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Notebook: Bengals In Bounce-Back Mode

The Packers certainly had their share of heartbreaking defeats in 2008. Field goals that were missed or blocked in the last 30 seconds. Field goals made by the opponents as time expired or in overtime. Interceptions thrown in the final minutes. But nothing the Packers went through last year in any one game could match how the Cincinnati Bengals started their 2009 season last week. - More Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Sept. 17


Denver WR Brandon Stokley celebrates his game-winning touchdown last Sunday in Cincinnati with just 11 seconds left.

The Green Bay Packers certainly had their share of heartbreaking defeats in 2008. Field goals that were missed or blocked in the last 30 seconds. Field goals made by the opponents as time expired or in overtime. Interceptions thrown in the final minutes.

But nothing the Packers went through last year in any one game could match how the Cincinnati Bengals started their 2009 season last week. Leading 7-6 after a 91-yard touchdown drive, the Bengals had the Denver Broncos on their own 13-yard line with 28 seconds left when the unthinkable happened.

As Denver quarterback Kyle Orton tried to rifle a pass to the left sideline to Brandon Marshall, Cincinnati cornerback Leon Hall jumped up and deflected the ball. Unfortunately, though, the ball caromed back toward the field of play rather than out of bounds, and Denver's Brandon Stokley caught the tip in stride and raced 87 yards untouched for the game-winning score with 11 seconds left.

It was the longest scoring play in the final minute of the fourth quarter of any game in NFL history, and one of the flukiest.

"That's the toughest way I've lost in real life and on a video game," Cincinnati receiver Chad Ochocinco said. "I've never seen anything like that before. That was ridiculous. Lucky play, lucky bounce. You just have to come back strong."

That's what the Packers will be facing on Sunday, a team determined to prove it deserved a better fate. Cincinnati head coach Marvin Lewis said as much, emphasizing that he's not going to let his players wallow in self-pity with so much season left to play.

"I don't think there is a hangover," Lewis said. "I've never experienced a hangover from that. That would be from guys that don't expect to win. I don't think there's any residual other than the fact that we didn't win. I'd rather lose that way than get my head kicked in. We'll be ready to go."

The Packers sort of know the feeling and know the resolve it can generate. Last year after a tough 27-24 home defeat to Atlanta, Green Bay came back to post convincing back-to-back wins over Seattle and Indianapolis.

Then after an overtime loss at then-unbeaten Tennessee and a one-point loss to Minnesota on a missed field goal, the Packers rebounded to blast the NFC North rival Chicago Bears 37-3. Only when the season wore on and injuries wore down the team were the Packers unable to stem the tide of the painful defeats.

But this is September. It's only Week 2.

Meanwhile, the Packers feel they have to bounce back as well, after a lackluster offensive showing in the season opener was saved only by a 50-yard TD pass with a little over a minute left.

"I have a feeling they'll be red hot," guard Daryn Colledge said of the Bengals. "And it's a great comeback game for us after playing a Chicago. It's a chance for us to prove ourselves.

"Everybody's been there, everybody knows what it feels like to lose that game at the very end. Nobody wants that feeling again."

Least of all the Bengals, at the moment anyway.

"Anytime you have adversity like that, you get a chance to see the character of the team, and I imagine they're just like us in this locker room," linebacker Aaron Kampman said. "If something happens like that, you face adversity, you want to come back and have a positive, so I'm sure we'll see their best."

Distant replay

When linebacker Brandon Chillar leaped over Chicago running back Garrett Wolfe to sack Jay Cutler last Sunday night, it wasn't the first time he had hurdled a would-be blocker to get to the quarterback.

Chillar said he made the very same type of play in the final game of his sophomore season at UCLA against Arizona State in 2001. Chillar had a sack for a 10-yard loss in that game, as well as an interception.

While the athletic, highlight-reel move looked amazingly instinctive, Chillar explained he was totally prepared to do it after studying film. He had seen that when the Bears ran a certain play, the running back would take out any potential rusher in his area with a cut-block below the waist.

So Chillar just went airborne, kept his balance when he landed and tracked down Cutler for a 2-yard loss.

"It was kind of pre-determined," Chillar said. "I saw the formation and Sunday night I tried to make a play, went for it, and it all worked out."

Ready for redemption

As has been well-documented, Allen Barbre's first NFL start did not go well Sunday night against Chicago, and the Packers' new right tackle is more than aware he's made himself a target for opposing pass rushers after allowing two sacks plus additional quarterback hits to the Bears' Adewale Ogunleye.

"They've probably said some things (that) they can exploit me and what-not," Barbre said of the Bengals. "But if I go out there and play the technique, I feel like I can beat anybody.

"I don't think I lost confidence in myself. I just have to go out there and study the film, fix a few technique things and get out there and play. I feel fine and I'm ready to go."

The coaching staff has noted that Barbre's struggles had nothing to do with assignments or scheme but had everything to do with technique and fundamentals. That makes the mistakes more correctable, but also all the more frustrating because after a full training camp and four preseason games, the coaching staff needs to be able to count on the fundamentals being in place.

"I'm looking forward to getting out there and showing what I can do," Barbre said. "Prove to them I can do it and leave no doubt."

Looking for first action

Nose tackle B.J. Raji, who missed the season opener with an ankle injury, made it all the way through Thursday's full-pads practice, a good sign he'll be able to play in Sunday's game.

Raji said his ankle, which he injured in the preseason finale at Tennessee on Sept. 3, is feeling the best it has felt since then, and with almost 72 more hours to go before kickoff, he expects it to get better.

{sportsad300}"I'm definitely anxious, but I'm learning to control my emotions, and trying not to get too excited today," Raji said. "I was told today was a pretty pivotal day, showing the coaches I can go. It's the last day in pads (this week), so I tried to show the coaches I can play and move around."

Assuming Raji is available against Cincinnati, he could serve as a swing player at both end and nose on the defensive line, backing up ends Cullen Jenkins and Johnny Jolly as well as nose tackle Ryan Pickett. He could also be used as one of two down linemen to rush the passer in the nickel package.

"Last week the guys did great," Raji said. "I think we combined for close to 20 tackles (18 to be exact) from three defensive linemen. That's outstanding. So hopefully I can come in and bring some of that same playmaking ability."

Injury/participation update

Colledge left practice on Thursday with what Head Coach Mike McCarthy termed a "foot sprain." The extent of the injury wasn't immediately known, but McCarthy said he didn't think it was serious. Colledge was added to the injury report as a limited participant.

The rest of the Packers' injury report remained the same as Wednesday. Kicker Mason Crosby (abdominal) and receiver Greg Jennings (wrist) were limited, while Raji (ankle) and cornerback/returner Will Blackmon (quad) were full participants.

Running back Brandon Jackson (ankle) did not participate, and safety Atari Bigby (knee) is out this week.

For the Bengals, cornerback David Jones (foot) and offensive tackle Andre Smith (foot) are out, backup quarterback Jordan Palmer (illness) and guard Nate Livings (knee) did not participate, running back Brian Leonard (chest) was a limited participant, and tackle Scott Kooistra (knee) was a full participant.

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