Insider: Thumbs up to Boykin, down to Packers penalties

Oct. 20, 2013

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Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jarrett Boykin grabs a pass against Cleveland Browns defensive back Buster Skrine during the fourth quarter of Sunday's game at Lambeau Field. / H. Marc Larson/Press-Gazette Media


Big picture

For the first time this season, the Packers are in first place in the NFC North. They beat the Browns for their third straight victory to improve to 4-2. Chicago and Detroit, which had been tied for the division lead, lost close games and fell to 4-3. The Packers have the fourth-best record in the NFC, and the only conference teams with fewer losses are Seattle and New Orleans. Although the Packers’ injuries continue to mount, only one of their next five opponents has a winning record, so the schedule works in their favor.

Thumbs up

Receivers Randall Cobb and James Jones couldn’t play because of injuries, so Aaron Rodgers had to find someone to throw the ball to. It was second-year undrafted free agent Jarrett Boykin who picked up the slack and became Rodgers’ go-to target on nearly one-third of his passes. Boykin posted a career-high eight receptions for 103 yards and his first career touchdown from 20 yards in the fourth quarter. “I feel like my confidence is growing,” said Boykin, who overcame a drop on the first play of the game and rebounded with a 39-yard catch to the 1-yard line in the fourth quarter to set up another Packers touchdown. “It’s just like any other day. I’m not content. I don’t get complacent. Today is just one day. I want to build upon that and have better days.” The Browns put their best cornerback, Joe Haden, on Jordy Nelson for most of the game, so Rodgers looked Boykin’s way early and often. “I’m really proud of him,” Rodgers said. “Seems like he’s got a bright future for us.”

Thumbs down

The Packers made things difficult on themselves by getting charged with 10 penalties for 97 yards. Those infractions killed some potential scoring drives and helped keep the Browns in the game well into the second half. More than one hand is needed to tally some of the major infractions: A holding penalty on Don Barclay nullified a 22-yard completion to Jermichael Finley in the second quarter and the Packers were forced to punt. A Tramon Williams unnecessary roughness penalty aided the Browns on a field goal drive in the second quarter. A David Bakhtiari holding penalty nullified a 21-yard third-quarter completion to Boykin and the Packers eventually punted. An A.J. Hawk face mask penalty, although questionable, helped the Browns on another field goal drive. There were also numerous special teams mistakes, including Jake Stoneburner’s roughing the punter penalty and Andrew Quarless’ illegal downfield penalty that nullified a 56-yard Tim Masthay punt to the 1-yard line. Johnny Jolly joined the penalty party in the fourth quarter when he was whistled for unnecessary roughness on an onside kick. The long list of infractions was sloppy and if left unchecked could come back to bite the Packers against a better opponent.

Turning point

The neck injury to Finley cast a pall on the entire team as well as the 77,804 in attendance. As Finley lay motionless on the ground in the fourth quarter waiting for a stretcher, there was virtual silence in the stadium. But it also may have sparked the Packers, who drove for touchdowns on back-to-back possessions to seal the victory immediately after Finley went down. Whether the offensive players were inspired by Finley’s plight or angry at the Browns for taking out one of their teammates, the Packers caught fire. On their previous five series, the Packers generated just three points. Finley’s final catch went for 10 yards, and the 15-yard personal foul on the Browns’ Tashaun Gipson gave the Packers a first down at the Cleveland 41. Three plays later, they were in the end zone to take a 24-6 lead. On their next possession they needed just four plays to drive 54 yards for another touchdown.


• 84 — Career victories by Mike McCarthy, including playoffs, which ties him with Mike Holmgren in franchise history.

• 50 — Regular-season games out of 84 as a starter in which Rodgers has posted a 100-plus passer rating. It was also Rodgers’ 46th game without an interception.

• 83 — Rushing yards allowed by the Packers against the Browns, their fourth straight game allowing less than 85 yards on the ground. That’s the longest since a seven-game streak in 2009.

• 822 — Career points by Mason Crosby, which moves him past Chris Jacke (820) into No. 3 in franchise history behind Ryan Longwell (1,054) and Don Hutson (823).

Did you notice?

• Finley was impressive in breaking three tackles on his 10-yard first-quarter touchdown catch.

• The Packers opened the game with seven straight passes before Eddie Lacy touched the ball. The Packers finished with a 56 percent-44 percent pass-run ratio.

• The Browns got desperate late in the first quarter when they trailed 14-0 and went for it on fourth-and-1 from their 43-yard line. Fullback Chris Ogbonnaya appeared to come up short of the first down on a run off left tackle, but officials gave him a favorable spot and the Browns kept the chains moving. McCarthy challenged and replays seemed to favor the Packers, but the ruling was upheld.

• Rodgers had Johnathan Franklin open in the end zone in final 2 minutes of the first half but overthrew him.

• The Browns passed up a 49-yard field goal that could have pulled them within 17-9 with just more than 11 minutes left in the fourth quarter. They went for it on fourth-and-15, but Davon House broke up the Brandon Weeden pass intended for Josh Gordon.

What's your take on the Packers Family Night change?

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Watching practice is fine.(Your vote)
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I'd rather watch a scrimmage.(Your vote)
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I don't want to pay to watch practice.(Your vote)
1025 votes
It doesn't matter to me.(Your vote)
1278 votes

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Football fans

If you've ever answered "Who has the ball?" with "It's halftime," you might recognize The Airhead. Check out the characters in our cartoon gallery of oddball fans.

Special Reports