Game-Changing Play of the Week: Bengals Opt to Kick on 4th and 1

The game hinged on field goals... specifically, missed ones.

That was one of the weirdest football games I've ever watched.

Picking a Game-Changing Play of the Week proved to be a difficult task. It felt like every time such a play occurred, a missed field goal rendered it meaningless. So ultimately, the only real choice for me was the Bengals' decision to go for the game-winning field goal (a relatively long one) on fourth and one instead of going for the first down.

What a close call. It literally hits the flag, scraping the outside of the upright! Had it been a bit closer there's a chance this kick would have gone in and the vibe among Packer fans would be very different today.

Had the Packers' defense not been playing so well in short yardage situations earlier in the game, there's a chance Bengals coach Zac Taylor makes a different choice. But on two separate occasions, the defense held strong on third and one. 

It was pretty hilarious to watch the Bengals celebrate like they'd just won the game, only to have their hopes dashed.

Utlimately, while this might not be a win you feel *great* about as a fan, it's still a quality win, given the circumstances. You're missing four of your best players plus other crucial role players, playing on the road against a solid up-and-coming team with good momentum. Almost nothing goes right, including your kicker who hasn't missed a field goal in two years suddenly self-immolating. 

This is about as ugly as a win gets, but it's an important one. At 4-1, the Packers are still very much in the early running for top conference positioning and are in the driver's seat in the NFC North (with a chance to gain some distance in Chicago next Sunday). 

Hopefully the Packers are able to get a bit healthier soon and clean up some of the issues that plagued their performance this week. But for now, you take the win and make no apologies.

__________________________

Tim Backes is a lifelong Packer fan and a contributor to CheeseheadTV. Follow him on Twitter @timbackes for his Packer takes, random musings and Untappd beer check-ins.

4 points

Comments (21)

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HarryHodag's picture

October 11, 2021 at 05:45 pm

A win is a win. If the Packers win 3-0 or 60-59 it's still a win. I likened the game to a match between two heavyweight fighters, each delivering a knockout punch only to be drilled by the other fighter. I'm impressed with the progress the ever-cheap Bengals have made.

Most national media dopes ignored the Packers injury plight. Across the offensive line(protecting the HOF QB) was a free agent who many thought wasn't going to make the team at left tackle, a second-year back up guard, a guard filling in for the rookie center, a rookie right guard and the only player playing his natural position, Turner. Yet with those changes Aaron Rodgers racks up a big day passing and Jones a big day running. Remarkable. Also missing was MVS, who creates problems for a defense.

Missing on defense is an All-Pro in Z. Smith, and another All-Pro in Alexander.
Not many teams would withstand that many top players out of action.

The Packers are yet to run with their top offensive line and still they're 4-1.

One unpleasant surprise was Bojorquez, an outstanding punter who is being coached by the special teams staff to go from being very good to shanking it like the guy before him. Packers special teams are the black hole of football and they need a good sage session to drive away the evil spirits.

This team is being held together by Band-Aids and bailing wire and they need one more max effort to beat an improving Bears team.

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Todd's picture

October 11, 2021 at 06:50 pm

“A win is a win.” You said it, Harry, and last time I checked, winning is a lot funner than losing. Will take the W any day over a L.

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jlc1's picture

October 12, 2021 at 10:37 am

If I recall correctly Bojo had both the longest and shortest punts in the NFL last year. So the occasional misfire seems to be part of the package there. Just like a FG kicker.

1 points
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mjbrogno's picture

October 11, 2021 at 05:49 pm

Fix the problem with the field goal unit. The unit dodged a bullet with the winning kick against the 49ers. It was quite obvious that Crosby was rushing his kicks to avoid the the pressure coming from his right. We were lucky that the blocked field goal in the Steeler game was nullified. What’s confusing is what is it going to take to fix the problem. I just read that the coaching staff has addressed the problem and thought it was corrected, but it has not be fixed. C’mom wake up and deal with it, I’m tired of watching our special teams play destroy our season(s).

10 points
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Starrbrite's picture

October 11, 2021 at 06:41 pm

I think you make an excellent point—when, if ever, is our special teams going to be a positive difference maker…and I’m not speaking about Crosby or Bojorquez.

