The Cincinnati Bengals ran onto Lambeau field to take on the Green Bay Packers with high hopes of breaking their losing streak. Not only were the Bengals looking for their first win, but they were looking for their first touchdown. Cincinnati was hoping to avoid an 0-3 record to start the season, while Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy were hoping to avoid an 0-3 record against Cincinnati. Rodgers was also looking to complete his sweep around the NFL with the Bengals the only team he had never beat (other than the Packers) prior to Sunday.
It took an overtime period but the Bengals lost to the Packers, 27-24 in Green Bay. And, Rodgers has now beaten every NFL team not named the Packers.
The Bengals didn’t have to wait long for their first touchdown. On Bill Lazor’s first drive as offensive coordinator, Andy Dalton connected with A.J. Green for the first Bengals touchdown of the season. The offense continued to roar as they looked as hot as the 90-degree weather in Green Bay.
Dalton had a passer rating of 126 while Green had his first 100-plus yard game of the season. On the defensive side of the ball, the Bengals were just as effective in the opening minutes. The defense sacked Rodgers six times and caught the elusive interception off of the Packer’s quarterback.
Before the game started, the Bengals locked arms during the national anthem, making them one of the many teams to protest during the national anthem on Sunday.
The Bengals received the kickoff on the warmest home game in Packers history. It only took 10 plays and 67 yards, but Dalton fired a 10-yard rocket to Green for the opening score. Not only did the Bengals finally have a touchdown, but they also had their first lead of the season.
Needless to say, the internet was thrilled.
TOUCHDOWN, Bengals! We've waited far too long to say that.— Cincy Jungle (@CincyJungle) September 24, 2017
Lets go!!!— Derron Smith (@D_SmithFS) September 24, 2017
The Packers responded quickly. After only six plays, Rodgers threw a one-yard pass to the tight end Lance Kendricks to cap off a 60-yard drive.
After trading punts, the Bengals drove down the field again. Dalton was three for three on the third drive, and all three running backs were heavily involved in the offense. Joe Mixon had two catches, Jeremy Hill had two red zone carries, and Giovani Bernard had two important touches. Bernard finished the Bengals’ second drive with a six-yard touchdown pass from Dalton. With 12:35 remaining in the second quarter, the Bengals led 14-7 following Randy Bullock’s extra point.
Once again, the Packers were looking to answer. The first play from scrimmage was a 41-yard pass to Davante Adams, putting the Packers dangerously close to the Bengals’ red zone. Ironically, as commentator Tony Romo was mentioning how rarely Rodgers throws interceptions, William Jackson picked off the ball and returned it 75 yards to the house.
I see you @fantastik_willo ahhhhhhh my dawg!!!! Pick6 boy!!!— Derron Smith (@D_SmithFS) September 24, 2017
The Bengals backup corner caught what was only Rodgers’ second pick-six ever. Bullock converted the extra point, and the Bengals were suddenly up by two touchdowns with 10:20 left in the half.
For most of the second quarter, the Packers failed to get anything going. Rookie linebacker Carl Lawson helped by sacking Rodgers twice in the half (and he wasn’t done there).
Signature long arm from Carl Lawson. Dudes legit pic.twitter.com/aC54CyHseY— Mike Renner (@PFF_Mike) September 24, 2017
The Packers offense only had 78 yards in the entire first half, gave up five sacks, and converted only 29 percent of their third downs. The Bengals, meanwhile, totaled 192 yards, including Dalton’s 116 yards through the air.
Dalton finished the half going 12/14 for 116 yards, two touchdowns and a 140.8 rating. He looked vastly different than the Dalton we saw in the first two weeks of the season.
Coming out of the locker room, Rodgers and the Packers started firing on all cylinders. The first play was a 51-yard pass to Kendricks. After that, it was easy for the Packers to chip away at the Bengals defense until they got to the red zone.
Dre Kirkpatrick, who had a missed tackle on the long play from Kendricks, had a pass interference called against him in the end zone. On the first two plays from the one-yard line, the defense stopped running back Ty Montgomery short of the goal line.
They were unable to stop Rodgers from scrambling on the next play, allowing him the time to find Jordy Nelson in the end zone for a one-yard touchdown. The Packers had diminished the Bengals’ lead to 21-14 with 9:54 left in the third quarter.
The Bengals offense tried to answer the score after the two teams traded punts. Alex Erickson was able to get the ball near mid-field, giving the Bengals a short field to work with. They were not able to move the ball very far and after a sack were only able to set up Bullock for a 48-yard field goal attempt. Bullock’s kick was wide right as the Packers took over in Cincinnati territory.
Defense continued to dominate as both offenses struggled to find rhythm. By the end of the third quarter, the Bengals had collected six sacks. Rodgers has never won a game in which he has collected that many sacks, per ESPN.
The Packers did eventually find their way to the red zone, but Lawson and the defense were able to keep the Packers out of the end zone. Still, Mason Crosby was able to get an additional three points on the board. 14:43 remained in the game, and the Bengals received the ensuing kickoff, ahead 21-17.
As the clock was winding down, the Bengals offense gave another more push to the end zone. Mixon carried the ball five times for 30 yards, and even though he slipped on the final third down of the drive, Bullock was able to make his second field goal attempt of the game, after missing the first one in the third quarter. The Bengals extended their lead with 3:46 left in the game, making it 24-17. Even though Rodgers and the Packers had all three timeouts, they needed a touchdown to tie it up.
Rodgers was able to get the ball to the red zone with over a minute to go and the Bengals saw a number of injured players in the second half, helping Green Bay get down field. George Iloka and Shawn Williams both spent time off-the-field due to injury. With only 17 seconds remaining, Rodgers zipped the ball past Kirkpatrick into the hands of Nelson for the score. Crosby nailed the extra point to tie the score.
Erickson kneeled on the following kickoff and Dalton kneeled on the first play from scrimmage to force overtime. The Bengals won the coin toss and started with the ball. The Bengals inexplicably called a timeout before the first play before Mixon lost two yards. The Bengals failed to make much noise on the first drive and ended up going three and out and punting the ball away.
Rodgers took over at his own 20-yard line in search of his first career overtime victory. The Bengals defense was able to contain the Packers for two plays, but Rodgers connected with Geronimo Allison for 72 yards. Crosby was able to kick it through from 27 yards to give the Packers the victory with a score of 27-24.
It was a much improved effort from the Bengals, but it was not enough to secure a victory as the Bengals drop to 0-3.