On Friday evening, the Green Bay Packers finally got their preseason schedule underway. The Packers’ young defenders impressed against the Cleveland Browns’ reserves, helping record a pair of fourth-quarter safeties on the way to a 17-11 Packers victory.
Joe Callahan led the Packers’ offense in the first half and was responsible for the team’s only touchdown, a two-yard pass to John Crockett with a few seconds remaining in the second quarter. Callahan finished the game with a line of 16 of 23 for 124 yards and a score.
It was the Browns who got on the board first, however. After the Packers punted on their opening drive, Robert Griffin III found Terrelle Pryor for a 49-yard gain on the Browns’ first play. A few plays later, however, Micah Hyde picked off Griffin at the one-yard line. However, the Packers’ next offensive play was a run to James Starks, and the offensive line let multiple Browns defenders through to record a safety.
On the ensuing free kick, the Packers got a break when returner Raheem Mostert muffed Peter Mortell’s punt and Chris Banjo recovered at the Cleveland 35. Three plays later, Mason Crosby hit a 54-yard field goal for a 3-2 Packers lead.
The Browns took a 5-3 lead midway through the second quarter after a nine-play drive that featured four penalties, two on each team. A pair of punts then set up Callahan for a long two-minute drive that he capped off with the scoring pass to Crockett.
Marquise Williams took over the offense out of the half, and on the Packers’ first drive he helped the team extend their lead. Williams used his scrambling ability, converting a fourth-and-4 with his legs and eventually setting up another 54-yard field goal for Crosby.
One of the poorer sequences came after the Browns pinned the Packers at their own one-yard line, this time on a punt. The Packers could not get out of their own end zone, and a Tim Masthay punt was returned well. Adding to the issues, Demetri Goodson was flagged for a late hit on the return, then gave up a touchdown pass on the very next play, which brought the Browns back to within 13-11. Cody Kessler’s two-point pass was incomplete however, and the Packers maintained their lead.
After that, there were no more offensive scores, but the Packers did turn the tables on the Browns. Marquise Williams was intercepted at the one, but on the next play rookie linebacker Reggie Gilbert chased down Kessler in the back of the end zone. The Browns’ rookie quarterback backpedaled past the back line, reminiscent of Dan Orlovsky, and put two more points on the board for the Packers. Green Bay would add another safety late in the game following a beautiful coffin corner punt by Mortell; Christian Ringo sacked Kessler in the end zone for the final points of the game in a 17-11 victory.
Most importantly, the Packers appeared to get out of tonight’s game unscathed, as there appeared to be no significant injuries to report. Green Bay takes the field again for open practices on Sunday and Monday before hosting the Oakland Raiders on Thursday.