The Green Bay Packers blew a 30-14 lead to the Cincinnati Bengals and ended up losing at Paul Brown Stadium 34-30 today to drop to 1-2 on the season.
In a wild and wacky game that included just about every possible scenario, it was a fourth down fumble by rookie Johnathan Franklin that was returned for a touchdown by the Bengals that was the difference-maker.
However, the rookie, who came into the game at the start of the second half in place of an injured James Starks, had a whale of a game. He ran 13 times for 103 yards and caught three passes for 23 yards, while scoring a touchdown.
And while Franklin will be forever be known for giving up the fumble, there was plenty of blame to go around in this one, starting with the muffed kickoff by Jeremy Ross that led to a Bengals touchdown and a 14-0 lead even before Aaron Rodgers had the chance to hit the field.
Rodgers wasn’t at his best either, throwing two interceptions in a game for the first time since 2010. He also had two passes knocked down on the Packers final drive when they had a chance to pull out a win.
But when you throw in defense, great running, a blocked extra point, missed field goal and a whole lot more, you’ve got the elements for great game.
Unfortunately, it didn’t come down on the side of a win for the Packers.
Here is a rundown of all the action, from start to finish – if you dare read on. Also provided at the end are complete statistics.
If there has been a worse start by a Green Bay Packers football team, I don’t know when it’s occurred.
But when the Cincinnati Bengals roared to two quick touchdowns – the first coming on an 80-yard drive and the second on a 3-yard plunge by Benjarvis Green-Ellis after the Packers’ Jeremy Ross muffed the ensuing kickoff.
The Packers finally got the ball and after a couple of first down and a drop by Jermichael Finley, the Packers punted. Finley was hit in the head on the play and was lost for the day with a concussion.
However, the Packers defense had a nice stop on the Bengals’ third possession. After Green-Ellis opened with a five yard carry, Jonny Jolly and B.J. Raji stuffed a reverse followed by a Bengals incompletion and had to punt.
But the Packers failed to capitalize on the field possession … They went three and out. Only Tim Masthay‘s masterful punt saved them – pinning the Bengals once again inside the five.
On their fourth possession the Bengals had a pass knocked down on first down, followed by a seven yard run by Giovani Bernard. On Third down Bernard was stopped, bounced it outside and got just enogh for a first down.
However, that’s when the wheels on the Bengals’ offense began coming off – on third and seven, Sam Shields intercepted at the Bengals 27.
That was the first of four straight possessions the Packers got turnovers.
That said, it didn’t turn out the way the Packers fans would like.
The Packers looked pathetic on their next possession. An incomplete pass on a rollout on first down was followed by a three yard run on second down and an incomplete pass on third down.
Mason Crosby converted a 41-yard field goal to make the score Bengals 14 Packers 13.
After the kickoff, the Bengals took over on the 22 and after a short run AJ Hawk forced a fumble that the Packers recovered at the 25.
On the third down redo, Rodgers was sacked and Masthay punted.
The Bengals took over at the 27, got a 6 yard possession from Bernard. Jennings sacked Dalton on second down, and it was Matthews again forcing a fumble by Dalton with Brad Jones recovereing at the Bengals 21. Two runs by Starks led to a first down.
On second and goal, James Jones was held in the end zone and the Packers had first and goal at the 5. Three plays later the Packers settled for another Mason Crosby field goal. Rodgers attempt to score on a roll-out was short by inches and when Rodgers went to the sidelines after getting hit hard on the goal line he got into coach Mike McCarthy’s face. Several F-bombs later, the two made up and seemed to be discussing the situation in a more civil manner a short time later.
The Packers defense again came through with a stop on the Bengals next possession and the Packers took over with 5:35 left in the second quarter.
On first and second downs Starks got 6 and 3 yares. Then on third and 1 Rodgers hit James Jones over the middle for a first down and then 15 more were tacked on after a high hit. Starks ran for 12 and Andrew Quarless caught a 10 yard pass.
Rodgers continued the fun with another nine yard pass to Jones followed by a 4 yard run by Starks for a first and goal at the 2 minute warning.
On first and goal from the 5, Starks got 1 and the Rodgers was sacked for a loss of 8. After a time out Rodgers hit Jordy Nelson for 3, well short of the end zone.
After Mason Crosby’s 26 yard field goal , the Packers went into halftime with a 16-13 lead.
Can you say Johnathan Franklin? The rookie running back took over for Starks who was hurt at the end of the first half and made the most of his opportunity. He ran, he caught and he scored a touchdown on the Packers first possession of the second half to give the Packers a 23-14 lead.
The drive was highlighted by a couple of Bengals penalties that sustained the Packers drive en route to their score.
On the Bengals first possession of the half, they moved the ball early in the middle of the field but failed on a third and seven and forced a punt – which was fair caught by Randall Cobb inside the 10 yard line.
