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Finley's injury overshadows Packer win over Cleveland

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The Green Bay Packers moved into first place in the N-F-C North division yesterday with a 31-13 home win over Cleveland. Aaron Rodgers threw for 260 yards and three touchdowns, despite being without receivers Randall Cobb and James Jones due to injuries. Second-year pro Jarrett Boykin filled in nicely, with 103 receiving yards and a touchdown. Tight end Jermichael Finley was sent to a hospital with a neck injury, on a helmet hit to the neck-and-shoulder area by the Browns' Tashaun Gipson. He laid motionless on the field for over five minutes before he was hauled away on a stretcher. Preliminary reports said Finley had movement in all his extremities. The Packers jumped out to a 14-nothing lead in the first quarter and made it stick. The Browns got to within 11 on Brandon Weeden's only touchdown pass of the day to Jordan Cameron in the fourth quarter. The Packers drove right back, as Boykin's 20-yard scoring catch put a cap on Green Bay's 10th straight home victory. Eddie Lacy ran for 82 yards and a touchdown. Finley and Jordy Nelson hauled in Rodgers' other T-D passes, as the Pack improved to 4-and-2 on the year. Weeden struggled while completing 17-of-42 passes for 149 yards. The Packers outgained the Browns 357-to-216 in total yards, and held the ball seven minutes longer. Cleveland lost its second straight, and is now 3-and-4. The Packers will now play two straight division games starting next Sunday night at Minnesota.

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There no clear word this morning on how Green Bay Packers' tight end Jermichael Finley is doing, after he suffered a brutal neck injury in yesterday's home win over Cleveland. N-F-L-Dot-Com's Ian Rapoport said Finley spent the night at a hospital as a precaution, and he'll be just fine. E-S-P-N's Chris Mortenson tweeted Finley was in an intensive care unit, and did not have surgery as of this morning. The Packers said last night that Finley had full feeling and movement in all his extremities, after his helmet got pounded by the shoulder pad of Cleveland corner Tashaun Gipson. It happened after Finley caught at 10-yard pass with 10:31 left in the fourth quarter. Gipson was flagged for a helmet-to-helmet hit -- but replays showed that the defender hit the receiver with his shoulder. N-F-L-Dot-Com said it was a clean hit. Finley stayed down on the field for several minutes before being carted off on a stretcher. Some Packers admitted to crying while Finley was on the ground. Tight end Jake Stoneburner, who was just promoted from the Green Bay practice squad, said he couldn't help but think was going through the minds of Finley's family. Receiver Jordy Nelson said Finley must himself first as he recuperates. Finley suffered a concussion a few weeks ago, and was having a great season in the final year of his Packers' contract. In the win over the Browns, Finley caught all five passes that Aaron Rodgers threw to him. He had 72 receiving yards and a touchdown.  

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The Packers hold the N-F-C North Division lead for the first time this season -- a half-game edge over Chicago and Detroit after both those lost yesterday. The Bears lost a track meet at Washington 45-41 while Detroit fell at Cincinnati 27-24. Both the Bears and Lions dropped to 4-and-3, with Green Bay at 4-and-2. Minnesota, which is 1-and-4, plays the Giants at New York tonight.The Bears lost quarterback Jay Cutler to a groin injury in their loss to the Redskins. His replacement, Josh McCown, threw for 204 yards and a touchdown pass. Roy Helu had the winning score with a three-yard run with 45 seconds left. Helu ran for three touchdowns.The Lions fell on a last-second field goal. Cincinnati's Mike Nugent hit a 54-yarder as time expired. Matthew Stafford threw for 357 and three touchdowns. Calvin Johnson caught nine passes, two for touchdowns, in a losing effort.

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