At first, it seems awful. In fact, it seems pathetic. Four interceptions against a good Cincinnati Bengals team from a first ballot selection to the hall-of-fame. Yet, when taken under the microscope, the 21-14 victory the Bengals’ over the Green Bay Packers in week eight of the 2005 NFL season showed positives for a struggling Packers team.
The Packers, despite Favre’s follies and frustrations, remained in the game until the final minute. Get technical and make it the last play. Sure, Green Bay moving to 1-6 this season and dwelling in the cellar with little hope to make a run at the playoffs sweeps a gloomy cloud of desperation over the team. What most do not see, though, is the vast improvement the Packers made during this week.
Cincinnati, at 6-2, is shocking many teams and experts around the league with its sudden revival under an almost metaphysical improvement in its quarterback Carson Palmer. That is not to forget the great play it’s received from its defense in allowing an average of 15.6 points per game. In a shocking reality, Cincinnati fans have legitimate reasons to dream of the postseason, if not even a Super Bowl run.
Before Green Bay’s match up against the Bengals, Favre questioned whether or not he still had the magic to play his position in the NFL. Really, the question is, does he have the team to perform his magic. After Sunday’s game, that answer is clearly yes.
Many of the Packers’ drives either ended in Bengals’ territory, or shortly before. Favre threw two interceptions in Bengal’s territory. The Packers also punted two away from inside fifty yards.
Blame the youngness of the team for that. However, commend them for playing one of the league’s top teams closely until the final seconds.
The group of youngsters helped keep the Pack in the game as long as possible – against a team that has been shutting down offenses this season. Granted, Cincinnati hasn’t played the stiffest competitors this year, but still 6-2 and a 15.6 points per game allowed says something in today’s NFL. Either way, the Packers stayed close against a good team.
Unfortunately, the Packers have played close all year long and the remaining schedule holds little good news.
With Pittsburgh next week and Atlanta following up the next week, Green Bay may see itself fall out of contention of playoffs earlier than expected. Even if they pull off a few morale-boosting wins the next two weeks, they still have Philadelphia – however many problems it may have – and Seattle remaining.
Right now, cheese heads can only hope that their team continues to improve the way they showed this week and keep Favre from throwing crucial interceptions that ultimately decide the game. Because, frankly, the Packers are a few less turnovers a game from becoming a winning team. And, there are only three games separating them from first place in the NFC North.