Friday, September 18, 2009

Bengals-Packers Have History of Fun: Top 5 Games in Series

Bengals and Packers fans, grab a cup of coffee, your crack pipe, a mango or whatever you like to read with and get ready to relive the most exciting five games in series history.

And yes, you will read about the birth of Brett Favre. Not his real birth of course, but his metaphorical football birth.

Also, I was Greg Gall last halloween, if you don't know who he is, punch yourself in the face and skip straight to number two on this list

Alright, without further ado, let's take a closer look at the all-time Cincinnati-Green Bay series.

Fact to impress drunk people with: Most Packers fans know this, but Bengals fans might not. From 1953-1994, the Packers played up to three home games per year in Milwaukee. The Bengals are 2-0 in trips to Milwaukee.

All-time series: Tied 5-5*

* = will be 6-5 Bengals after Sunday

Let's start the countdown.

5. Oct. 3, 1971, at Green Bay

The very first game in the Bengals-Packers series was a good one. Dan Devine, in his first season as Packers head coach, watched his team jump out to a 10-0 lead.

However, the Bengals jumped right back into the game thanks to a 65-yard interception return for a touchdown by defensive back Lemar Parrish.

At halftime, Bengals coach Paul Brown decided that starting quarterback Virgil Carter was a talentless hack, so he replaced him with rookie Kenny Anderson (Reason number 9,474 why Paul Brown is brilliant).

Anderson would throw the first touchdown pass of his storied career in the fourth quarter to wide receiver Eric Crabtree, but it wouldn't be enough.

Devine would spend four years with the Packers before leaving for Notre Dame where he single-handedly almost made sure Rudy's storied one-play career never happened. Dan Devine can go to hell, I'm Rudy chanting my nephew to bed tonight.

Result: Green Bay 20, Cincinnati 17

4. Oct. 5, 1986, at Milwaukee

This game had then Packers coach Forrest Gregg emotionally torn. The 1986 meeting marked the first time that Gregg had faced off against the Bengals since leaving the organization after the 1983 season to take the Packers job. (We will not be making fun of Gregg because we love him in Cincinnati).

When Gregg left Cincinnati, he was only two seasons removed from guiding the Bengals to Super Bowl XVI.

The Packers came into the game 0-4 (many think the 1986 team was one of the worst in Packers history) and really shouldn't have been any sort of match for the high-flying Bengals. At the beginning of the game, they weren't.

Behind three touchdown passes from Boomer Esiason, two of which went to Cris Collinsworth, the Bengals jumped out to a 34-14 lead. Seriously, highlights from this game should be the intro to both the NBC Sunday night game (Collinsworth) and the CBS studio show (Esiason). Esiason to Collinsworth touchdown passes should be dubbed over with Gus Johnson's announcing.

Anyway, the Packers would score two late touchdowns, but they wouldn't be able to get the big win for the always emotional Gregg.

Result: Cincinnati 34, Green Bay 28

3. Oct. 5, 1980, at Green Bay

Once again, Forrest Gregg is the story. However, this time, it's because he's the Bengals coach.

The 1980 game represented the first time Gregg, who was a legendary lineman for the Packers in the 1960's, returned to Green Bay as a coach to face the team he once played for (Gregg coached the Browns from 1975-77, but never faced the Packers).

Once again, Gregg's team didn't come out on top. Kenny Anderson threw two interceptions. Bengals Hall-of-Fame left tackle Anthony Munoz caught his first career pass but got dropped for a six-yard loss.

And to make things worse, Munoz didn't even have the worst stat line among receivers. Fullback Nathan Poole took that honor as he managed one catch for negative seven yards.

Kicker Ian Sunter (20, 34, 31) would score all of Cincinnati's points, but the difference in the game proved to be Packer quarterback Lynn Dickey, who threw two touchdown passes, one of which went to James Lofton.

Bottom line: both teams sucked in 1980 (Bengals 6-10, Packers 5-10-1), this game is only on the list because of Forrest Gregg.

