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Packers Embarrassed By Lowly Bengals


The offense was stagnant, the defense was porous, and the special teams were less than special.

One week after beating the division rival Chicago Bears with a last minute touchdown pass, the Green Bay Packers turned in a clunker at Lambeau Field. The offense, which sparkled all preseason, sputtered and struggled to move the ball. Plagued by dropped passes, penalties, sacks and fumbles, the unit was a discombobulated mess.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers was sacked six times, five of those by defensive end Antwan Odom. The running game was never able to get going and the Packers only attempted three rushes in the second half. Running back Ryan Grant fumbled to end what was turning into the best drive of the day, leading to a Cincinnati touchdown.

As bad as the offense was, the defense was worse. Cincinnati running back Cedric Benson ran wild on the Packers hapless defense, rushing for 141 yards. The Bengals converted nine of 14 third downs, including a 3rd-and-34 from their own seven yard line.

Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer found tight end Daniel Coats on a screen pass and Coats rumbled 23 yards before defensive end Cullen Jenkins forced a fumble. Clearly it was not the Packers day as the ball bounced forward fifteen yards and was recovered by the Bengals for a first down.

The play proved to be a turning point in the game because Cincinnati went on to score a touchdown a few plays later to tie the game just before halftime.

The lone bright spot of the game was cornerback Charles Woodson who had two interceptions, one returned for a touchdown. If not for those two plays, the Packers may have been on the wrong end of a rout.

Wide receiver Greg Jennings, who has been a consistent play-maker since his rookie year of 2005 had no catches and dropped what would have been a first down in the first quarter. Tight end Jermichael Finley and Grant were also guilty of inopportune drops.

To make matters worse, safety Nick Collins left the game in the second quarter with a chest injury and did not return. Left tackle Chad Clifton injured his ankle and left the field on a cart. Though X-rays were negative, his status for next week isn't looking good.

All in all it was a miserable day for the green and gold. The special teams contributed to the debacle by allowing a punt return down to the Packers six yard line and committing several penalties. Kicker Mason Crosby missed badly on 55 yard field goal attempt and punter Jeremy Kapinos was less than stellar.

With 14 games left to play, there is more than enough time for Green Bay to get its act together, but these are typically the games that come back to bite you in December when you're are a game or two away from making the playoffs. Losing at home is never acceptable, especially against an inferior team.

The Packers have shown flashes that they are a good team, but they have yet to put together a regular season performance that proves it.

With a win today the Vikings are 2-0 and looking solid. Of course they only played Cleveland and Detroit, but they took care of business, unlike the Packers. The Bears beat the defending Superbowl Champion Steelers at home to get to 1-1. It's looking like it will probably be a tight race in the NFC North so if the Packers want to contend they better get it together.

The season is far from over, but if the Packers don't turn it around quickly they may be staring at quite a deficit in the NFC North. Green Bay will play Minnesota twice by November 1st and if they show up with the defense they had today, Adrian Peterson might run for 300 yards.

"I think adversity is always good for a team," Rodgers said. "We're going to have to respond properly to this. We've got to go to St. Louis next week and get a win. We need to have a good week of practice. Offensively our two weeks of practice have been average. We haven't practiced the way we are capable of practicing.

"I think young guys and old guys alike need to focus on a little more in practice and practice like a professional. I'm including myself in that sentence, but we're two weeks into the season now and we're 1-1. It's time to grow up and be a pro and practice and play like it."


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