The fact that Aaron Rodgers still breathes in the sweet, fresh Wisconsin air is a blessing after what we witnessed on Sunday Night. The Packers lost the 2nd quarter (and the first series of the 3rd) as badly as a team can lose one. The other three, we looked okay. Take that as far as it goes–for me, it’s no big relief after I hate-watched Aaron getting smashed like a Lego set owned by the freaking Hulk for 3 hours. Bakhtiari and Bulaga had some skin in this game, mark my words. Jesus.
Anyway, we have next week to look forward to. I, for one, refuse to dread the outcome of a Bengals game that I’ll get to watch from the comfort of my tiny New York apartment. Especially considering I watched that dreadful Atlanta game after traveling 1000+ miles. But this isn’t about me, it’s about the Packers! Well, the Bengals. Finally! An uncommon opponent!
Out of Conference Bonus Round!
Kansas City Chiefs at the Cincinnati Bengals
November 17, 2003
I couldn’t help but throw my normal format out the window for this game. It might be nearly half a decade before I get another chance to write about the Bengals in this column–it’s unlikely we’ll see them in the Super Bowl. But…this game. I was just a young boy of 13 who had watched his beloved Packers go down valiantly to the nigh unbeatable Kansas City Chiefs in overtime at Lambeau.
That 2003 team was a fun watch. We had good old fullback William Henderson, my Madden mainstay wide receiver Robert Ferguson, and the wonderfully slippery Ahman Green. Even Najeh Davenport and Donald Driver were around that year. Still, the Packers blew a 14-point lead to start the game and a 17-point lead in the 4th quarter to send the game into overtime. The Chiefs deserved the win, but I was understandably devastated. Everyone wants their team to end the undefeated streak.
Cue the upstart Cincinnati Bengals and the relatively unknown Chad Johnson. Johnson guaranteed that the Bengals would win the game early in the week. I wanted him to be right. Johnson, who would become one of my favorite players and the world’s saddest Twitter follow (along with being kind of a dick), didn’t have much to lose for this one. The Bengals were 4-5 and that was after winning 3 straight. However, there was something about his bluster that locked me into this game.
It turned out to be a great one. Before Marvin Lewis came along, the Bengals were just terrible. Think Browns from last year bad. But, he and the Bengals were throwing out that old shame and playing with self respect. It was an inspiring sight to see. Here was this up-and-coming team that was out of its depth and they were playing toe-to-toe with the class of the league.
Kansas City ended up being an early out in the playoffs that year and it might have been because Marvin Lewis found a way to stop Priest Holmes’ devastating running attack. The Chiefs were fielding Trent Green on offense and were vulnerable against the pass. If it wasn’t for Marvin Lewis, the league might have been heading back to ground and pound football. Nah.
The Bengals were able to slow the Chiefs down and led 10-6 at the half. The Cincinnati defense was suffocating. Rudi Johnson (?) was able to run for 165 yards and Priest Holmes (who would end the year with 2000+ yards and 27 touchdowns) was held in check. Dante Hall, the Chiefs’ wunderkind returner and all-time legend, was outshined by young Peter Warrick–who was a bust in every other aspect.
Warrick scored twice in the fourth quarter, once on a punt return and the other on a 77-yard touchdown pass delivered by the woefully lovable Jon Kitna. Kitna put up a 100+ QB rating this game! Most importantly, the Chiefs, who beat the Packers so dramatically in the weeks before, ate it and ate it hard.
The reason this is on my mind for this week? This is Marvin Lewis’ signature win and it happened 13 years ago. Since then? No playoff wins, nothing. This may be the last hurrah for the man and you couldn’t have picked a better opponent to get the Packers back off the ground.
(If you remember this game too, you can check it out in full on the NFL’s YouTube page here.)
Green Bay Packers at the Cincinnati Bengals
September 3rd, 2013
Remember Jonathan Franklin? I do. A UCLA product drafted after Lacy, he was supposed to be the guy that was Lacy’s counter-punch. Due to injuries, Franklin received most of the carries in this game and totaled over 100 yards. He looked special but was unfortunately forced to retire due to a vicious neck injury. More on that later.
This was a great game for those who love sloppy offense and swarming defense. It featured 7 combined turnovers (3 GB, 4 CIN) including two forced fumbles by a prime Clay Matthews. Check out this diving strip. There aren’t many guys who can make that play. This game also featured an underwhelming Aaron Rodgers performance, one of his few with 2 interceptions.
This was a hell of a game if you ignore the outcome. The Packers started down 14-0 before Aaron had a chance to react. The Bengals scored on a long drive and Jeremy Ross fumbled the ensuing kickoff. From that point on, however, the Packers dominated the game. Green Bay scored 30 straight points to head into the fourth quarter up 30-14.
Then, the Bengals started their onslaught. In one of Andy Dalton’s better performances, he lead the Bengals on two straight scoring drives that left the score at 30-27 (due to a missed extra point). Then, the Packers went to work on the clock. Franklin had been getting what he wanted out of the Bengals all day and was set to take another run up the middle that would almost end the game.
Instead, Franklin got hit hard and fumbled, leading to a fumble return TD by Terrance Newman. Rodgers was unable to capitalize and the game ended on a turnover on downs. Cincinnati would win the game as the first team to lose a 14-point lead, get 30-straight scored on them, and still win the game. Yikes.
This game reminds me of this week’s matchup in a few ways: it is also in Week 3, the Bengals are still lead by Dalton and Lewis, and Franklin and Montgomery have a really similar skillset. It also features an “Is Aaron okay?” version of Aaron Rodgers that isn’t quite on the same page with his offense. Either way, we have a much better team than Cincy right now and this time the game is played in Green Bay. Can we avoid the foibles of the 2013 Green Bay Packers and head into Week 4 2-1 instead of 1-2? Tune in, brother.