Sunday, September 20, 2009

Final: Packers 24 - Bengals 31

Pain and misery fill the air.

I'm guessing when everyone was looking at the schedule and making their season record projections that a loss to the Bengals in Game #2 wasn't one they were counting in the loss column. But that's how things wound up today.

The Packers were flat on offense and defense. On defense, they had no answer for stopping RB Cedric Benson who, like most folks, came to life by getting out of Chicago. He ran for 141 yards. On offense, the Packers had no answer for DE Antwan Odom, who tied the Cincinnati record for most sacks in a game with five. The not-very-good Bengals offensive line was better than the Packers D-line on this day. And the Packers offense was stuck in neutral. For the second week in a row, yhey couldn't get any running game going, which made the passing game key, which allowed Cincy's defense to tee off on QB Aaron Rodgers. (Remember how the running game was a point of emphasis, supposedly, during the preseason? And who was their leading rusher? Oh yeah, Tyrell Sutton...whom they cut. OKaaaaay...)

Ryan Grant gave a up key fumble on a Packers drive after a short pass completion. That turnover eventually led to the Bengals go-ahead TD. They added a late field goal to make the margin 10 points. The Pack wound up kicking a field goal on 2nd down with about 50 seconds to go to then set up an onside kick and have one last shot at tying things up. Tramon Williams recovered the onside kick with 43 seconds remaining to give the Packers one last blast of hope. But that's all it was. Without any timeouts, the Packers were able to get it down to about the 10-yard line with only a few seconds to go. Even the TV game announcers said that the refs didn't seem to be in any hurry to spot the ball and then said the clock ran out before they could get a snap off (which replays showed was incorrect), although even if they had there was a motion penalty on the offense which would have negated any remaining time anyway. Nice try but no cigar, as the saying goes. No win either.

The Packers lost left tackle Chad Clifton early in the 3rd quarter with an ankle injury; no word on the seriousness of the injury, but he was taken off on a cart. Daryn Colledge, already nursing a sore ankle, slid over from his left guard spot and got beat as bad on that side as Allen Barbre did on the right side last week.

To say this game is a disappointment is an understatement. Discombobulated on both sides of the ball -- and special teams, which gave up two big punt returns -- the Pack have their work cut out for them this week before heading into next week's game at St. Louis. Which was another of those games we thought should add to a 3-0 start to the season. After today's game, hmmmm...