Hello everyone and welcome to the Pack Recap. In the previous weeks, we’ve explored some of the people responsible for the renaissance of the Packers franchise in the 1990’s. In the coming weeks, we will delve into their first season together, picking games that were relevant to their rise. Today, we focus on their first win of the season, Week 3 against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Coming into this game, Cincinnati was undefeated on the young season. They had a new coach and a former MVP leading the way. Green Bay, on the other hand, had not won yet. Their rookie head coach was wondering when he was going to win a game, and their quarterback was still trying to grasp the offense and recapture his form.
Early in the game, that quarterback, Don Majikowski, was injured. He had attempted just two passes with one completion when his ankle was rolled up. X-rays would later reveal no ligament damage, but his time as the Packers started was finished. Brett Favre entered the game and never looked back. But that road wasn’t without it’s bumps.
For the first quarter, neither team scored. The game was filled with miscues from both sides, with multiple fumbles and interceptions. Cincinnati got on the board with a field goal first. Leading 3-0, they would close out the quarter on a Carl Pickens punt return for a 10-0 lead. Aided by two penalties, the Packers were able to get on board before the end of the half, with the score being 10-3.
Green Bay didn’t fare much better in the third quarter as Cincinnati extended their lead 17-3 on a Boomer Esiason touchdown throw following a Brett Favre fumble. After getting a stop, though, the Packers fortunes changed. Terrell Buckley, the Packers first round draft pick, electrified the Lambeau crowd with a 58 yard punt return to pull the score to 17-10 early in the fourth quarter. Cincinnati would respond, taking the ball down the field and extending their lead with another field goal.
With about eight minutes left in the game, Brett Favre woke up. He had fumbled multiple times and had taken 5 sacks so far, had thrown for just 130 yards, and had the crowd wanting his backup, Ty Detmer, to replace him. But he showed why you could never count him out. He led Green Bay on a scoring drive, culminating in the first touchdown pass of his career, a five yarder to Sterling Sharpe. Green Bay’s defense stopped Cincinnati on the next drive, and the Bengals punted the ball back to the Packers. But Buckley, who had given the team a shot in the arm with his earlier return, almost ended up the goat when he fumbled. With 3:11 left, Cincinnati ran off two minutes of clock and kicked a field goal to extend their lead 23-17.
With 1:07 left and no timeouts, backed up on their own 8, Green Bay started their drive. Favre hit Harry Sidney for a four yard gain before unleashing a deep pass to Sterling Sharpe down the field. The 42 yard gain resulted in Sharpe being injured, but Favre hit Vince Workman for an 11 yard gain before clocking the ball at the Bengals 35 yard line. With Sharpe off the field, Green Bay called an “All Go”. Favre took the snap, moved in the pocket, pump faked, and threw a laser to Kitrick Taylor for the score with just 13 seconds left on the clock, placing it perfectly between the corner and safety. Favre ran around the field with his helmet clutched in his fist as Lambeau Field erupted. Chris Jacke kicked the extra point and Green Bay prevailed 24-23.
Honestly, this is where it all started. The groundwork that had been laid by Wolf started translating on the field. Holmgren got his first win as an NFL head coach, and Brett Favre showed he could play in the NFL. As a kid, I remember being so excited that the Packers had won in such a way. It was only one game, but it was the start of something special.
THEY SAID IT:
“I made a lot of mistakes early. The more I got hit, the easier things got. They knock all of the stupidity out of you.”
“I was scared I had thrown it halfway up in the seats. I closed my eyes and listened for the cheers, and when I heard them I knew we either scored or we’re close.”- Brett Favre
“After I caught it, I didn’t hear anything. It was a natural high.”- Kitrick Taylor
“If we would have won, it would have been the ugliest victory in 20 years in the NFL. They’re not the Packers of the ’60’s, know what I’m saying?”- Boomer Esiason
“Favre threw that pass and everything changed.”- Ron Wolf
“Two of the most beautiful passes I’ve ever seen and we win the game.”- Mike Holmgren
PACKERS STAT LEADERS
Passing- Brett Favre 22-39 289 yards 2 TD 0 INT
Receiving- Sterling Sharpe 7 Rec 109 yards 1 TD
Rushing- Vince Workman 14 Rushes 50 yards
Contributions by Bleacher Report, UPI.com, The LA Times, Packers.com. Stats provided by Profootballreference.com
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