The Green Bay Packers and the Cincinnati Bengals looked like two teams who didn’t want to win the football game on Sunday. Both teams gave the ball away four times, with the Bengals scoring 21 of their points off of the Packers four turnovers, while the Packers could only put up 13 points off of the Bengals’ four turnovers. This game was also a game full runs. The Bengals opened the game by scoring the first 14 points. The Packers then had their turn at the scoring fest, as they went on a 30-0 run. Unfortunately for the Packers, that was the last of their scoring for the game. The Bengals ended the game by scoring the last 14 points.
Both teams entered this week three bout at 1-1, and neither team wanted to leave with a losing record. The Bengals got the ball first and drove right down the field, ending in the end zone on a Giovani Bernard three yard touchdown run. The game couldn’t have started much worse for the Packers. After allowing the touchdown, return man Jeremy Ross lost the ensuing kickoff off in the sun, fumbled the ball, and the Bengals recovered the ball at the Packers two yard line. The next play, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, a.k.a. “the law firm,” ran the ball in to make it a 14-0 Bengals lead.
Right before the end of the first quarter, Packers cornerback Sam Shields, who drew the assignment of top Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green, intercepted the Andy Dalton pass and gave the Packers great field position. The Packers could not convert, and had to settle for a 41 yard Mason Crosby field goal. On the Bengals next possession, linebacker Brad Jones stripped tight end Jermaine Gresham of the football and again, the Packers had good field position, but this time had to punt the football. The Bengals next drive ended in their third straight turnover, and the Packers first touchdown of the game. Clay Matthews forced Green-Ellis to fumble the football, and M.D. Jennings scooped it up and ran it into the end zone to cut the deficit to four points.
Matthews was at it again as he forced a Dalton fumble on the Bengals next possession. But, the Packers offense could not generate any points, and Mason Crosby settled for a 19 yard field goal to make it 14-13 Bengals. The Bengals went three and out and gave the Packers offense one shot to get the lead before halftime. They drove right down the field, but again had to settle for a Crosby field goal to go into the half with a 16-14 lead.
After halftime, the Packers offense came to life and found a new offensive weapon. After starting running back James Starks went out with a knee injury, the Packers turned to rookie running back Johnathan Franklin. Franklin scored his first career touchdown on a two yard run and extended the lead to nine points. The Packers defense forced another punt, and this time, the offense delivered. Aaron Rodgers connected with James Jones to give the Packers a 16 point lead and cap a 30-0 scoring run.
That would be the last of the Packers scoring for the day. After Dalton hit Green for a touchdown, the Bengals defense did its part to get back into the game. Cornerback Lion Hall intercepted Rodgers at the Bengals’ five yard line, shifting the momentum in favor of the home team. Dalton threw another touchdown pass, but the Packers blocked the extra point to keep the Packers lead at three. Then came the drive of the game. Rodgers and the offense drove the ball into Bengals territory, and had a fourth and one with a chance to put one nail in the coffin. The ball was handed to Franklin, who tried to leap the massive pile at the first down mark. Franklin was stripped of the ball, which was eventually recovered by Terrance Newman and returned for a go ahead touchdown.
The Packers could not answer on their next drive, and the Bengals held on for the four point victory. The Packers fell to 1-2, and head into their much needed bye week. Aside from Starks injury, the Packers can use this bye week to also heal Franklin, tight end Jermichael Finley, and running back Eddie Lacy, who was out after suffering a concussion last week against the Washington Redskins. Franklin got hurt before the Packers final drive, leaving the team without any healthy running backs. Finley suffered a concussion early on in the first quarter and did not return to the game. The good news for the Packers is that they started 1-2 last season and won the division title. This week will be a week of recovery for the Packers as they begin divisional play in two weeks.