Packers-Bengals: First half thoughts
"Right now it's ugly times ugly...and that's when the ugly get going"-Gordon Gekko.
That was certainly an ugly start to the game. Without running an offensive play the Packers were down 14-0. When you're on the road and facing a quality opponent that kind of start can be deadly. It didn't appear to get much better when Jermichael Finley was knocked out of the game with a concussion. So with the offense out of synch and the defense getting ripped by Cincinnati's running backs we were looking at an ugly one.
Ah but that's when the ugly get going. The 2010 Super Bowl team knew how to win without a pretty day from Aaron Rodgers (remember that 9-0 win over the Jets?) Can this team do the same? All week the Packers had talked about getting more turnovers. While Morgan Burnett remains sidelined the Packers have to make plays, especially with the hole they were in. And make plays they did, starting in the late stages of the first quarter. Four possessions, four turnovers.
One was returned for a touchdown however despite great field position the Packers managed just six points off the other three takeaways. The offense just never got on track until the final drive of 70 yards. Part of the problem was pass protection with Rodgers sacked three times in the first half. It also took James Starks awhile to get going. And of course the Packers are down a weapon without Finley. As a result Rodgers finishes the first half with just 67 passing yards.
Defensively the Packers really tightened up after yielding 48 rushing yards in the first quarter. A.J. Green was nowhere to be found and with all the turnovers the Bengals found themselves out of sorts in the second quarter with just 20 rushing yards.
Turning a 14-0 early defecit into a 16-14 lead is not too shabby, all things considered. The defense did its job after the ugly start. There may have been some missed opportunities in the first half but if pass protection can hold up it's hard to see Rodgers having another bad half.