Packers Preseason Analysis versus Bengals
The Green Bay Packers have not finished a preseason with an 0-4 record since 1978 and it will stay that way for at least another season.
Green Bay (1-2) defeated the Cincinnati Bengals (2-1) 27-13 on Thursday evening in a game in which most starters played the first half. The Packers jumped out to an early 14-0 lead behind two impressive scoring drives and a defense that was able to get a consistent pass rush. There were many positives to take from Preseason Game 3.
The second series of action for both the offense and the defense was excellent. After completing three of four passes on the drive for 45 yards, Aaron Rodgers found the end zone on a 12-yard scamper to begin the scoring. The defense then turned on the pressure on quarterback Andy Dalton. On second down, Nick Perry nearly came away with a sack after pressuring Dalton out of the pocket and forcing an incomplete pass. Then Clay Matthews got to the passer for the sack on third down, along with a slew of Packer defensive lineman, to culminate a solid series.
Cedric Benson suited up for the first time as a Packer and showed great burst in between the tackles. Benson rushed for 17 yards combined on his first two carries and finished with six carries for 38 yards. Meanwhile, Green Bay rushed for a total of 184 yards as a team – a significant improvement for its rushing attack.
Rodgers baffled the Bengals with his own running, sidestepping defensive lineman for 52 yards and a pair of scores on six carries.
The intensity that Clay Matthews brings to the Green Bay defense is unmatched. On a third down play in the first quarter, Matthews was relentless in bringing down a ballcarrier short of the first down. He then went on to add a sack on a later third down play and also batted down a pass at the line of scrimmage.
Some of that passion that Matthews displays has a way of rubbing off on his teammates. Facing a first and goal from the one-yard line, the Packers defense stood tall and forced a field goal. M.D. Jennings made a solid play in the backfield to take down the ballcarrier for a two yard loss on second down before Erik Walden, one of several rush linebackers hoping to keep a spot on the team, came untouched off the edge and dropped Dalton for a sack on third and goal.
Marshall Newhouse, who has seemingly been given the starting left tackle job by default this training camp, did not start off the game well. On a 3rd and 5, Newhouse was called for a false start and then was guilty of holding on the very next play when he was beat immediately off of the snap. Newhouse’s inconsistency has to be of concern heading into the regular season.
Hopefully, the second quarter was not a sign of a repeat “bend-but-don’t-break” for the first team defense in 2012. Cincinnati was able to move the ball at ease on their first possession of the second quarter to set up a Mike Nugent field goal and then was able to get another field goal after the Packers’ defense allowed the Bengals to march down the field off of Rodgers’ interception.
Packer fans cannot have much faith in Green Bay to win games this season if Rodgers is lost to injury. Graham Harrell was unimpressive for the third straight game and continued to struggle with his accuracy, especially on passes longer than 10 yards. He finished only 4 of 10 for a mere 15 yards.