Week 2 Game Recap: Cleveland Browns 26, Green Bay Packers 24
What you need to know
Romeo Crenel and the Browns picked up their first victory on the season, looking significantly better than they had against Cincinnati in the first week of the season. The Browns held the lead throughout much of the game, and took advantage of a pair of long touchdowns by Braylon Edwards and Steve Heiden in establishing the tempo of the game.
Trent Dilfer had a big day, completing 21 of 32 passes for 336 yards and three touchdowns and no interceptions. The emergence of rookie wide receiver Braylon Edwards (three receptions for 107 yards and a touchdown) and tight end Steve Heiden (six receptions for 104 yards and two touchdowns) aided Dilfer in having a big day and his first win as a Cleveland Brown. The most targeted wide receivers in this game were Antonio Bryant and Dennis Northcutt, though each ended up with only three receptions against the Packers. Reuben Droughns added four receptions out of the backfield and provided Dilfer with an outlet when he was forced out of the pocket.
Reuben Droughns was the only running back to receive a rushing attempt in this game, and finished with 50 yards on 20 carries. The Browns were able to move the ball through the air with ease against the Packers, and did not focus on running the ball despite leading throughout much of the game. Lee Suggs was inactive for the second straight game.
A week after losing to the Detroit Lions on the road, the Packers hoped for better luck at home. The advantage of Lambeau Field was not enough, as the Packers fell to 0-2 in a muddled NFC Central Division. The biggest highlights of this day were the emotional halftime dedication to defensive end Reggie White and the milestone of 50,000 career passing yards for Brett Favre.
While passing the milestone, Favre threw for 342 yards and three touchdowns, but also threw two key interceptions which hurt the team and prevented them from rallying from behind. Donald Driver again assumed the role of the top receiver in this offense due to the injury to Javon Walker, and finished with six catches for 105 yards and an early touchdown. Robert Ferguson appeared opposite of Walker on most passing sets, but did not see a target until the second half. Ferguson had a couple of mental and physical lapses in the second half, which prevented him from having a better day than the four catches for 47 yards and a touchdown. The remainder of passes were split between Antonio Chatman (four receptions for 71 yards) and Terrence Murphy (three receptions and 23 yards). Bubba Franks finished with three catches for 15 yards, but had to exit the game due to a left leg injury. Ahman Green, William Henderson and Tony Fisher combined to catch eleven balls out of the backfield as the Browns tried to keep everything underneath and Favre took advantage of this tactic.
Playing from behind for much of the game, the Packersí running game never really got going. Ahman Green finished with 16 carries for 54 yards and Najeh Davenport had 8 carries for 36 yards. Antonio Chatman added eight rushing yards, and Brett Favre scrambled for 19 yards. The Packers will need a game in which they establish the lead to allow Ahman Green and company to build momentum and gain confidence in the revamped offensive line.
What you ought to know
|QB Trent Dilfer, Pass: 21 - 32 - 336 - 3 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 3 - 5 - 0|
Dilfer finished with a passer rating of 131.8 and provided strong leadership in a very efficient outing. He spread the ball around well to his wide receivers, tight ends and running backs, and showed great poise both in the pocket and when forced to roll outside. Dilfer was consistently able to find the open receiver in the flat, and did not make any mistakes in this game.
Despite gaining only 2.5 yards per carry, Droughns had some success moving the chains, with four first downs rushing and two first downs receiving. His yards per carry average was held down by a couple of long losses where the defense was able to penetrate quickly off the snap. This was due in part primarily due the fact that the Browns offense was somewhat predictable in this game, rushing only on first and second downs (and never on third down), allowing the defense to key on stopping the run. After a limited role in the passing game in Week 1, Droughns came out of the backfield and played a bigger role in key passing situations in Week 2. It is unclear what his role will be in the offense upon the return of Lee Suggs, who was inactive for the second straight week.
Green had a limited role in this game, failing to receive a carry, and catching just one ball out of the backfield.
A week after averaging four yards per catch, Northcutt found more running room and averaged thirteen yards per reception, moving the chains twice against the Packers.
For the second straight week, Bryant led the team in targets (tied with Northcutt in Week 2), though he has not been the top wide receiver in terms of production in either week.
After a quiet Week 1, Edwards had a breakout game, highlighted by a slant on which he scampered 80 yards for a touchdown. Edwards played on a higher percentage of plays in this game, and will likely continue to see his role increase in this offense if he continues to impress his teammates and coaches as he did in this one. He was called for an illegal blocking penalty on a rushing play, though he was merely trying to prevent Droughns from getting killed by a blitzing safety that had gotten past him.
With the Browns leading through much of the game, they did not utilize a whole lot of four receiver sets, and thus Jacksonís role was limited in this game. Jackson stands to see a decent number of targets in games in which the Browns are trailing, but they seemed to favor more conventional offenses against the Green Bay Packers.
