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Gameday / 2000 / August 26
Green Bay vs. Cleveland Browns

08/26/00 - Packers win 34-33
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 Green Bay - Indiv.
 Cleveland - Indiv.
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Herbert Goodman
Herbert Goodman
The Packers' starting offense and defense each appeared at their preseason best, and the reserves held off the surging Cleveland Browns in Green Bay's 34-33 victory on Saturday.

The offense gained 447 total yards, the third time in four preseason games they have gained over 400 yards.

With the Packers leading 34-27 late in the fourth quarter, Browns quarterback Kevin Thompson led Cleveland on a scoring drive, culminating in a 26-yard touchdown pass to Dennis Northcutt.

Down by a point, Browns coach Chris Palmer elected to try a two-point conversion. With the crowd of 59,687 on their feet, the defense forced an incomplete pass to seal the narrow victory.

"I saw us taking a step in the right direction from a confidence standpoint," Head Coach Mike Sherman said after the game. "I thought today we were more aggressive...We did our things and we didn't worry about what they were doing, so I was pleased with that. We were attacking and not waiting for things to happen."

With first-string quarterback Brett Favre still nursing a sore elbow, Matt Hasselbeck performed well as the game's starter. Hasselbeck connected on 10 of 12 passes for 137 yards and 2 touchdowns, both which were perfectly delivered to wide receiver Bill Schroeder.

The second-year pro from Boston College has raised many eyebrows around the league the last two preseasons with his exceptional passing numbers, but he fully expects Favre to be back in the lineup for the regular season opener against the New York Jets.

"It's going to be hard," Hasselbeck said. "I'll just focus on the positives of the situation. As bad as the elbow situation has been for Brett (Favre), it's been good for me in terms of getting repetitions and on the playing field. It's been a lot of fun."

When Hasselbeck left the game midway through the second quarter, Danny Wuerffel stepped in and had his best performance as a member of the Packers. The former Heisman Trophy winner threw 16 passes, completing 10 for 206 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Wuerffel's lone interception was returned 83 yards by Browns defensive back Rashidi Barnes for a touchdown late in the second quarter. After a successful two-point conversion, the score was tied at 17.

Even with the interception, Wuerffel is glad to have the victory and momentum going into next week's opener.

"I tell you what, an ugly win, a tough win, an exciting win - a win is a win, no matter how you take it," Wuerffel said. "We're glad to get that. A lot of different players got a chance to play, and players made plays. We got the win, and that's what's important.

Since signing with the Packers on July 5, Wuerffel has had less than two months to learn the Packers' complex offense. He believes that with a little more work, he will have a firm grasp on the system.

"In my mind, I'm comfortable with it," he said. "I understand what's going on, but the only way to get real comfortable is to get practice with it. I was very fortunate to get the extra reps in training camp when Brett (Favre) was down, and I'm a lot better off than I would have been had I not gotten the chance."

In their second drive of the third quarter, Wuerffel marched the offense 65 yards on 10 plays and hit receiver Charles Lee in the endzone for a 21-yard score.

Reserve fullback Matt Snider was on the receiving end of Wuerffel's biggest throw of the game. With the score knotted at 27, Packers Offensive Coordinator Tom Rossley called a play action pass to get Snider alone in the secondary. When the Browns linebackers rushed to the line of scrimmage, Snider caught the ball and raced 66 yards for a touchdown, barely reaching the goal line before being caught by the opposing secondary.

The touchdown proved to be the game-winning score, putting Green Bay ahead 34-27 with just over 5 minutes to play in the game.

"They came up and bit on it," said Snider, "and I had to go to the outside and avoid them, then go right up the middle. It was wide open.

"Including high school, I had a 99-yarder," he added when asked if Saturday's touchdown was the longest he had ever scored. "But in college and pro, that was, by far, my longest touchdown."

Rookie Herbert "Whisper" Goodman, who has made the most of his playing time this preseason, led Green Bay's rushing attack.

