The defensive game plan for the Cincinnati Bengals against the Green Bay Packers was simple. The first part was to win the battle up front as Bengals’ safety George Ikola says:
“Our game plan was to cover and let the defensive line make sacks”
The Green Bay Packers offensive line was a sieve against the Bengals. The pocket consistently collapsed on Aaron Rodgers, causing four sacks and eight quarterback hits. This atrocious play was caused by the offensive line simply being driven back into the quarterback.
The second part was to press the receivers so Aaron Rodgers had to hold onto the ball a bit longer than he wanted to. It had a great effect on Packers’ wideouts as Pacman Jones explains:
“Jordy, he really don’t like to be touched. 89 (James Jones) is more physical. He’s real good in the red zone pushing on your hips. All three are good receivers … Press. Press. Press. Every (explicit) play you better be up there at the line. The ones we didn’t press are the only times they caught their little balls. Every time we pressed we had a pretty good night.”
Both offensive line and wide receivers could not match the physicality of the Bengals defense.
What’s even more scary is this formula is the same that other teams have used to beat the Packers in the past. The 49ers, Giants, and Chicago Bears all played a similar defense. They need to come up with an answer fast or it will be a long season.