One by one, the Green Bay Packers' defensive linemen took turns crashing Carl Pickens' party.
Reggie White and Company stymied quarterback Neil O'Donnell--the NFL's most accurate passer after the first two weeks--and helped keep running back Corey Dillon in check in the Packers' 13-6 victory on Sunday over the Cincinnati Bengals.
When O'Donnell's final pass sailed out of bounds, Pickens stood at the 33-yard line, arms outstretched in exasperation. The receiver had boasted during the week that the Bengals would win the game and throw a big party the next day.
White, Santana Dotson, Gilbert Brown and Vonnie Holiday canceled those plans by helping the Packers (3-0) hold the Bengals (1-2) to 160 total yards. Pickens had six catches for 58 yards, but no big plays and nothing to say afterward.
"His pickin' wasn't too good," Packer safety Darren Sharper said. "All that talking doesn't mean nothing to us."
The Packers improved to 3-0 for the second time in three years--they also opened with three wins in their Super Bowl season of 1996--even though their offense struggled without injured running back Dorsey Levens, who suffered a broken leg last week against Tampa Bay.
Brett Favre threw a first-quarter touchdown pass, extending his streak to 17 consecutive games with at least one. O'Donnell, who came into the game with a 72% completion rate that was best in the NFL, completed only 16 of 30 passes for 151 yards and was sacked three times. The Packers dropped two potential interceptions and had another nullified by penalty.
"Our defensive line basically took the game over," linebacker Brian Williams said. "We had to cover our guys for a split second and then the defensive line was in the backfield chasing O'Donnell all over."
The Packer defense also held Dillon to 28 yards in 16 carries and kept the Bengals from getting a touchdown when they had first-and-goal from the 4 just before halftime.