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Defense Comes Up Big Again

CLEVELAND - Even though the Packers faced teams the last two weeks that have had their share of struggles on offense this season, they were still able to accomplish something that hadn’t been done by a Green Bay defense in 43 years. - More Packers-Browns Game Center


CB Charles Woodson picks off a Derek Anderson pass in the second quarter.

CLEVELAND - Even though the Packers faced teams the last two weeks that have had their share of struggles on offense this season, they were still able to accomplish something that hadn't been done by a Green Bay defense in 43 years.

After shutting out Detroit last Sunday, 26-0, at Lambeau Field, Green Bay's defense followed that up Sunday by allowing just three points to the Browns. The last time a Packers defense gave up just three total points over a two-game span came in their Super Bowl I-winning season of 1966. On Oct. 16, 1966, the Packers blanked the Bears, 17-0, and then beat Atlanta, 56-3, on Oct. 23.

Green Bay also allowed Cleveland to register just 139 yards of total offense, besting their performance last Sunday vs. Detroit when the Packers gave up 149 yards of offense. The 288 yards allowed in the two-game span is the fewest given up by Green Bay since they allowed just 246 combined yards in back-to-back games vs. Detroit and Minnesota in 2006.

"The productivity on defense really starts with the ability to continue to win on first down," Head Coach Mike McCarthy said. "I think we're doing an excellent job up front winning the run defense and keeping Dom Capers in favorable down and distance defensive calls and it gives us the ability to play an up tempo, a lot of pressure and so forth. I was very pleased with the defensive performance."

Cleveland's offense had their most success early on, with quarterback Derek Anderson completing his first five passes for 55 yards. On the Browns' second possession, Anderson found rookie wide receiver Mohamed Massquoi down the middle for a 22-yard gain, and a face-mask penalty on cornerback Al Harris tacked on another 15 yards to put the ball at Green Bay's 21.

After Anderson completed two more passes for 15 yards to put the Browns at the Packers' 5, the defense was able to hold Cleveland to their only points of the afternoon, a 22-yard field goal from Billy Cundiff.

Green Bay took a 14-3 lead on Donald Driver's 71-yard touchdown reception, and then the defense put them in scoring position again. On 3rd-and-9 from their own 28, Anderson's pass intended for wide receiver Brian Robiskie was picked off at the Cleveland 40 by cornerback Charles Woodson, who returned it 25 yards down the sideline to the 15. The turnover set up running back Ryan Grant's 1-yard touchdown run to put the Packers up 21-3.

"You've got to go about your business every day as if you are playing the best team," Woodson said. "That's what you've got to do every week. If you don't prepare that way, then you lose these kind of games.

"We had a good week of preparation and didn't let any of the talk about (several Browns players) being sick and all of that factor into the equation. We just came out and took care of our business."

Cleveland's final possession of the half was stifled with a seven-yard sack by linebacker Aaron Kampman, and the Packers posted another takeaway on the opening drive of the second half. On a 3rd-and-2 at the Green Bay 47, Anderson found wide receiver Joshua Cribbs for a 3-yard gain, but Woodson came in to punch the ball out and linebacker Brandon Chillar scooped the fumble up at the Green Bay 48.

"Football is a game of confidence," Kampman said. "I think right now we are playing at a pretty high level. I think we have figured some things out in terms of how we want to best utilize our personnel. We have made some tweaks and it seems to be effective for us, so hopefully that will continue against a (Minnesota) team that you would probably say is a little further up the chart in terms of where they rank in the offenses in the NFL.

{sportsad300}"It's good to have two big wins. We haven't done that, back-to-back dominant performances on the defensive side of the ball, and I think that's going to help us obviously going into a very large game, large stage again at Lambeau Field."

The Packers were able to preserve their second straight game without allowing a touchdown early in the fourth quarter. After Anderson completed a 21-yard pass to tight end Michael Gaines down to the Green Bay 1, the Browns were still not able to punch it in. Linebacker A.J. Hawk brought down running back Jamal Lewis for a 2-yard loss, and Anderson's fourth-down pass from the 1 intended for Massaquoi fell incomplete.

Anderson finished the afternoon with just 99 yards passing on 12-of-29 attempts, making him 7-of-24 for 44 yards after his first five completions. Running back Jamal Lewis had just 47 yards rushing on 15 carries (3.1 avg.), and the Browns converted only 2-of-12 (16.7 percent) third downs.

Green Bay's defense now turns their focus to a Minnesota offense that put up 30 points on them in Week 4 in a disappointing loss at the Metrodome.

"That was definitely no fun the last time," Woodson said. "It's a big one, make no mistake. We'll be ready. We're a good team. We'll prepare like a good team this week. We know it's going to be a dogfight next week, so we'll be prepared."

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