On the surface, the Green Bay Packers’ game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday doesn’t mean a whole lot. Nor is it terribly exciting.
The Bengals are bad. They haven’t scored one touchdown yet, this season. They were shutout in week 1 and put up just three field goals in week 2. They fired their offensive coordinator last week and there’s talk of benching starting quarterback Andy Dalton.
In the bigger picture, the Packers are playing an AFC team. While they want to win, this game carries less weight than a win over an NFC team or a division rival when it comes down to the playoffs.
All of that being said, the synchronicity of the Cincinnati Bengals being in town this weekend is somewhat uncanny.
A few reasons.
This week, 25 years ago, Brett Favre replaced an injured Don Majkowski and led the Packers to a last-second win against… the Cincinnati Bengals.
The exact date was the 20th, which was Wednesday, this week. As you well know, Favre started the next game and the rest is history.
Linebacker Clay Matthews is sitting at 74 career sacks. The Packers’ team record for sacks is 74.5, held by Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila. With one sack against the Bengals, Matthews is the new all-time team leader.
Who did Matthews get his first career sack against? The Cincinnati Bengals, of course.
It wasn’t much of sack. Then-Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer was pressured and fell down. Matthews was the first guy to touch him.
Ironically, that sack also came in a game on September 20.
And finally, we get to Aaron Rodgers. There are only two teams in the NFL Rodgers hasn’t beaten. He plays for one of them. Who is the other?
You guessed it! The Cincinnati Bengals.
Last season many teams got all kind of records and firsts against us. Bet the Bengals score there first TD this season against us. Easaly.
The years prior to 1992, we had to put up with Mike Tomczak, Blair Kiel and Anthony Dilweg as starting QBs. Majkowski was a great QB, but his arm was shot and everyone could see it.
I remember exactly where I was when in that Favre/Bengals game. I was a young college grad out of state at a Packer bar, and as there was no NFL Sunday Ticket yet, it was packed with 200-300 Packer fans.
Favre really didn’t get the comeback going himself, people forget that Terrell Buckley ran a punt back for a touchdown that really ignited the comeback in that game. Sterling Sharpe also made some spectacular catches in that game too. Favre didn’t really play all that well until the final drive with the pass to Kitrick Taylor. Hard to believe that was 25 years ago.
The bar erupted all at once. Strangers were hugging each other, jumping up and down. The DJ played Gary Glitter’s “Hey Song”, which I will forever associate with this Packer victory. Everyone knew things had changed.