The Green Bay Packers defeated the Cleveland Browns on Sunday by a score of 31-13, a score which would typically mean that there is plenty of praise to go around on both sides of the ball. With many starters out due to injury, young players were asked to step up and carry the load, and three of our game balls for this week go to players that fit that description. Here are our votes for the top performances of the day.
In what I am sure will be a surprise to no one, Rodgers earns our first game ball on offense. Dealing with a patchwork receiving corps even before the loss of Jermichael Finley, he led the team on back-to-back touchdown drives to start the game. Then, after Finley went down, he got the Packers in the end zone twice more, finishing with 260 yards and three touchdowns. He didn't quite look like himself over the past few weeks, but his accuracy was back on yesterday, despite the less-than-ideal weather conditions, and his leadership was clearly on display with so many young receivers playing.
Boykin put up the surprise stat line of the day, as Rodgers and company looked to get him involved in the offense early and often and take some pressure off Jordy Nelson. It certainly worked, especially late in the game, as Boykin responded to his 10 targets by catching eight of them for 103 yards and a hard-work touchdown. Boykin made two big plays in the fourth quarter, one being a catch-and-run for 39 yards, and his score being the other. All in all, Packers fans should feel a little better about the team missing James Jones thanks to Boykin's big day.
Before his brutal injury that has left his status still in doubt, Finley was having another big game, with five catches for 72 yards and a score. On that touchdown, which capped off the first drive of the game for the Packers, Finley caught the ball in the left flat, evaded two would-be tacklers, and shrugged off a third on his way to the end zone. He caught all five balls thrown his way on the day and would have had another 20-yard completion if not for a holding penalty. Our thoughts are with him as his recovery from his neck injury is ongoing.
The star of the Packers' secondary on Sunday was House, who recorded an interception and three pass breakups on the day. His pick game in the first quarter on a terrible throw by Brandon Weeden, where all House really had to do was not drop a ball thrown right to the yellow circle in the middle his jersey. His later pass defense was more impressive, including a perfect play to recover and knock the ball away from Josh Gordon on a long fourth-down pass attempt.
The Packers aren't really missing Brad Jones in the middle, thanks to Lattimore's play over the past few weeks. He was a blur on Sunday, regularly shooting gaps in the line and playing solidly in pass coverage. He finished the day with 12 total tackles (9 solo), a pass breakup, and one sack of Weeden. With youngsters flanking him and A.J. Hawk, Lattimore was decisive in his breaks to the ball, and showed impressive athleticism on Sunday.
More from Acme Packing Company:
- Cheese Curds: Green Bay Packers News and Links for October 21, 2013
- Packers Take Over First Place in NFC North
- Browns vs. Packers Final Score: Jermichael Finley Stars Early, Gets Hurt Late in 31-13 Win
- Jermichael Finley Injury: Packers Tight End Injured Head/Neck Against Browns