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Packers move into first place; Finley suffers neck injury

Aaron Rodgers in a Green Bay Packers throwback uniform (Reuters)
Aaron Rodgers in a Green Bay Packers throwback uniform (Reuters)

GREEN BAY, Wis (WSAU-TSN)   Aaron Rodgers refused to let a diminished receiving corps hamper his performance, as the Green Bay quarterback threw for 260 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Packers to a 31-13 victory over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday at Lambeau Field.

After losing star receivers Randall Cobb and James Jones to injuries in last week's win, Rodgers was forced to rely heavily on second-year wideout Jarrett Boykin, who entered the tilt with just six career catches for 70 yards.

Boykin rose to the occasion, racking up a game-high eight receptions for 103 yards and a score, while Rodgers finished an efficient 25-of-36 passing for the Packers (4-2), who notched their 10th consecutive home victory.

"The challenge of injury has brought opportunity to a lot of young players," Packers head coach Mike McCarthy said.

Jordy Nelson and Jermichael Finley each added a touchdown grab, while Eddie Lacy rushed for 82 yards and a score on 22 carries in the win.

Brandon Weeden struggled under center for Cleveland (3-4), completing just 17- of-42 passes for 149 yards and a touchdown with one interception.

"I'll look at the film and we'll evaluate (Weeden's) play and everybody's play after the game," Cleveland head coach Rob Chudzinski said.

Jordan Cameron caught Weeden's lone touchdown pass and finished with seven catches for 55 yards for the Browns, who have lost two straight.

After Cleveland opened the game with a three-and-out, Rodgers put the Packers in the end zone four plays later, flipping a short out route to the left for Finley, who spun off a defender and ran over two others on his way to a 10- yard touchdown that gave Green Bay a 7-0 lead less than three minutes in.

A roughing the punter penalty against the Packers extended Cleveland's next drive, but on 4th-and-1 from the Green Bay 37, Devon House stepped in front of a Weeden pass to give the Packers possession near midfield.

Rodgers kept Green Bay's ensuing series moving with a pair of third-down conversions before Lacy picked up a fresh set of downs with a 13-yard scamper on 3rd-and-5 down to the Cleveland 9.

Two plays later, Lacy surged in from a yard out to make it 14-0 with 3:44 remaining in the first frame.

Billy Cundiff got the Browns on the board with a 46-yard field goal midway through the second, but Mason Crosby countered with a 26-yarder of his own just before the break to send Green Bay into halftime with a 17-3 cushion.

Crosby missed short on a 52-yard try on the Packers' opening possession of the second half before a three-and-out followed by a short punt on Green Bay's next touch set Cleveland up at the Green Bay 46.

Cundiff connected on a 44-yard field goal to bring the Browns with 17-6, but after a Green Bay punt, Cleveland turned the ball over on downs at the Green Bay 31 when Weeden's pass to Josh Gordon on 4th-and-15 fell incomplete.

A scary moment sucked the life out of Lambeau field two plays later, as Finley made a 10-yard catch over the middle, but was drilled in the helmet by safety Tashuan Gipson.

Finley remained motionless on the field and was attended to by the training staff as players from both sides knelt around the Green Bay tight end, who was then taken off the field on a stretcher.

Finley could be seen moving his arm as he exited the field and preliminary reports stated that he had movement in all extremities despite suffering a neck injury.

"It's a reminder of how tough this game is," Rodgers said of the injury to Finley. "Injuries are part of the game but those are tough to see."

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