Heidenís 62 yard touchdown came when he snuck behind the defense when the Packers were stacking the box hoping to stop the run late in the fourth quarter. He certainly didnít show any breakaway speed on the touchdown as he was nearly dragged down from behind by a hustling defensive tackle. Maurice Carthonís offense has utilized the tight end extensively in both games, and it remains to be seen what type of role Heiden will have after Aaron Shea returns.
Though he did not catch a ball, it is worth noting the Billy Miller was targeted twice.
Dawson kicked field goals of 21 and 39 yards in the second quarter, but had an extra point kicked in the third quarter, though there was no television replay to identify the root cause of the miss.
The Browns gave up a total of 116 yards on the ground, but limited Ahman Green to just 54 yards, and did not let the Packers get the ball going on the ground, forcing Brett Favre to try to beat them through the air.
The Browns allowed 342 yards and three touchdowns through the air, though 265 yards and two touchdowns came in the second half, primarily after they had established 19-7 lead in this game. The Browns came up with two interceptions in this game, with a key interception by Gary Baxter on a jump ball in the back of the end zone, taking the ball away from Robert Ferguson in the third quarter.
|QB Brett Favre, Pass: 32 - 44 - 342 - 3 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 3 - 19 - 0|
Favre reached a milestone in his career with 50,000 career passing yards, and had a big day statistically, but it was evident that he was not in sync with all of his receivers and missed the big play potential of Javon Walker. There were a number of miscommunications with Robert Ferguson, who made a different read than Favre on multiple plays throughout the game. While Donald Driver was his most targeted receiver, he looked most often to Antonio Chatman and Terrence Murphy down the stretch in the fourth quarter.
|RB Ahman Green, Rush: 16 - 54 - 0, Rec: 5 - 45 - 0 (5 targets)|
Green was limited in the rushing game, averaging just 3.5 yards per carry and never developing a rhythm behind the revamped Packersí line that lost two All-Pro linemen in the offseason and are not playing well as a unit through the first two weeks of the season. Green was able to get past the linebackers only once during the game, gaining ten yards up the middle.
With moderate success, Davenport was given a number of draw plays in the second half to try to catch the Browns off-guard and keep the drive going. In week one, Davenport had three attempts to Tony Fisherís zero, and again was given more opportunities in week one, with eight carries versus Fisherís two.
Playing from behind, Favre found Henderson open over the middle consistently, and took advantage of these opportunities.
|RB Tony Fisher, Rush: 2 - -1 - 0, Rec: 1 - 4 - 1 (1 targets)|
Fisherís only target came on the final offensive play of the game for the Packers, where Fisher caught a ball out of the backfield for a four yard touchdown with four seconds remaining. The play was reviewed and the referees claimed no visual evidence was there to overturn the play, though his knee appeared to be down before he crossed the plane.
Again asked to be the top receiver in this offense, Driver answered with over a hundred yards and a touchdown, but was largely ignored late in the game as the Packers were mounting a comeback. Driver showed good explosion on his 42 yard touchdown reception, but was not able to provide significant separation throughout the remainder of the game.
Chatman provided a spark to this offense down the stretch, showing good speed over the middle before exiting late in the fourth quarter after evidently having the wind knocked out of him. Chatman contributed in the punt return game as well.
Replacing Javon Walker in the lineup, Robert Ferguson showed great talent on a number of plays, but also showed mental lapses in key situations. This was most notable on a play in which he had given up on the play when he though Favre was going to run, and was not in a position to make a catch on the ball which Favre had thrown to him. All seven of Fergusonís targets came in the second half.
As the fourth wide receiver, Murphy was able to consistently find a hole underneath in the secondary, and was looked at often late in the game.
Franks did not catch a pass until the second half, and started to gain some momentum until he suffered a left leg injury on his third catch over the middle. Upon being tackled, his leg was at a very awkward angle, and Franks was down on the field for a significant length of time. Packers officials initially said Franks had a knee injury but HC Mike Sherman said after the game that it was a hip injury.
Martin had just one target, but would see his role increase should the injury to Bubba Franks sideline him for an extended period of time.
Longwell connected on a 34 yard field goal on his only attempt, and made all three extra points attempted.
The Packers limited the Browns to just 55 rushing yards, though the Browns did not make a significant attempt to run the ball as they were able to pass so successfully through the air.
The pass defense gave up two big plays on 62 and 80 yard touchdowns, but even discounting those plays, Dilfer still averaged over 10 yards per completion against the Packersí secondary. The defensive line failed to put significant pressure on Dilfer and did not yield a sack in the game, which allowed Dilfer to pick apart the defense all day long.