Result: Green Bay 14, Cincinnati 9

2. Oct. 20, 2005, at Cincinnati

No self-loving Packers or Bengals fan will forget this game any time soon. Brett Favre threw five interceptions, got stripped by a Bengals fan, and still almost willed his team to a win.

Favre's five-pick performance wasn't completely out of character considering he was in the middle of one of his worst seasons as a pro.

Not to mention the Bengals had picked off both Daunte Culpepper (Vikings) and Kyle Orton (Bears) five times earlier in the season (the Bengals were the first team since the 1970 Chiefs to have five interceptions in three different games).

The biggest shocker of the game came with under two minutes left in the fourth quarter. As the Packers were driving to tie, Bengals fan Greg Gall ran out of the stands and onto the field. He didn't stop there though, Gall ran right up to Favre and took the ball out of the right hand of the startled superstar.

After Gall gets the ball from Favre, we get an example of how pathetic Mike Brown's scouting department really is: some BENGALS SECURITY GUY who hits harder than Mike Singletary did in his prime, takes Gall down with a blow that made my head and my liver hurt. The security guy should have been signed three hours later, no questions asked.

Anyway, thanks to the smart-thinking fan, the Bengals defense caught a breather and kept Favre and his offensive friends out of the end zone.

Carson Palmer's three touchdown passes would end up being just enough for the win.

Result: Cincinnati 21, Green Bay 14

1. Sept. 20, 1992, at Green Bay

Where did the legend of Brett Favre begin? It all started on a sunny September day in 1992 against the 2-0 Cincinnati Bengals.

Packers fans, this game is the genesis of the Brett Favre bible, the first step in his soon to be Hall-of-Fame career.

This game was also a crossroads for both franchises. The Bengals came into the week three game undefeated, while the Packers were 0-2.

As the game headed into the fourth quarter, 33-year-old rookie Bengals coach Dave Shula looked like a boy genius. He was only minutes away from starting his coaching career 3-0.

On the other sideline was Packers first-year head coach Mike Holmgren. The Packers had gone 4-12 the year before Holmgren's arrival and an 0-3 start just might have been enough to put him on the hot seat.

Fast forward to the fourth quarter.

Bengals kicker Jim Breech nails a 41-yard field goal with 1:11 showing on the clock, his second one of the fourth quarter, and it puts his team up 23-17.

The kick is huge for one reason; if he had missed, the Bengals would have been up 20-17 and a rookie head coach (Holmgren) desperate for his first win would have surely played for a tie.

As it is though, the Packers know they need a touchdown or the games over.

Favre is in an impossible situation (think Davey Crockett at the Alamo, except give the Mexicans three tanks, 12 machine guns and a surface-to-air missile); with 1:07 left, he's on his own eight-yard line with no timeouts knowing he needs a touchdown to win.

Right off the bat, Favre hits Sterling Sharpe for a 42-yard gain that has the cheeseheads at Lambeau going crazy. However, Sharpe would injure himself on the play and have to leave the game.

Undeterred, the Packers run two more plays that advance them to the Bengals 35-yard line. From there... Favre retires for the first time, everyone cheers, the Bengals go 3-0, Holmgren is fired, Boomer Esiason is named best football player ever...

OK, that's not what happened...

From there...

Favre splits the Bengals corner and safety with a 35-yard laser down the right sideline. Kitrick Taylor catches the ball in full stride at the two-yard line and walks into the end zone. Chris Jacke completed the improbable comeback with the PAT. By the way, Favre was making his first hold of the season on the PAT and no one in Lambeau seemed worried that Jacke would miss it, that only happens in Cincinnati.

Even more improbable, Taylor would only catch two passes on the season, one of which was the aforementioned touchdown.

As for Bengals fans, it was a nightmare relived because it wasn't the first time a quarterback finished a 92-yard game-winning drive with a touchdown pass to somebody named Taylor (see Super Bowl XXIII).

This is the game that Dave Shula thinks about before he goes to bed every night.

Post game interview with Brett Favre which is even more priceless because OJ Simpson is in the studio with Bob Costas.

Result: Green Bay 24, Cincinnati 23

No comments:

Post a Comment