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Packers look ragged despite beating Browns

Posted: Tuesday, August 27, 2002

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Renovations at Lambeau Field are 70 percent complete, and the Green Bay Packers' own makeover remains very much a work in progress.

Despite beating the Cleveland Browns 27-20, the Packers culminated a week of sloppy practices with an ugly performance by their starters.

Plus, Terry Glenn failed to make his much-anticipated Packers debut in the first game at the ''new'' Lambeau Field, which is halfway through a two-year, $295 million refurbishing.

The Browns returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown and took a 14-0 lead by the time Brett Favre had taken his fourth snap.

''The kickoff return for a touchdown is not the way we want to start. Plus, they're killing us on screens,'' Packers coach Mike Sherman fumed at halftime.

Last week, Sherman was so disgusted with sloppy practices that he forced his players to return for a full-pads workout.

Browns quarterback Tim Couch took advantage of the Packers' missing starting cornerbacks and perfectly-executed screens to complete 14 of 18 passes for 112 yards and a touchdown before leaving with a mild strain of his right elbow.

X-rays were negative, but Couch will undergo an MRI back in Cleveland on Tuesday.

''Hopefully, it's not too serious,'' wide receiver Kevin Johnson said. ''We need him for the season.''

All three phases of Green Bay's game gave Sherman fits early on until Cletidus Hunt blocked a field-goal attempt by Phil Dawson and Darren Sharper scooped it up and ran the final 35 yards for a touchdown 19 seconds before halftime that brought the Packers to 14-10.

''We were in a situation where we really needed to turn the momentum around,'' Hunt said. ''So, when I went out on the field, I had my mind set on getting to the kicker. I went in and told the guys I was going to get it.''

Until then, the record crowd of 62,668 hadn't had much to cheer.

The Packers had just three first downs in the first half and the Packers receivers had one catch.

Glenn, who was acquired from New England for a draft pick, has been sidelined much of training camp with a sprained left knee. He went through a rigorous workout Sunday and participating in the team's walkthrough, but still hasn't played during the preseason.

Andre' Davis returned the opening kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown, and after the Packers went three-and-out, Couch threw a 33-yard touchdown pass to Quincy Morgan to cap a 13-play, 77-yard drive.

Early on that drive, rookie safety Marques Anderson grabbed Jamel White's face mask. Instead of fourth-and-22 at their own 26, the Browns had a first down at their 41.

The Packers also went three-and-out on their second series, when Favre ran past the line of scrimmage before letting loose a deep pass.

Packers starting cornerbacks Tyrone Williams (groin) and Mike McKenzie (calf) were out. McKenzie's replacement, Erwin Swiney played well at times but was beaten on Morgan's TD.

The Packers pulled to 14-13 on Ryan Longwell's second field goal, a 33-yarder after Favre threw too high to top draft pick Javon Walker, who was wide open.

Favre finished 10-of-14 for 63 yards and an interception.

After Dawson's 28-yarder made it 17-13, Green Bay took its first lead when fullback Chris Gall hauled in a short pass from Doug Pederson and rumbled 35 yards for the score that put the Packers ahead 20-17 late in the third quarter.

On the first play of the fourth quarter, Todd Franz intercepted a pass from Josh Booty and returned it 42 yards for a touchdown and gave Green Bay a 27-17 lead.

Jay Taylor's 35-yard field goal with 7:13 left capped the scoring.

Cleveland end Kenard Lang (sprained right ankle) and wideout Aaron Shea (sprained right shoulder) were among Browns players who were injured.

Packers punter Josh Bidwell got stepped on after tackling Northcutt on a 56-yard punt return that was negated by a block in the back and didn't return.



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