Week 8 Game Recap: Green Bay Packers 14, Cincinnati Bengals 21
What you need to know
QB Brett Favre has hit two new lows. He threw a career high five interceptions (regular season game) to the Bengals. And the Packers dropped to 1-6 on the season. However, Favre still kept the Packers in the game with his trademark passion and fire until the final play of the game.
RB Tony Fisher was the featured running back throughout the game. He was spelled by backup ReShard Lee for only one carry. However, the Packers called 42 passing plays to only 19 rushing plays. Actually, these numbers could also be perceived as deceiving. The Packers did remain fairly balanced until late in the game when a flurry of Favre passes on the final two Green Bay drives threw these numbers out of equilibrium.
With the Green Bay receiving corps injury riddled, and WR Donald Driver facing lots of extra coverage, QB Brett Favre looked to third year WR Antonio Chatman. Chatman led all Packersí receivers with 12 targets, including eight in the fourth quarter when the Packers were scrambling to try and get back into the game.
RB Rudi Johnson (23 touches) is still the workhorse in the running game for the Bengals, but understudy Chris Perry (nine touches) continues to cut into his opportunities, particularly anything resembling a passing down.
QB Carson Palmer threw for three touchdowns, but struggled to keep the offense moving and couldnít seem to put the Packers away. The Bengalsí defense set the offense up after intercepting a Brett Favre pass on five out of six possessions, but Palmer and the Bengalsí offense could only turn one of these turnovers into points.
The Bengalsí secondary intercepted five passes for the third time this season and leads the league with 20 picks overall. Oddly however, the Cincinnati front seven were not bringing tremendous pressure via the pass rush and only sacked Brett Favre once at the very end of the game. They were able to make Favre scramble from the pocket on several occasions, but the majority of the credit for the interceptions belongs to the defensive backs that made tremendous plays on the ball.
What you ought to know
|QB Brett Favre, Pass: 26 - 39 - 279 - 1 TD / 5 INT, Rush: 2 - 4 - 0|
Favre threw five interceptions during a stretch of six possessions almost killing any chance the Packers had to come back for a victory. However, the Bengals were unable to capitalize on the turnovers allowing Favre to nearly bring Green Bay back for the win. Favre was amazing on some throws standing in the pocket and getting hit, while simultaneously seeing open receivers and making plays. However, Favre was also terribly off target on more throws that were just awful and had to leave Green Bay fans scratching their heads. Favre ended the game by completing pass after pass to WR Antonio Chatman and TE Bubba Franks to bring the Packers back from a 14 point deficit, but fell just short. After crossing the fifty yard line down by only seven points Favre completed another pass to Chatman at the 28 yard line with about 30 seconds left, but was sacked on the next play. Instead of spiking the ball and giving the Packers one more shot at the end zone Favre faked the spike of the ball and scrambled toward the sideline. He had no one down field and ended up crossing the line of scrimmage before illegally flipping the ball forward to TE Bubba Franks.
|RB Tony Fisher, Rush: 17 - 51 - 1, Rec: 2 - 7 - 0 (4 targets)|
Fisher saw the lionís share of carries, but struggled to do much with the opportunity (3.0 ypc) other than his one yard touchdown plunge in the second quarter. However, Fisher did a nice job in the passing game catching the ball as well as protecting QB Brett Favre in blitz pickups.
Lee only had one carry in the game. The most action Lee saw was returning kickoffs.
Chatman started across from Donald Driver. He led the Packers in targets, catches, and yards. However, through three quarter Chatman had only three catches for 29 yards. When Favre got the Packersí offense rolling late in the game Chatman became the featured receiver. He made a fantastic catch while getting belted by a defensive back at the goal line just before the Franks touchdown. He also got the Packers in range to tie the game late by drawing a pass interference flag on what was a 48 yard play. Chatman also returned punts.
Driver was Favreís top weapon through the first three quarters. He had gained some separation away from a cornerback on a deep ball to the end zone on the Packersí first possession, but Favre just missed him overthrowing the pass. Two of Favreís interceptions in the third quarter were targeted to Driver. Each was a poorly thrown ball. Favre still hit Driver with two more passes in the fourth quarter, but it was WR Antonio Chatman seeing the majority of targets late (eight in the fourth quarter).
Franks did a nice job of working the middle of the field offering a big target. Of note, Franks made a nice catch in the second quarter deep down the right seam setting up the Fisher touchdown. Franks took a huge hit from the safety, but bounced right up and held onto the pass. His touchdown in the fourth quarter came off play action at the goal line. Franks did a solid job of selling run and was able to break free in the back of the end zone. He used his size and strength to wrestle the ball away from the defensive back.
Lee saw an increase in targets with the injuries to Packersí wide receivers. The Packers played in two tight ends sets for a majority of the game instead of moving to three wide receiver sets.
Longwell hit both of his extra point attempts. The Packers didnít come close to getting him any field goal attempts.
