Sunday, September 20, 2009

Halftime: Packers 21 - Bengals 21

Flat. Sloppy. Penalties. Turnovers. Big plays. Close game.

How's that for a summary of the first half. The Packers, despite scoring 21 points, have frankly had that flat look we have often seen over the years after a big emotional win such as that against Da Bearz last Sunday night.

The defense, for the most part, doesn't seem to have the energy. With 3rd and 34 -- yes, 34 yards to go -- from near the Bengals endzone, the Bengals got a first down late in the half (albeit including a forward fumble they recovered). A few plays later, courtesy of a long pass play and a same-play roughing the QB penalty, the Bengals were handed a chance to tie the game just before half, which they proceeded to do. To be fair, the defense -- thanks to Charles Woodson -- got two INTs, one of which Woodson returned for a touchdown.

And the Packers offense has also been sloppy including, like last week, a few key dropped passes early and late in the half. Poor concentration. Which also showed itself in the penalties which have also been in abundance.

I said in my preview that if the Packers could survive the Bengals initial onslaught they would win the game. I stick with that. But the onslaught has lasted longer than expected. Didn't think it would go the entire first half.

But the game is back to all square. Yes, there was the outside chance of the Pack going in ahead by 3 if K Mason Crosby had made his last second 55-yard field goal attempt; but nope...wide left. So, whichever of the two teams makes the best adjustments at halftime will emerge the winner. I'd expect coach McCarthy to kick a little butt at halftime. The Pack is not playing anywhere near what they are capable of, on any side of the ball.

Cincy is a good team and they could pull this game out. But I'm betting the Pack will get their act together in the second half. The game will be closer than earlier expected. But the Pack will win.

One of the downsides to the first half is the possible loss for the rest of the game of S Nick Collins, who left with a shoulder injury. He was replaced by Jarrett Bush (gulp).