Packer Perspective: Injury-hit Packers show they can win ugly

GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 24: Jordy Nelson
GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 24: Jordy Nelson /

The best teams know how to win ugly, and an injury-hit Green Bay Packers did exactly that against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.

The Packers left it late in the day to overcome a desperate Bengals team, but that doesn’t matter. Victories all count the same. Regardless of whether the Packers turn Lambeau into Blowout City or they barely fall over the line in overtime, a win is a win.

Hit hard by injuries, the Packers were always going to be tested. Cincinnati entered this game with nothing to lose. Without a touchdown through two games and staring at an early exit in the postseason race, they knew how important this trip to Wisconsin was.

By halftime the Bengals didn’t look anything close to the team that slumped to 0-2 in a pair of home defeats. On this day they were the real deal, and the Packers were in deep trouble.

But it doesn’t matter. Nobody is counting the style points. The fact is Green Bay sits 2-1, tied for first in the NFC North with Minnesota and Detroit.

The Packers tend to be slow starters. This is only the third time in the past six years Green Bay has sat above .500 after Week 3. They have only been unbeaten after three games once in that span, back in 2015.

As last season proved, Green Bay is difficult to stop once Mike McCarthy’s offense hits top gear. They will turn it on at some point this fall. Last year it clicked into gear when it mattered the most.

The Packers were 4-6 and facing a losing season, but Aaron Rodgers believed the team could run the table. And they did. An eight-game winning streak led them all the way to the NFC Championship Game.

As long as the Packers are playing their best football in December and beyond, they will have a great shot at going deep in the playoffs.

Banged up and yet to shake off the early-season rust on offense, the Packers just need to keep winning. It doesn’t matter how they do it.

A day of records

It was a day of making history and snapping streaks.

Much like the story of the game, it started on a sour note. Aaron Rodgers’ pick-six in the first half was only the second he’s thrown in his career. That’s an incredible statistic. This is Rodgers’ 10th year as a starter in Green Bay, but only two of his pass attempts have been intercepted and returned for a touchdown. Now compare that to his predecessor.

It took eight years for Rodgers to throw a second pick-six. He’ll probably throw another one on Thursday night to make up for lost time.

Want some more surprising stats?

This was Rodgers’ first ever victory in overtime. Including playoff games, Rodgers was 0-7 in overtime before Sunday’s win. As ESPN’s Rob Demovsky noted, however, Rodgers had only thrown a total of six passes in those games.

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Rodgers made some more history on Sunday, too. He’s now been on the winning team against every team in the NFL (Packers excluded). The Bengals were the only team he hadn’t beaten.