Tonight's first half between the Cleveland Browns and the Green Bay Packers appeared, on paper, to be one of the most lopsided preseason matchups. While the score at the end of one half indicated the Browns were in good shape, the Packers' starters were clearly the superior team.
When many of the Packers' starters left the field, the score was 13-7 in favor of the Browns, but that didn't tell the story of the half. The Browns looked overmatched on both sides of the ball, but a couple of breaks gave them the field position to score points.
On the Packers' opening drive, Aaron Rodgers missed Jordy Nelson on a wide open would-be touchdown pass. Two plays later, Rodgers made up for his miss by tossing the ball up to Nelson, who out-jumped a defender to pull down the touchdown.
On the other side of the ball, the Packers were able to shut down the Browns running game on early down, putting the Browns in 3rd and long situations on a consistent basis. The Browns were far too conservative with their young quarterback, Brandon Weeden.
While Weeden was able to look poised at most times, the Browns play selection often left him with throwing downs that allowed the Packers to tee off on the offensive line. Weeden certainly looked like a rookie at times, but he wasn't helped by his running game.
The Browns were fortunate enough to hold the Packers down with the help of a fumble and better coverage following the first drive, but that should have been expected. The Packers are extremely banged up at the running back position, leading them to throw the ball time after time.
Both teams have a considerable amount of work left to do, but the Packers looked like a team ready for whatever the regular season will throw at them. Aaron Rodgers took his snaps and threw the ball around the lot, and their defense looked more than able to hold down the Browns' offense.
The Browns, by contrast, struggled to move the ball against the Packers' backup defense, even while their first team offense remained on the field. They had moments where I believed they were a solid team, but those moments were spread far and wide. They have a considerable amount of work left to do before they compete at a high level on a regular basis.
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