It might be just a preseason game, but there were a lot of positives to take out of the Cleveland Browns' 27-24 victory over the Green Bay Packers, especially when you compare it to how we played in last year's preseason game against them.
Quarterback Jake Delhomme only played one series, but that was enough for him: the veteran was 6-of-7 for 66 yards, making good reads and accurate passes as the Browns marched down the field against the Packers' first-string defense. When the Browns were four yards away from the end zone, running back Jerome Harrison punched it in for the four-yard score.
The Browns got the ball right back after Packers running back Ryan Grant fumbled on the team's first play. Backup quarterback Seneca Wallace then entered the game early in the first quarter, with all of the first stringers still playing. On third down, he rolled out far to his left and fired a picture perfect strike to second-year wide receiver Brian Robiskie for a 13-yard touchdown.
With the Browns up to a quick 14-0 advantage, Aaron Rodgers quickly got to work though and was a quarterback machine. He directed the Packers to back-to-back touchdown drives, having no problem diagnosing where the Browns were blitzing from every play. Even with the Browns' defenders having decent coverage, it didn't matter -- the passes were that good. Rodgers finished the game 12-of-13 for 159 yards and 1 touchdown, but he saw action well into the second quarter.
Although Rodgers was very good, it's worth noting that safety T.J. Ward had an outstanding game, tackling better than Browns fans have seen any of their members of the secondary tackle in a long time.
It wasn't the greatest debut for Browns rookie quarterback Colt McCoy, who threw two bad interceptions and ended up leaving the game after he banged his throwing hand on the helmet of an offensive lineman. The second half was pretty uneventful offensively until the final two minutes, when the Browns brought on Phil Dawson to attempt an incredible 58-yarder. Dawson drilled it with another yard or two to spare, which tied the game at 24-24. The Browns' defense quickly forced a punt, and Ratliff got the offense down the field in less than a minute to set up Dawson's game-winning 46-yard field goal.
Be sure to tune back to Dawgs By Nature on Sunday, when I'll have my detailed recap/column of the game and individual players.