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Game Notes: Clifton Injury Leads to Re-Shuffled Line

Head Coach Mike McCarthy said Friday that he wouldn’t be surprised if backup center Scott Wells still played a lot of football for the Packers this season, and Wells’ first opportunity to do so came Sunday afternoon when starting left tackle Chad Clifton went down with an ankle injury on the Packers’ first offensive play of the third quarter. - More Packers-Bengals Game Center


Head Coach Mike McCarthy said Friday that he wouldn't be surprised if backup center Scott Wells still played a lot of football for the Packers this season, and Wells' first opportunity to do so came Sunday afternoon when starting left tackle Chad Clifton went down with an ankle injury on the Packers' first offensive play of the third quarter.

McCarthy said after the game that X-rays on Clifton's ankle were negative, but did not give any long-term prognosis on his status.

With Clifton sidelined, the Packers were forced to shuffle the offensive line. With Wells entering the game at center, starting left guard Daryn Colledge assumed Clifton's duties at left tackle and starting center Jason Spitz moved over to left guard.

"We feel like we have six starters with Scotty being a guy who has played for us in a number of games and has done a good job," Rodgers said. "We feel confident with Daryn as well at left tackle. He played there last year. I think it was in (Tennessee) when (Clifton) was out.

"We're confident in those guys. We just need to do a better job as a whole, even myself and the guys up front."

Rodgers was sacked six times on the afternoon, as the Packers allowed the most sacks in a game since Brett Favre was sacked eight times at Tampa Bay on Dec. 7, 1998, in a 24-22 loss.

Bengals defensive end Antwan Odom led the way, finishing with five sacks to become the first opposing player to do so in a game against the Packers since sacks became an official NFL statistic in 1982. The previous record by an opposing player was four sacks, held by two Minnesota Vikings in Doug Martin (Oct. 23, 1983) and Keith Millard (Oct. 15, 1989).

"(Odom's) a good player, but we've got to protect better, myself included," Rodgers said. "I've got to make sure we're all on the same page with the declaration. I felt like I wasn't holding it too long, but maybe I was a tick long and I've got to get to the checkdowns."

Four of Odom's sacks came in the second half when Colledge was lined up across from him at left tackle.

"It was more technique errors on my part," Colledge said. "It wasn't anything they did special. He played his technique and I didn't play mine, and he beat me."

Clifton wasn't the only starter to leave the game as free safety Nick Collins sustained an injury to his chest on a tackle of wide receiver Laveranues Coles midway through the second quarter. Collins did not return, with Jarrett Bush taking over at his spot the remainder of the afternoon, but McCarthy did not have any further update on Collins' status following the game.

With starting strong safety Atari Bigby sidelined at least four weeks with a knee injury that he suffered in Week 1 vs. Chicago, the Packers are down to just three healthy safeties in Bush, Aaron Rouse, and Derrick Martin, who was acquired in a trade a week before the season opener.

"That's what you practice for," cornerback Charles Woodson said. "Everybody gets reps in practice, so everybody is here in the NFL and we expect you to be able to play when you go in. But that's a tough deal to have two guys go down that you expect being your starters for a whole season, especially as good as those guys are.

"But there ain't no time to cry for this team now. We have to go out and play football, and whoever's in there has to step it up and play at the level the rest of the team expects him to play at."

All good things...

For the first time in his three-plus-year career, wide receiver Greg Jennings did not catch a pass on Sunday. It snapped a streak of 44 consecutive games with a reception for Jennings.

"They were rolling a safety to his side a lot," Rodgers said. "We tried to get him the ball at different points and just weren't very successful doing that.

"They had a good job and had a good scheme. (Leon) Hall is a good corner, but we still like that matchup. He and I were just a little bit off today."

Running man

Rodgers put up career-best numbers on the ground Sunday, rushing for 43 yards on four carries, as he finished second on the team in rushing to Ryan Grant.

Rodgers posted three runs of 10-plus yards, with a long of 16. His previous career best was 36 yards on eight carries last season at New Orleans on Nov. 24.

{sportsad300}Making the jump

Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco said on Wednesday during a conference call with Wisconsin reporters that he would do the "Lambeau Leap" and jump into the stands if he scored a touchdown on Sunday.

Ochocinco followed through on that promise when he scored on a 13-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter that put the Bengals up for good at 28-21. After he scored, he originally ran toward the back of the end zone, but then set his sights further up the sideline and jumped into the front row where a few Bengals fans were sitting.

"It was fun," Ochocinco said. "I had a little indecision about where to jump at first. I didn't want to disrespect their tradition so I was asking as I went along the line and found some Bengals fans that said it was OK.

"I respect the Packers and what they have going on with the leap, so that's why I did it that way."

Injury/participation update

The only other injury McCarthy reported following the game was tight end Donald Lee, who got the wind knocked out of him late in the contest and did not return.

Rookie defensive end B.J. Raji was inactive for the second straight game with an ankle injury sustained in the preseason finale at Tennessee. The Packers' other inactives were Bigby and running back Brandon Jackson, out due to an ankle injury.

Green Bay's remaining inactives were cornerback Brandon Underwood, fullback Quinn Johnson, linebacker Brad Jones, guard/center Evan Dietrich-Smith and tackle Breno Giacomini, all healthy scratches.

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