge plays, it still played a solid game of football on Sunday.
Final Grade: B
Key Players: Tim Masthay, Mason Crosby, Micah Hyde, Johnathan Franklin
We usually just talk about how the kicker, punter and return men played in the game and give the special teams unit a grade from that. However, that won't do this week.
The reason for this is the fact that the coverage team played extremely poorly this week against the Cleveland Browns. It gave up a huge return to Travis Benjamin that set up a touchdown for the Browns, and then gave up another big return to Fozzy Whittaker on their next kickoff.
While there were some bright spots from this unit, especially the play of Hyde and Franklin, the lack of execution against returns really hurt this unit.
Final Grade: C-