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Game Review: Despite Loss, Brohm Makes Gains

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Green Bay Packers may have failed to complete their first perfect preseason since 1999 on Thursday night at LP Field in Nashville, but they got their best look to date at second-year quarterback Brian Brohm. And Brohm, in turn, gave the Packers his best to date. - More Packers-Titans Game Center

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Green Bay Packers may have failed to complete their first perfect preseason since 1999 on Thursday night at LP Field in Nashville, but they got their best look to date at second-year quarterback Brian Brohm.

And Brohm, in turn, gave the Packers his best to date.

The young, improving signal caller played all but the opening series of the game and turned in the top performance by far in his two preseasons since being selected in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft. He finished an efficient 20-of-28 for 154 yards and an 84.5 quarterback rating, more than double his rating for 2009 coming into the game.

It wasn't enough in the 27-13 loss to the Tennessee Titans as the Packers concluded a promising preseason 3-1, but Brohm did direct three scoring drives and displayed better command and quicker decision-making than he had thus far in the early stages of his career.

"Young quarterbacks - it's a normal curve of development," Head Coach Mike McCarthy said. "You want to always see them moving forward, making progress. I think Brian has clearly done that the last two weeks. He's put a lot of individual time into this throughout the offseason, and I think it's starting to pay off for him."

After the Packers' No. 1 offense punted on its only possession - its only punt of the preseason - and the No. 1 defense surrendered a field goal on its only series, Brohm led the offense to a first-quarter field goal that tied the score at 3.

He completed 6-of-7 passes for 45 yards on the march, hitting some quick slants and other short throws to get into a little bit of a rhythm. The short, quick throws were by design, and that plan appeared to help Brohm - who was in the game after starter Aaron Rodgers for the second straight week due to Matt Flynn's shoulder injury - get his feet under him against an aggressive Tennessee defense.

"We were using a ball-control offense, some shorter passes," said Brohm, whose plays were being called by offensive coordinator Joe Philbin and not McCarthy, as the head coach wanted to watch players more closely for their final evaluations. "Their pass rush was pretty good, so we figured we'd get the ball out quick and let our receivers make some plays."

The Packers nearly had another score before the end of the first half, after Jordy Nelson's 33-yard catch-and-run for Brohm's longest pass play of the night. But a protection breakdown on third down led to one of two sacks for Brohm, pushing Mason Crosby's field goal attempt back to 54 yards, and he missed.

In the second half, Brohm directed a touchdown drive during which he went 4-of-5 for 34 yards, including a key 13-yard slant to Jake Allen to convert a third down. Running back Kregg Lumpkin finished the march with a 5-yard TD run.

On the final scoring drive, in the fourth quarter, Brohm hit three straight passes for a total of 16 yards, and when a third-and-10 checkdown to Brett Swain picked up only 5 yards, Crosby hit another field goal.

"I think overall I managed the game pretty well, ran the offense pretty well, we had a good tempo out there," Brohm said. "We needed to convert on a few more third downs and be better in the red zone, and those are things we'll continue to work on."

Playing relatively close, geographically speaking, to his Louisville roots, Brohm had several family and friends in attendance and looked a lot more like the polished college quarterback he became for his hometown Cardinals.

It wasn't a perfect night by any stretch, and Brohm certainly wanted to put more points on the board, but the performance was a promising step in the right direction after his second preseason began as shaky as his first with three interceptions in the first two games.

"I feel like I've been very confident in my abilities since camp started," Brohm said. "I admitted last summer during the preseason that maybe I had a little doubt of confidence there for a little bit, but that has not happened at all this year, even with three interceptions, which is a bad stat to have. I feel like I've bounced back from every single one of those with positive play."

That started with a more efficient performance last week in Arizona, but unlike that game, in this one the opponents had the big lead as the Titans took control in the second quarter behind No. 2 quarterback Vince Young.

Young directed an 80-yard TD drive during which he made nearly every key play himself, including getting 15 yards via penalty when B.J. Raji grabbed his facemask on a sack. Young then hit Dominique Edison for 29 yards, scrambled for 5 yards to convert a third-and-4, snuck for 1 yard on fourth-and-short, and then scrambled up the middle for a 6-yard TD run on third-and-goal.

{sportsad300}After Crosby missed the 54-yard field goal try, Tennessee took advantage of good field position and drove 56 yards for another touchdown. On a second try at the same play near the goal line, Young lofted the ball to Edison in the back corner of the end zone for an 8-yard score.

The Titans added a field goal on the final play of the half when they recovered an Evan Moore fumble at the Green Bay 32-yard line and drove into the red zone. The Rob Bironas chip shot made it 20-3 at intermission.

Tennessee's third-string quarterback, Patrick Ramsey, then picked up where Young left off, driving the Titans 80 yards on their opening second-half possession. Edison snagged his second TD reception of the game from 31 yards out for a 27-3 advantage.

From there the outcome was academic, but of greater concern were the injuries the Packers sustained along the way.

Raji left the game with an ankle injury, while defensive backs Brandon Underwood (shoulder stinger), Pat Lee (knee) and Anthony Smith (blow to the head) all exited as well. That forced the Packers to go with a makeshift secondary in the second half, as Swain switched sides of the ball and played some cornerback, while corner Joe Porter moved over to safety.

"We wanted to play a lot of these younger guys and get a lot of quality work," McCarthy said of his objectives in the preseason finale. "Unfortunately we had some injuries that put some of our guys in a tough spot. Defensively I thought our guys did a great job just battling, especially because of our numbers."

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