Bengals 31, Packers 24 – Observations and Opinions
To quote The Jeffrey Lebwoski, the plan has crashed into the mountain.
More painfully one sided than the close score suggests, yesterday’s Green Bay Packers’ 31-24 defeat to the lowly Cincinnati Bengals exposed more weaknesses and vulnerabilities for the Packers. The Packers’ offensive line play was even shakier than last week and aside from a valiant effort on the part of Charles Woodson, the defense was horrible. To add insult to injury, or rather injury to injury – the Packers lost three more starters.
- In my circle of friends, I am notorious for complaining about the refs and their conspiracies against the Packers. I had only one major gripe from this game, but it was a biggie and I will get it out of the way quickly. Carson Palmer’s miracle phantom touchdown in the 2nd quarter. Sure, the ball “broke the plain” but Palmer’s hands weren’t on the ball when it did.
- Oddly enough, it was the last play of the game that had the Packers’ staff and players fired up. Aaron Rodgers had driven the Packers down to the 10 yard line and with the clock ticking down closer to zero they seemingly got the snap off in time. But the play was whistled dead as yellow flags flew into the air. Referee Ed Hochuli explained that the game was over – a false start on Green Bay and the required 10 second run off sealed the deal. Bizzarely, he added that the Packers didn’t get the snap off in time anyway. Really weird. The Packers clearly got the snap off in time. Even stranger was that, the penalty was called on Greg Jennings, who apparently had to be pulled away from the referees after the game. In the replays you can clearly see Jermichael Finley wasn’t set. Either way, that play was doomed, but it was strange that they singled out Jennings and insisted that the Packers didn’t get the snap off in time.
- Is there any doubt that Charles Woodson is the best player on the Packers’ defense? Where would the team be without him? I suspect we’ll find out soon. Woodson and Al Harris aren’t getting any younger and it’s obvious that beyond Tramon Williams, the Packers have no depth.
- If Jarret Bush keeps this up – and he’s been doing it for nearly four years – and by “it” I mean sucking, Total Packers can start a sister blog dedicated exclusively to his shitty play and logic defying ability to remain on an NFL roster. Shortly after Nick Collins went down with an injury, Bush was inserted and promptly gave up a huge gain on an underthrown flea flicker. Who gets beat on flea flicker in the NFL?
- For all the money we’re paying him, Nick Barnett has been invisible this season.
- For all the money we’re paying him, A.J. Hawk has been invisible this season.
- It might be time to start beating the “Start Brandon Chillar and Desmond Bishop Ahead of These Underachievers” drum. Bishop has a monster training camp, played lights out during the preseason and has publicly expressed a desire to play more on defense. Chillar, other than Woodson, has been the Packers’ defensive MVP this season.
- Where the hell was B.J. Raji? He practiced all week and by all accounts was fit to play. Presumably, Mike McCarthy thought that he could rest Raji one more week against the lowly Bengals. As Cedric “Imonnaboat!” Benson ran roughshod through the Packers’ exhausted defense, maybe Mike looked over at the 330-pound Raji standing on the sideline in street clothes and thought “my bad.”
- It’s obvious that Jermichael Finley is miles ahead of where he was last year and is electrifying when he gets the ball. Good thing the Packers only threw to him three times. If anything good comes out of the injury to Donald Lee, it’ll be more touches for Finley.
- I’m losing confidence in Aaron Rodgers and apparently, so is he. Looks like he isn’t too confident about his offensive line either, as evidenced by his happy feet. His reluctance and hesitation to go downfield makes me think he’s losing some confidence in his receivers too. I will say this about Rodgers – he stayed smart with the ball. Even as the game slipped out of his grasp, he didn’t force any stupid passes or turn the ball over. Can’t say the same for BLF when he’s in that situation. Took some stupid sacks though…
- The o-line situation is officially an emergency. Like, red alert, five alarm OMFG the sky is falling capital E Emergency. This has to be fixed yesterday or the Packers can forget winning more than four games this season. Rodgers has been running for his life in the first two games while Ryan Grant hasn’t been doing much running at all.
- Speaking of Ryan Grant, 2007 was a fluke. Grant is injury free this year, but is again running at half speed, falling down on the first hit and coughing up the ball.
- Speaking of the running game, why did the Packers abandon it so quickly? And when they do run, why do they continue to use these lumbering, slow-to-develop cutback and misdirection plays? It’s painful to watch.
- More dropped passes from a receiving unit I had placed atop the league before the season started. Greg Jennings was completely shut out. You have to wonder if his wrist injury is actually bothering him more than he has let on.
- Speaking on injuries, they have been a common problem under Mike McCarthy. Every team deals with them. It’s part of the game, but the sheer volume the Packers suffer every season makes me wonder if their training staff knows what they are doing.
- Perhaps more troubling than the injuries, is the Packers penchant for getting flagged. Every year under McCarthy, they get flagged again and again. Responsibility lies with the individual flagged, but when it becomes systemic over multiple years, it’s a coaching issue.
- Also, shame on the Packers fans who let Chad Ochocinco leap into the Lambeau Field stands. Fred Smoot was denied years ago and Ocho should have received the same treatment. Instead we get some douche waving his middle finger, while others actually patted Ocho on the back. What? What a joke.
Next week should be a barometer for how skilled the Packers actually are this season. Some teams start slowly – but if the Packers can’t beat St. Louis, then we’ll know how bad it really is.
Steffen grew up in Milwaukee, Bowler and Neenah Wisconsin. He is a UW-Stevens Point grad and currently works as a television producer in Los Angeles.