In honor of Halloween, I have decided to do one of the horror stories in Packers history.
The 1983 Green Bay Packers were led by the once powerful quarterback, not so powerful coach Bart Starr. Lynn Dickey was in his eleventh season, but at the helm of an aerial assault involving wide receivers James Lofton, John Jefferson, and tight end Paul Coffman. They did not, however, have the defense to match it. They had an 8-8 record in 1981, followed by a 5-3-1 record in strike shortened 1982. So far in 1983, they were 4-4, going into Cincinnati.
The Bengals stood at a lowly 2-6 on the year under the guidance of Starr's former teammate Forrest Gregg. Quarterback Ken Anderson had gone down against the Pittsburgh Steelers 3 weeks prior, and the team looked to fourth year man Turk Schonert to guide them. Momentum was on his side though! He had won the week previous against the Browns.
Things would start bad and only get worse for the Pack. Lofton would leave the game early, with never having made a catch. Dickey would be limited to 242 yards, only one touchdown passing (to Coffman), one he took in himself, and two interceptions, plus be sacked four times for 32 yards. The rushing attack would only get 73 yards, 60 by running back Gerry Ellis.
The Bengals would have their way with Green Bay. The passing of Schonert would be flawless, throwing 244 yards for two touchdowns, one to receiver turned announcer Cris Collinsworth, and the other to wide receiver Steve Kreider.
What would set the teams apart would be the Cinncinati's exploitation of the Packers rush defense, that would finish 26th in the league that year. The team of running backs Pete Johnson, Stanley Wilson, and the "Mike Vick like" Schonert would rush for 112, 84, and 21 yards respectively, making up the other 3 touchdowns in this 34-14 routing.
Despite the loss, the Packers would still finish 8-8, but miss the playoffs, leading to the release of Bart Starr. The Bengals would end 7-9, also leading to the demise of their head coach. Do I have to say where coach Forrest Gregg would land?
The Pack would be 8-8 the following year too. The first year of the "Gregg era".