Never in my life have four hours and 18 minutes featured such an emotional roller coaster during a Bengals game. Not like that. It was a sloppy, turnover-filled contest that ended with frayed nerves and a Bengals 34-30 win over the Green Bay Packers. It was the first game in which a team led by 14 points, only to face a 16-point deficit in the same game, then win the game by four points.
If we detailed the entire game, it would be a book similar to a J.R.R. Tolkien library.
It was a beautiful opening for Cincinnati's offense, stringing together an 80-yard touchdown drive that was capped on a Giovani Bernard touchdown run. Bernard finished with 99 yards from scrimmage, with 50 yards on the ground.
On the ensuing kickoff return, Green Bay Packers returner Jeremy Ross let the football slip through his fingers. Taylor Mays emerged from the scrum with the football at Cincinnati's two-yard line, where BenJarvus Green-Ellis pounded the football into the endzone to give Cincinnati a 14-0 lead within the first six minutes of the game.
Unfortunately, the Bengals faced serious adversity with four consecutive turnovers while failing to record a first down from the three minute mark in the first quarter until early in the fourth period.
In the meantime, the Bengals defense became heroes in an extremely sloppy game. The Packers generated only 100 yards on offense in the first half, including one of seven on third downs. Burfict led the team with 11 stops and Aaron Rodgers was sacked four times, led by Michael Johnson with 1.5 stops and four hits on the quarterback. Carlos Dunlap added another sack, two tackles for loss, two additional hits on the quarterback and two passes deflected at the line of scrimmage.
After taking a 30-14 lead midway through the third quarter, Terence Newman and Leon Hall intercepted Aaron Rodgers on consecutive possessions inside the Bengals 30-yard line. So not only did the Bengals prevent the Packers from scoring, they forced two turnovers; the latter leading to an A.J. Green touchdown reception.
But the most amazing play of the game (of the week)... (of the century), occurred late in the fourth quarter.
The Green Bay Packers have third and 12 from their Bengals 41-yard line with over four minutes remaining in the game and a 30-27 lead. If the Packers convert, then they'll have an opportunity to kill even more time off the clock and put Cincinnati in an extremely difficult situation. Aaron Rodgers flings the football to Randall Cobb in an open gap in zone coverage, five yards away from the first down marker. Leon Hall makes the tackle, but not before a measurement confirmed that the Packers picked up the first down.
Head coach Marvin Lewis challenged, and the ruling was overturned, settling Green Bay one yard shy of the first down. Instead of kicking the field goal to take a six-point lead with four minutes left in the game, the Packers decide to go for it. Not only did Cincinnati's defensive line push the Packers back, preventing Johnathan Franklin from picking up the first down, the football is jarred loose.
Reggie Nelson recovers, but loses it six yards into his return. Terence Newman, in a full-sprint, scoops up the football and returns it 58 yards for the touchdown, giving the Bengals a 34-30 lead with 3:47 remaining in the game.
Green Bay moved the football on their ensuing possession against a Bengals prevent defense, reaching midfield at the two minute warning. However, Carlos Dunlap and Michael Johnson deflected Aaron Rodgers' final two passes of the game, forcing a turnover turnover on downs and sealing the win Sunday afternoon.
The Bengals, now 2-1, will travel to Cleveland next week.