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Packers take 23-14 lead to open the third quarter

The Bengals defense is starting to wear down, but the Packers are also receiving some help from the officials, taking a 23-14 lead to open the third quarter.

Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

The Green Bay Packers offense struggled in the first half.

It just so happened that Cincinnati's offense struggled a little more.

And we're not talking about yards. That was won by Andy Dalton and Cincinnati's rushing offense. Rather the inability to secure the football or sustain any possessions in the final 24 minutes in the first half. It led to the defense being on the field for over ten minutes in the second quarter and eventual 16-14 half-time lead.

The Packers come out on first and ten from their own 20-yard line following the opening kickoff in the second half. Eventually quarterback Aaron Rodgers found receiver Randall Cobb on a 27-yard reception, followed by a seven-yard Jordy Nelson reception and five-yard Johnathan Franklin run that picked up a first down on Cincinnati's 42-yard line.

The defense nearly forced a punt following three consecutive incomplete passes by Aaron Rodgers, but Reggie Nelson was flagged for roughing the passer -- a call that was beyond horrible (and we're being generous with that description). On the following play, Vontaze Burfict held Andrew Quarless, giving the Packers another five yards to Cincinnati's 22-yard line.

Three plays later, Franklin scored on an easy touchdown around the left edge to take a 23-14 lead.