Goodman finished the game with 88 yards on 21 carries (4.2 avg.). He also caught 3 passes for 67 yards, including a 35-yard reception that led to 1 of Ryan Longwell's 2 field goals.

"Tonight, I just played my role," Goodman said. "I knew Basil (Mitchell) was going to start and I knew I would get my chance. I just wanted to showcase my skills."

Sherman and his staff have taken notice, and it appears the graduate of Graceland (Iowa) College has played his way onto the Green Bay roster.

"I think Goodman earned the right today to make an impact in next week's game at some point," Sherman said. "I was pleased with the toughness with which he ran today."

As for the other rookies and veterans vying to make the 53-man roster, this was the last chance to make an impression before the final cuts are announced Sunday at 3 p.m. CDT. Seventeen players will be released, but according to Sherman, many players made his decision more difficult with their Saturday performances.

"Going into today's game we had 17 people that have to be cut by 3 p.m. tomorrow. There were probably a half-dozen men out there fighting for a spot. Some people may have helped themselves."

For the second straight week, the Packers came out of the game relatively healthy. Bubba Franks bruised his knee, but his playing status for next week should not be affected. John Thierry also reported soreness in his knee.

After the cuts are made on Sunday, the coaching staff will turn its attention to the Jets, and Sherman is pleased with where Saturday's performance puts the team.

"I thought it was critical that we came out today and showed improvement, and we did improve," said Sherman. "I thought our first-team defense clicked and took some steps out there today and I'm proud of them."



Game Highlights (Real Audio)

Packers-Browns archived complete game broadcast (Real Audio)

Post-Game / Locker Room Audio Clips
Post-game press conference with Head Coach Mike Sherman, QB Matt Hasselbeck and RB Herbert Goodman (Real Audio)
S LeRoy Butler (Real Audio)
DE Vonnie Holliday (Real Audio)
WR Charles Lee (Real Audio)
RB Basil Mitchell (Real Audio)
Special Teams Coach Frank Novak (Real Audio)
Offensive Coordinator Tom Rossley (Real Audio)
CB/KR Allen Rossum (Real Audio)
FB Matt Snider (Real Audio)
QB Danny Wuerffel (Real Audio)


Scoring Summary

1st Quarter

GBP: M.Hasselbeck pass to B.Schroeder for 24 yds and TOUCHDOWN (R.Longwell extra point is good); 6 plays, 80yds, 3:58

GBP: M.Hasselbeck pass to B.Schroeder for 16 yds and TOUCHDOWN (R.Longwell extra point is good); 6 plays, 63yds; 2:44
  Keyplays:
  A.Freeman: 22yd catch;
  B.Schroeder: 19yd catch

CLE: P.Dawson 50 yard field goal is GOOD

2nd Quarter

CLE: E.Rhett rush for 1 yd and TOUCHDOWN (2pt attempt failed)

GBP: R.Longwell 44 yd field goal is GOOD; 8 plays, 56 yds, 4:43
  Keyplays:
  H.Goodman: 3 rushes for 26 yards;
  H.Goodman: 17yd catch

CLE: R.Barnes 83 yard interception and TOUCHDOWN (2pt: S.Wynn pass to D.Chiaverini)

3rd Quarter

GBP: D.Wuerffel pass to C.Lee for 21 yds and TOUCHDOWN (R.Longwell extra point is good)

CLE: T.Prentice 4 yd rush and TOUCHDOWN (P.Dawnson extra point is good)

GBP: R.Longwell 38 yd field goal is GOOD; 7 plays, 52 yards, 3:17
  Keyplay:
  H.Goodman: 35yd catch

CLE: P.Dawson 46 yard field goal is GOOD

GBP: D.Wuerffel pass to M.Snider for 66 yds and TOUCHDOWN (R.Longwell extra point is good)

CLE: K.Thompson pass to D.Northcutt for 26 yds and TOUCHDOWN (2pt: failed)
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