Browns Prevail On Last-Play FG

Aaron Rodgers starts strong, the No. 1 defense stumbles and Mason Crosby's field goal gives the Packers a fourth-quarter lead. The Browns, however, kick two field goals in the final moments to win 27-24.

Last season, the Green Bay Packers' starting defense allowed a total of 10 points in the first three preseason games. In Saturday night's preseason opener, they allowed 14 points in the first six-and-a-half minutes.

On the bright side, Aaron Rodgers directed two touchdown drives with just one incompletion to rally the Packers, but the Cleveland Browns answered and won 27-24 on a last-play field goal at Lambeau Field.

Green Bay appeared to have the game in hand but a poor punt by Chris Bryan and a bust in coverage on third-and-8 led to a 23-yard completion to tight end Alex Smith. That set up Phil Dawson's 58-yard field goal with 1:27 remaining in regulation to tie the score at 24.

The Packers' ensuing possession went nowhere and a poor punt by Tim Masthay meant the Browns needed only a first down to have a shot at the winning field goal. They got two first downs, and Dawson hit from 46 to win the game on the final snap.

The Packers' defense allowed an 11-play, 80-yard touchdown drive to open the game against Jake Delhomme, who had ample time to find wide-open receivers. On the offense's first play from scrimmage, Ryan Grant – who didn't lose a fumble on a running play all last season – was stripped for one of the team's three first-half turnovers. Moments later, Seneca Wallace's third-down pass beat Nick Collins for a touchdown to make it 14-0.

"I take a lot of pride in the way my team comes out onto the field," coach Mike McCarthy said. "I'm not naïve to think they were going to play better or worse, but when your team comes out and the other team is playing at a different level, the defensive drive, it was way too easy, going right down the field on us. We come out and we fumble the ball on the first snap of offense. That's not the way the game of football is supposed to be played. So, our starting point was not where it needed to be and I always look in the mirror first when something like that happens."

With McCarthy turning to the passing game after Grant exited after a blow to the head, Rodgers finished 12-of-13 passing for 159 yards. He threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Greg Jennings to cap an 84-yard drive, and John Kuhn's second-effort touchdown run punctuated a 72-yard march that tied the game at 14.

Green Bay trailed 21-14 at halftime but Matt Flynn's gutsy 22-yard completion to James Jones and a 19-yard pass interference penalty in the end zone on third-and-5 set up Kregg Lumpkin's 1-yard touchdown run that tied the game. An interception by Derrick Martin late in the third quarter gave the Packers a chance to take the lead early in the fourth, but holding on Allen Barbre and a sack given up by Breno Giacomini pushed Green Bay out of field goal range.

However, a good punt by Tim Masthay and a great save by Charles Dillon backed up the Browns at their 5-yard line, and the defense forced a three-and-out. From there, Quinn Porter's 12-yard run and an 11-yard pass interference flag on third-and-7 moved the ball to the Browns' 23. Graham Harrell converted a fourth-down sneak behind Barbre and center Evan Dietrich-Smith, leading to Mason Crosby's go-ahead 33-yard field goal to make it 24-21 with 7:07 remaining.

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at and Facebook under Bill Huber.

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