The last time the Green Bay Packers hosted the Cincinnati Bengals in the regular season was December 3, 1995; the Bengals lost 24-10 amassing 217 yards of total offense, the Packers dominated with 23 first downs, 434 yards total; Favre alone passed for 339 yards and three scores. An old favorite, Harold Green, led the Bengals with 20 yards rushing. Ouch.
Want to know the last time the Bengals beat the Packers at Green Bay during the regular season? Well, never. The Bengals won twice in Milwaukee, but not Green Bay. So something very historic could happen this Sunday. Hopefully it won't be business as usual where we allow the embarrassing trends of losing to continue.
In the mean time, time for school.
Brandon runs the SB Nation blog for the Green Bay Packers, the Acme Packing Company. He was kind enough to sit down with us for a few moments.
The Packers reportedly converted their defense to a base 3-4. In the first game of the season, the defense picked off Jay Cutler four times. Do you believe that the interceptions were a result of the new defense?
I'm a believer in defensive players, not defensive schemes. Dom Capers dialed up a lot of different looks to bring pressure, but the pass rush was aided by the return of DE Cullen Jenkins (injured for most of 2008) and rookie LB Clay Matthews. QB Jay Cutler was very uncomfortable in the pocket during the 1st half, but he certainly was wound up in his first game as a Bear.
Situation is fourth and goal at the three-yard line, Packers have the ball and are down by four points with two seconds left in the game. Who wins the football game for the Packers?
In the past, I would have looked for a quick pass to either WR Greg Jennings or WR Donald Driver right at the goal line. But another player who might be called on is 2nd year TE Jermichael Finley, who's 6'5" 247 lbs. but can be lined up as a wide receiver to create a mismatch.
In 2007, Ryan Grant had 11 rushes of 20 yards or more and finished with a 5.1 yard-per-rush average. He followed that up with only six 20-yard rushes and a 3.9 yards-per-rush average in 2008.
Everyone is giving Grant a pass on 2008 since he played through a hamstring injury for the first half of the season. And he was much better in the final few games, but he was never the guy he was in 2007. He looked good on Sunday, but I think 2007 was his breakout season.
The Bengals just scored a touchdown. They are still down by two points and need to convert a two-point conversion with no time remaining in regulation. Who do you bank on the most to make a play on defense to win the game?
CB Charles Woodson. He's lost some speed and has trouble keeping up on deep sideline routes, but on short yardage plays, he's the smartest player on defense and can jump a quick route as good as anyone.
There’s a growing feeling that the Bengals might be able to put together a pass rush that’s vastly improved over last year’s 17-sack season. Two defensive ends accounted for three quarterback sacks last week against the Denver Broncos. Give us an assessment on how well your pass protection is.
The pass protection was the Packers problem last Sunday. 3rd year OL Allen Barbre had his first NFL start and allowed two sacks to DE Adewale Ogunleye in the first half. The Bears also recorded a safety on a blitz to Barbre's side. Although he played better in the 2nd half, the game was a disaster for him. QB Aaron Rodgers's timing was off after he realized he couldn't count on his strong side pass protection, and the entire offense was disrupted. If the Bengals can bring a strong side speed rush, that will be the main focus of the pass rush attack.
For the most part, we have a young and inexperienced offensive line who gave up two sacks against the Broncos (Bengals gave up three sacks, the third attributed to a running back). How would you characterize your pass rush and who should Bengals fans look out for the most?
Back to #1 above. Although I believe it's about the players on defense, the Packers pass rush is one of those designed to give inexperienced lineman nightmares. They played a 2-4-5 scheme most of the game, DE Jenkins and DE Jolly in the middle, and LB Matthews and Kampman often at the line as ends. But Capers loves the zone blitz, and he'll drop his big men back in coverage, and then corner blitz, any of the linebackers blitz, or safety blitz. The rush can come from anywhere and guys will be lined up all over.