Interestingly, Clay Matthews sat out the first possession by the Bengals because of a hamstring injury – more on this later.
The Packers started their second possession from the seven yard line. Using their no huddle, they started with a quick pass to James Jones that was followed by our guy Franklin who ran for 60-plus yards. That was followed by a another great sideline catch by Jordy Nelson and then a touchdown to James Jones that gave the Packers 30 unanswered points to take a 3-14 lead.
On the kickoff, the Packers were penalized for a personal foul and still Masthay kicked it to the 10 yard line – the return was to the 35 where the Bengals took over for their second possession.
On first down, the Bengals hit a pass for 5, followed by a first down pass to AJ Green. At the end of the play, Nick Perry was flagged for a personal foul that moved the ball deep into Packers territory. Bernard then ripped off a 20 yard run and AJ Green reeled in a 21 yard touchdown to narrow the Packers lead to 30-21.
On the Packers next possession, the Packers were moving the ball well, but on third and 3, Jones broke off a route and the Bengals stepped in front of him and picked off the ball at midfield.
The Bengals then hit a first down, but that was followed by a sack by Tramon Williams that moved them out of field goal range on second and 18, Bernard got a screen pass that went for 13.
On third and five from the Packers 31, Dalton in the shotgun was sacked by Mike Daniels.
The Bengals decide to go for it on fourth and 9, but call a timout. When play resumed, the Bengals kicker Mike Nugent missed the field goal from 52 yards.
Dodging the proverbial bullet, the Packers offense start from the 42 yards and Rodgers runs for 18 yards for a first down inside the Bengals’ 40.
After a timeout, Rodgers hit Cobb for 8, and then hit Franklin for seven and another first down to the Bengals 27.
In the shotgun Rodgers throws another interception along the sideline … Wow.
From the 4, Giovani Bernard catches and runs 31 yards, gets the ball again for a two yard run, and on second and 8, Dalton throws deep incomplete toward AJ Green with Sam Shields on the great coverage.
On third and 8, Dalton again in the gun, hits Marvin Jones for a first down. On the tackle, Tramon Williams was flagged for a late hit, giving the Bengals the ball at the Packers 25. Bernard then runs for two on first down and then on second down they hit AJ Green down the sideline. On first down Dalton completes the 95-yard drive with a TD pass to Marvin Jones.
However, Datone Jones blocked the extra point and the score remained at t three-point difference at 30-27 Packers.
Jeremy Ross returns the kickoff to the 21
Packers first and 10 from the 21; Rodgers under center and hands off to Franklin who runs for a first down and 12 yards. Franklin at this point has 82 rushing yards by himself.
n first and 10, Franklin turns a loss into a three yard gain.
In the hurry-up, Rodgers scrambles up the middle for four and the Packers face a third and 3, when Rodgers hits Franklin in the flat for seven more yards and a first down.
From the 50, Rodgers rolls and hits Quarless for 3. On second and 7, Rodgers hits Nelson for 3. On third and 4, Rodgers from the gun, Rodgers hits Nelson again for the first down when the Bengals bring the blitz.
First and 10 from the Bengals 39, Franklin picks up four on a sweep to the left, and on second down Rodgers called a timeout. When play resumed, Rodgers got sacked, but followed it up with a pass to Cobb who stretched the ball for a first down on third and 12.
However, the Bengals challenge the spot on the ball and it’s fourth down.
On fourth and inches, Rodgers hands off to Franklin who attempts a dive over the pile, but fumbles. The Bengals recover, fumble themselves, and then recover it on the run toward the end zone for a touchdown.
Bengals 34 Packers 30
On the kickoff, the Packers take over after the touchback at the 20.
First and 10 from the Packers 20 Rodgers hits Cobb for 8 with 3:40 left in the game.
Second and 2, the Packers give the ball back to Franklin who runs for five and a first down.
First and 10, pass to Quarless, who limps off the field. Second and three is a pass to Ryan Taylor for 8 and another first down at 2:15. With the clock winding down to the 2 minute warning, the ball is given to Franklin, who is stuffed.
2 minute warning.
Rodgers has his pass knocked down, but there was some redemption for Jeremy Ross who catches a first down pass to the 44.
On first and 10, Rodgers overthrows Jeremy Ross in the left flat and on second and 10 Jordy Nelson makes another incredible catch to the 35 for another first down. On first and 10, Rodgers throws incomplete toward Jones.
With 1:34 left and facing seecod and 10, Rodgers hits Nelson for five to the 25.
At thir and five at the 20, Rodgers in the gun has his pass knocked down to bring up fourth down.
Fourth and five … time out Packers, followed by timeout by the Bengals.
Rodgers fourth down pass is tipped at the line.
Ball game over.
Here are your stats provided by si.com
- Scoring Summary
Green Bay 16-14
Green Bay 23-14
Green Bay 30-14
Green Bay 30-21
Green Bay 30-27