3 points
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Packers0808's picture

October 11, 2021 at 06:41 pm

It would behoove these ST coaches if they aren't replaced to go outside of their team and get some help to solve this. Nothing is working which is quite obvious!

4 points
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Lphill's picture

October 11, 2021 at 06:09 pm

We can exhale now and laugh but this is not the kind of game to lose , that would have been an awful feeling , I personally just lost 2 family members on the same day and my 18 year old dog 2 days prior , not a good week for me the game was an escape from overwhelming sadness.

4 points
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Starrbrite's picture

October 11, 2021 at 06:43 pm

Deeply sorry for your loss Lphill.

5 points
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PatrickGB's picture

October 11, 2021 at 09:23 pm

As am I.

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CheesyTex's picture

October 11, 2021 at 06:48 pm

Wish I were able to give words of consolation Lphill, but last week sounds about as bad as it gets. Props to you for carrying on.

2 points
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Since'61's picture

October 12, 2021 at 09:09 am

Lp - sorry to hear about your multiple losses. It will take time but it will get better. Stay strong and be well.
Since '61

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LambeauPlain's picture

October 12, 2021 at 12:04 pm

Deepest sympathies to you Lphill. I have lost close family over the last 3 years, one after another. But to have those losses so compressed must make you numb. God Bless and Comfort you during difficult times.

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Starrbrite's picture

October 11, 2021 at 06:48 pm

IMO, during the last couple games we’ve had a chance to make it a blow-out. If we have the fortune of becoming healthy, I say—watch out!!

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joejetson's picture

October 11, 2021 at 08:16 pm

I thought the game.changing play was the long TD they gave.up right before the half. They had been playing solid football and built a nice lead. Then, inexplicably they appeared to rush four, but the two ends dropped back into coverage. So now they only have two guys rushing, giving Burrow all day to find his best receiver, somehow with single coverage. Major strategic error. Lets Cincy right back into the game, with them receiving the second half kickoff. Lady Luck smiled upon them with the bizarre finish. But, it's a win. Lucky, but a win.

4 points
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packer132's picture

October 11, 2021 at 08:39 pm

LaFleur said the defense reacted to a check down by Burrow. Its a call used by the Packers offense but obviously not by the Bengals. He said the defense dropped two back into coverage, so no pressure on the QB. This has happened too often with the Packers though. They can't give up a touchdown in the last two minutes of the half. Packers also need to get touchdowns with 1st down from the 5 and 1st down from the 17 yard line. A win is a win. GPG

4 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

October 13, 2021 at 10:44 am

No excuse for poor communication and execution when it's time to shut down the first half. This should have been cleaned up after the King fiasco in the NFC CH game.

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joejetson's picture

October 11, 2021 at 08:29 pm

The other game changing play, for me personally (watching the game on Fox 14 in El Paso,TX) was when they cut away right before the Packer's game winning field goal to make sure noone missed the riviting opening kickoff of the Dallas game. So I didn't know if he missed another one or won the game until a few minutes later.

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Packers0808's picture

October 11, 2021 at 08:29 pm

just see Gruden fired by Raiders for more emails and racism found over last 7 year period on many ways beside just racism. Said when the racism thing about NFLP rep came up Gruden was done and would be fired.

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Crankbait's picture

October 11, 2021 at 10:34 pm

He should be fired for losing to the Bears.

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LambeauPlain's picture

October 12, 2021 at 12:14 pm

Just another reminder, that after a busy day at the (ESPN) office, and you come home to unwind with a few (probably several) adult beverages, stay off emails and blogs.

What Gruden wrote to close friends was despicable in several cases. He was ranting angrily, then would attack the subjects of his anger with terrible slurs.

Roger Goodell tolerates far worse in players, sponsors, SB Halftime performers...but Gruden is in a leadership position and made the right decision. Double indemnity is he will not be welcomed back as an ESPN analyst. His NFL career is over.

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Barazinho's picture

October 12, 2021 at 12:56 pm

Crosby said the wind was weird on that end of the field, that it pushed his end-of-regulation kick in the same direction (and some warmup kicks for both kickers). The Cincy kick looked like it started towards the middle, and then drifted. That might explain why the kicking team thought it was good. It's weird because the flag showed almost no wind too.

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