Rapid Reaction: Green Bay Packers
October, 20, 2013
By Rob Demovsky | ESPN.com
GREEN BAY, Wis. – A few thoughts on the Green Bay Packers’ 31-13 win over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday at Lambeau Field.
What it means: Combined with losses by the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions earlier on Sunday, the victory moved the Packers into first place in the NFC North for the first time this season. The Bears and Lions both dropped to 4-3, while the Packers improved to 4-2. The question now is whether they can hold on to first place given all their injuries.
Stock watch: One of the big questions all week was whether Jarrett Boykin could give the Packers any production in place of injured receivers Randall Cobb and James Jones. Boykin, who had two drops the week before against Baltimore during his first extended action, fared just fine. Coach Mike McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers wisely got Boykin involved early with a few short passes to get his confidence up. Boykin finished with eight catches for 103 yards, including his first career NFL touchdown -- a 20-yarder in the fourth quarter.
Concern for Finley: In one of the scarier injury scenes of the season, Packers tight end Jermichael Finley was taken off the field on a gurney after he sustained a neck injury with 10:03 left in the game. Finley received medical attention on the field for several minutes, but the Packers said he had movement and feeling in all of his extremities. The injury occurred when Finley took a hit to the head from Browns safety Tashaun Gipson, who was penalized for unnecessary roughness for what referee Jeff Triplette said was leading with the helmet.
Penalty-aided points: The Browns got their only points of the first half, a 46-yard field goal by Billy Cundiff in the second quarter, thanks in part to an unnecessary roughness penalty on Packers cornerback Tramon Williams. Williams violently threw receiver Josh Gordon to the ground after Gordon dropped a pass. The Browns were so bad in the first half, gaining just 89 total net yards, perhaps Williams should have known that Gordon was going to drop the pass.
What’s next: After two straight AFC wins over the Browns and Baltimore Ravens, the Packers return to the NFC North for back-to-back prime-time games next Sunday night at the Minnesota Vikings and on Nov. 4 at home against the Chicago Bears on "Monday Night Football."