Matchup of the Game: Rodgers faces new Bengals rushers
The last time the Bengals played the Packers, there was an odd moment that was even odder than the 34-30 Cincinnati win. And that was odd. The Bengals, it will be recalled, allowed 30 straight points on Sept. 22, 2013 at Paul Brown Stadium when the defense was on the field for all but 1:21 of the final 10:49 to end an 81-snap siege. As defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer scanned his call sheet during a timeout in the first half, he felt Rodgers staring at him.
No comment, but Geno's numbers talking Canton
While Carlos Dunlap does a mean imitation of Geno Atkins saying absolutely nothing, Atkins is doing a pretty fair re-boot of Pro Football Hall-of-Famers John Randle and Warren Sapp that says it all. The red-hot Atkins is solidifying himself as a Defensive Tackle of the Decade and a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer with three sacks in the season’s first two games and 7.5 in his last six.
Lazor Looks To Jump Start Offense
He isn’t saying and nor should he. The Green Bay Packers will have to figure that out for themselves. But my broadcast partner Dave Lapham has a suggestion. “First and foremost simplify,” Lap told me. “I think their minds were blown with too much information in the first couple of weeks and they weren’t playing fast and free. Their minds were cluttered. So my thing is to simplify. Meet with your coaches, meet with your quarterback, meet with A.J. Green as well if you want to, and find out what everybody thinks they do best. Make a short list from the consensus opinion and that’s what you are – that’s your identity. Right now they don’t know what their identity is. Instead of having a thousand plays for everything, have a few plays that you can run against everything.”
Slants and screens: Connected to the Pack; Erickson returns; GB missing three playmakers
Sept. 20, 2009. Lambeau Field. Bengals-Packers. OK, OK. It was the 17th anniversary of Bengals nose tackle Tim Krumrie mangling the Majic Man’s ankle and giving rise to the legend of Brett Favre. The improbable Favre came off the bench and just as improbably led the Packers to a last-second win on a bomb to someone named Kittrick Taylor and instead of Bengals rookie head coach Dave Shula moving to 3-0 it was Favre moving into immortality.
TDBH: Passing of torch as Boomer and Fouts light up Riverfront
No one wants to say it but the trappings of change are all-around today at Riverfront Stadium when the Bengals and Chargers both stage the highest-scoring game in their histories. Even though Ken Anderson is healthy and starts their first two games, the club’s all-time leading passer is a scratch for the first time since his rookie season 14 years ago. He watches heir apparent Boomer Esiason barely lose a duel with Hall-of-Fame quarterback Dan Fouts with four seconds left when San Diego’s Bob Thomas kicks a 34-yard field goal for a 44-41 victory. While Fouts unleashes a barrage of 344 yards and four touchdowns, Esiason responds in his fifth NFL start with 320 yards and three TD passes.
Bengals' offense has struggled, but DT Geno Atkins has been as dominant as ever
Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins doesn't talk much. It's a long running joke among his teammates. Want to know how Atkins feels? A "like" or retweet on his Twitter account is probably anyone's best guess.
Jordy Nelson: 'My expectations are to play' vs. Bengals
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson is trending towards playing in Sunday's tilt versus the Cincinnati Bengals. Nelson practiced in full on Wednesday and said afterward he expects to play after missing most of last week's loss to the Atlanta Falcons with a quad injury.
True colors of Bengals defense to be exposed Sunday
The first week of the Bengals’ season was dominated by offensive storylines. Don’t score a touchdown, fire a coordinator and there’s little reason to talk defense. Plus, like any quality defense, they’ve stayed quiet. Defensive coordinator Paul Guenther’s group has only allowed 33 points through two games and 10 of those were directly related to turnovers. The team ranks seventh in fewest points against and fifth in yards.
Cincinnati Bengals TE Eifert unlikely to play Sunday vs Green Bay
The official injury report won’t come out until Friday afternoon, but you probably can go ahead scratch off Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert for Sunday’s game at Green Bay. And scratch your head over rookie wide receiver John Ross’s status after the first-round pick was listed as limited with an illness Wednesday before being downgraded to out Thursday with a knee injury.
Bengals' offense is under more pressure to produce
When the Cincinnati Bengals take on the Green Bay Packers, there will be a different feel to the offense. Let’s not go out and bet the farm on 30 or more points being scored. But, there should be some energy to the Bengals’ attack. The past two weeks have been brutal. What was supposed to be a high-scoring machine has mustered a mere nine points. But, changes came early and there’s still time to get the season back on track.
By the numbers: Bengals vs. Packers preview
Bengals have won last three meetings. ... Each team had four turnovers in last meeting in 2013, including fumble returned for touchdown for each side. ... Bengals trying to avoid first 0-3 start since 2008, when they went 4-11-1. They've gone 0-3 13 times in club history, failed to have winning record any of those seasons. ... Bengals first team since 1939 Eagles to open season with two home games and fail to score TD. They haven't reached end zone in 25 possessions, settling for three FGs.
AFC North Bytes
Ravens’ Brandon Williams out Sunday vs. Jaguars
The Ravens will be without their best run-stuffing defensive lineman on Sunday against the Jaguars. Brandon Williams didn’t make the trip to London because of a foot injury, according to Alex Flanagan of NFL Network.
Kenny Britt says he's accepting Hue Jackson's challenge to step up his game
With Corey Coleman out with a broken hand, Kenny Britt (two catches, 15 yards) becomes the team’s No. 1 receiver. So Hue Jackson has gone Dr. Phil and is challenging Britt to pick up his lagging game. “I challenge our guys every day,” Jackson said. “I challenge him to step up and make plays, and I think he will. This is where we are. Kenny’s the elder statesman and I think he’ll raise up and help lead these young guys and we’ll go play good this week.”
Steelers Injury Report: Week 3 isn’t looking good for two Pittsburgh starters
The Pittsburgh Steelers have some key injuries to keep an eye on as the team prepares for their Week-3 tilt with the Chicago Bears. While some news was good, other news was negative, with only one practice remaining before the team heads for the Windy City. The good news is that both Bud Dupree (shoulder) and Stephon Tuitt (biceps) should both be in the lineup on Sunday for the team’s starting defense.
FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS: Innovative Statistics, Intelligent Analysis | Clutch Field Goals: Are the Chargers Cursed?
Whoops, the San Diego Los Angeles Chargers did it again on Sunday. Needing a 44-yard field goal from Younghoe Koo in the closing seconds against Miami, the Chargers missed another clutch kick to fall to 0-2. This was only six days after a similar ending happened in Denver when Koo's 44-yard field goal was blocked, denying an overtime session.
15 suggestions for a better ‘Thursday Night Football’ slogan
Advertisers aren’t allowed to lie to customers. Lays™ can’t take a bag of Cheetos™, scrawl, “These are healthier than lettuce and will get you laid” on it, and then place it on a supermarket shelf. But the whole “don’t bullshit consumers” thing was clearly a real wrench in the gears for whomever came up with Thursday Night Football’s new slogan. How do you — without misleading people about the quality — sell the sports equivalent of a crushed-up bag of Cheetos™?
The Ravens got me thinking ... if the royal family were NFL teams, which teams would they be?
All the major British royals matched up with their most similar football teams. I hate to break it to the Ravens and their social media strategists, but the queen isn’t really a match for the Ravens. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a British royal out there ready to be adorned in purple.