The Green Bay front seven were able to close running lanes well holding RB Rudi Johnson to only 3.3 yards per carry. During the second half when the Bengals were trying to work on the clock the Packers were able to force punts on four straight possessions.
The Packers were very physical with the Bengalsí receivers. They were able to slow down QB Carson Palmer, but they did so at the cost of several penalties throughout the game. Also, the Packersí defensive backs missed several opportunities to make plays on Palmer passes, but dropped balls that hit them in the hands. The Packersí pass rush was able to sack Palmer twice in the first quarter, but werenít able to maintain the pressure through the game.
Palmer took the NFL lead in touchdown passes (16) with three more in this game. However, Palmer had a rough time keeping the Bengalsí offense moving when it counted late in the game. His defense handed him the ball with five takeaways in a stretch of six possessions, but Palmer was able to manufacture points only once. Further, he responded to the last Favre interception by throwing one of his own that led to a Packer touchdown and allowed Green Bay to hang around in the game keeping it close until the final whistle. This said, Palmer was still accurate and showed off the cannon on his right shoulder several times. Also, the Cincinnati running game didnít help him out much by not being able to grind out a few first downs in the second half.
|RB Rudi Johnson, Rush: 22 - 72 - 0, Rec: 1 - 0 - 0 (2 targets)|
The Bengals came out attempting to control the clock pounding Johnson between the tackles and did so with little success. At halftime, Johnson had 11 carries. Considering that he finished with 22 carries it seems fair to say they were consistent in using him throughout the game. However, other than his first carry in the third quarter (15 yards), Johnson was stopped for no yards or worse on half of his remaining attempts.
|RB Chris Perry, Rush: 3 - 18 - 0, Rec: 6 - 25 - 1 (7 targets)|
Perry entered the game on the Bengalsí first drive getting one zero yard run and catching his four yard touchdown pass. Perry caught the ball right on the goal line while also getting hit by a defensive back. One of Perryís two other carries went for solid yardage. It was for seventeen yards when the Bengals were trying to run out the clock late in the game. Perry did a great job of staying in bounds on the later carry. After knowing he had the first down Perry purposefully fell down before getting to the sideline.
Johnson caught his only target in the fourth quarter scoring from 27 yards out.
Houshmandzadeh was invisible at the start of the game with no targets on the first two Cincinnati drives. However, QB Carson Palmer looked to him twice on their scoring drive in the second quarter. His first reception was a short crossing pattern on second and 18 that dug the Bengals out of a hole and set up a more manageable third down. His touchdown shortly afterwards was another crossing route in the opposite direction. Houshmandzadeh stopped and pivoted in the center of the field breaking back away from the defensive back to gain separation. He also caught two 20 yard passes later in the quarter, but neither was of significance or led to a score. Houshmandzadeh was targeted on Palmerís fourth quarter interception.
|WR Chad Johnson, Rush: 1 - 8 - 0, Rec: 5 - 62 - 0 (14 targets)|
Johnson was locked up with CB Al Harris for the majority of the game, and took lots of big hits from a variety of Packersí defenders. Harris made Johnson work hard for his receptions. Johnson was targeted on a deep ball on the Bengalsí first possession, but QB Carson Palmer overthrew the pass. During the second quarter Johnson was more involved catching three short passes, and he was also able to draw a flag on another route leading up to the Houshmandzadeh touchdown. Just before that touchdown Johnson nearly made a spectacular diving grab on the side of the end zone reminiscent of a similar play from week seven. Johnson made the catch, but just barely landed out of bounds. Johnsonís only other catch in the game was a beautiful over the shoulder deep ball. He was hit early and would have drawn a flag, but made the reception anyway.
Henry caught one ball in each of the first two quarters, but was pretty much a non-factor and didnít cut into Johnson and Houshmandzadehís target totals.
Schobelís only target and catch came on the opening drive leading to the Chris Perry touchdown.
Graham hit all three of his extra point attempts. Cincinnati never got close to getting him a field goal attempt.
The Bengalsí front seven did an excellent job of stuffing RB Tony Fisher through most of the game. Only five of Fisherís carries went for more than three yards. The Bengalsí linebacker crew did a very nice job of running from sideline to sideline stringing out plays.
The Bengalsí secondary made excellent plays to intercept five Brett Favre passes. Three of them would have been outstanding receptions by wide receivers. CB Deltha OíNeal made back to back interceptions to start the third quarter. The first was a diving grab at the goal line. The second was a ball that he made a nice adjustment on cutting back behind WR Donald Driver. CB Tory James followed those two up with another pick over the shoulder when Favre scrambled into the flat and tried to lob one over his head to RB Tony Fisher. The other two interceptions both came off of tipped balls that were picked off by LB Odell Thurman. The Bengals pass rush did make Favre leave the pocket on several occasions, but they were only able to catch him once at the very end of the game.