The leaders of the two North Divisions faced off in Paul Brown Stadium, and the NFC North took the crown. The Green Bay Packers edged out the Cincinnati Bengals in overtime, winning 25-22.
The Bengals knew they couldn’t start slowly against the Green Bay Packers, and they struck first with the rare first quarter touchdown. The Packers didn’t want to get beat deep, which left plenty of room in the middle for the running backs and tight ends to work. Joe Mixon was playing through an injury, so Samaje Perine carried the load out of the backfield. Perine had three receptions, two of which went for first downs. The third reception was a quick touchdown pass to give the Bengals the lead.
After Evan McPherson’s extra point, the Bengals led 7-0 with 1:15 remaining in the first quarter.
Aaron Rodgers went three for seven for 37 yards with one interception in the first quarter, but he wouldn’t be kept down for long. Rodgers completed the next six passes during Green Bay’s first drive of the second quarter. His sixth pass was a 12-yard reception to A.J. Dillon, who ran the ball into the end zone. Mason Crosby missed the extra point, so the Bengals still led 7-6 with 11:49 to go in the second quarter.
Whatever the Bengals defense did in the first quarter, the Packers figured it out in the second. Rodgers was 14 for 17 with 166 yards in the second quarter, finding weak spots in the zone and taking advantage of the Bengals’ lack of depth at cornerback. The Packers got a field goal for the lead, and they managed one more touchdown before the half. From the five-yard line, Rodgers launched a fade pass to Davante Adams, who climbed the ladder to beat Trae Waynes for the score.
With 1:07 to go in the half, the Packers had a 16-7 lead. That was Rodgers’ 422nd touchdown pass, passing Phillip Rivers for fifth all-time in NFL history.
The Bengals, however, weren’t content to go into the locker room down two scores. On the second play of the next drive, Burrow danced around the pocket until he found Ja’Marr Chase open deep. Burrow threw the ball 55 yards through the air, and Chase ran the ball in the rest of the way for a 70-yard touchdown. After the extra point, the Bengals cut the lead to 16-14 with 36 second on the clock.
GIVE JA’MARR CHASE OFFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR YESTERDAY pic.twitter.com/ukusdq8CxC— PFF CIN Bengals (@PFF_Bengals) October 10, 2021
Perhaps the most impressive part of this touchdown is that Burrow finished the last drive in the medical tent. He seemed to be fine on this play.
Before the deep ball to Chase, Burrow completed 11 of 15 passes for 64 yards and a touchdown. He wasn’t bad when he could get the ball in the air, but the Packers’ pass rush made life difficult for Burrow in the pocket. The only time Burrow had extra time to throw, he uncorked the deep touchdown to Chase.
Rodgers had a destructive second quarter, going 17 for 24 with 203 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception in the first half. His favorite target was Adams, with nine targets, six receptions, 117 yards, and one touchdown.
Both offenses went quiet in the third quarter. The only score was a Packers field goal that came off of a Burrow interception. The Bengals only had one drive in the quarter, but self-inflicted wounds led to a punt.
But in the fourth quarter, Rodgers found Adams again for 59 yards. The Packers got down to third-and-goal, and Mike Hilton broke up a potential touchdown pass to force another field goal. Crosby knocked the field goal through, so the Packers still led 22-14 with 11:20 to go in the game.
The Bengals needed a touchdown, and they got one on a 13-play, eight-minute drive. Burrow called his own number on fourth down for a crucial conversion, and then dropped a beautiful ball in for Chase to convert a third down. Mixon got a goal-line snap on a day that he was taking a lighter load, and ran the ball in for the much-needed score.
Joe Mixon takes it in for six ➡ Tee Higgins TIES IT UP!— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) October 10, 2021
WATCH on FOX pic.twitter.com/ealmgCT9cm
Burrow hit Tee Higgins for the two-point conversion, and tied the game at 22 points with 3:27 remaining in the game.
With Rodgers on the field, the Bengals needed a stop. Aaron Jones responded with a 57-yard run to get the Packers to the red zone on the first play of the drive. The Bengals stopped the Packers there, however, to force a field attempt, and Crosby missed the 36-yarder. This was Crosby’s first field goal miss after he made 27 straight.
The Bengals got the ball back seconds before the two-minute warning. Green Bay kept everything in front of them, so the Bengals got chunk after chunk. It came down to a fourth-and-two at the Packers’ 39-yard line with 26 seconds left. It was a 57-yard attempt for the rookie kicker, but it bounced off the upright and was no good.
The Rodgers-Adams connection resumed, and the Packers immediately got into field goal range for Crosby. With three seconds left, Crosby attempted a 51-yarder missed his second kick in a row.
With three straight missed field goals, the game went into overtime.
As if this game wasn’t crazy enough, Burrow threw an interception to De’Vondre Campbell on the first play of overtime. The Packers got the ball inside the 20-yard line, and sent Crosby out on third down. He came in to kick a 40-yarder and missed that one too.
After Crosby had not missed a field goal since 2019, he had missed his last three.
The Burrow-Chase connection got the Bengals moving again, as Burrow sought to redeem himself in overtime. The Bengals got the ball to the Packers 32-yard line for a 49-yard attempt, but McPherson’s kick hit the flag at the top of the upright and went wide right.
A screen to Marcedes Lewis brought the Packers deep into Bengals’ territory. Crosby came out to try to make a game-winning field goal, and the third time was the charm. The 49-yard kick was good, and the Packers won 25-22.
The Bengals dropped to 3-2, while the Packers improved to 4-1.
The Bengals’ next game will be in Detroit against the winless Lions on October 17th.