It was the only way it could end, right?
Bengals defensive end
On the previous play his bookend, left end
After winning a challenge that turned a Packers first down into a fourth-and-one with the clock and game ticking away to four minutes, Johnson forced rookie running back Jonathan Franklin to fumble and when safety
What more could the defense do? Newman and cornerback
But when the Bengals faced the NFL's best offense with 3:47 left, the defense was gassed. Hall wasn't on the field with a hamstring injury and safety
Dalton ended up beating Rodgers at his own game. Rodgers, who has had 10 100-yard passer ratings in 10 road games the last three years, suffered to a 65.5 while Dalton had a 105.5 with his two touchdown passes and interception. He did it even though he didn't hook up with Green until the second half and wide receiver
After being staked to a 16-14 halftime lead even though the Packers didn't have a TD, Rodgers heated up to lead two touchdown drives the first two times he had the ball in the second half.
Enter Franklin to the list of Bengals killers. With rookie Eddie Lacy already on the sideline with a concussion and starter James Starks sidelined in the first half, Franklin gave the Bengals fits with his stops and starts on the way to a 100-yard day with 103 yards on 13 carries. He appeared to be hemmed in on the next series, but he reversed field to the center, juked in the middle, and went off for a 51-yarder that set up James Jones's seven-yard TD catch. Bengals SAM backer
But not much else went right for the Packers. Early in the game they lost two of their best players in tight end Jermichael Finley (concussion) and outside linebacker Clay Matthews (hamstring) and then Franklin, their last healthy back, exited after the fumble with a leg injury.
The Bengals responded in textbook fashion Sunday when they took a 14-0 lead by the time Rodgers took his first snap with Green Bay's NFL-leading offense just 5:52 into the game.
But the Bengals couldn't take advantage of an impeccable defensive effort in the first half because of an appalling four consecutive turnovers that handed the Packers a 16-14 halftime lead even though Green Bay didn't score an offensive touchdown.
It was hard to say what was more unbelievable. The four turnovers that gave the Packers the ball at the Bengals 26, 37, 27 and a touchdown when safety M.D. Jennings scooped up a fumble by running back
Or the fact the Packers got 16 points without getting 80 yards of offense and Rodgers missing six of his first eight passes for just 25 yards on his way to a 244-yard day on 26 of 43 passes with the two picks. It extended the NFL's-best streak to 17 straight game the Bengals haven't allowed a 300-yard passer. It also marked the first time in 37 games that Rodgers threw more interceptions than touchdowns.
Rodgers finished the half just 7-of-14 for 64 yards. But with the help of a personal foul call on Bengals WILL linebacker
Enter the relentless Bengals pass rush that made life miserable for the Packers young tackles, rookie left tackle David Bakhitiari working agains Johnson and second-year right tackle Don Barclay going against Dunlap.
Dunlap got off a one-handed sack of Rodgers on second down to prevent a touchdown, Cincinnati's third of the half, and it set up Mason Crosby's 26-yard field goal with no time left for the 16-14 lead.
The Bengals offense was miserable after it scored on its opening possession. Green had no catches in the first half and one of his two targets got picked off by cornerback Sam Shields on the sidelines at the Bengals 26 on what looked to be a terrible read by Dalton for the first of the turnovers. After completing his first three passes, Dalton finished the half just 7-of-12 for 67 yards.
Dalton also turned it over with a fumble when he lost it on his own 21. He avoided a sack by blitzing cornerback Davon House, but he couldn't protect it when he tried to run and outside linebacker Clay Matthews forced his second fumble of the day and hurt his hamstring. Matthews never returned.
The Bengals got another great stand. A few plays later on third-and-three from the Bengals 3, Rodgers had a two-way go after he faked a handoff but Dunlap and Nelson chased him down while Hall came off his receiver at just the right time and they stuffed him at the 1 to force Crosby's field goal with 6:32 left in the half cut the Bengals lead to 14-13.
Even the usually-reliable Green-Ellis faltered. It will be recalled he had two fumbles early last season, ending his streak of 589 straight carries without a fumble, the longest to start a career since 1945.
But Matthews was all over him on a third-and-one from the Bengals 24. Bernard had taken the first two snaps of the series, but BJGE and defensive tackle Domata Peko as the fullback lined up in short yardage. The play ran the opposite way of Matthews, but Matthews barreled in from the back side and stripped Green-Ellis from behind and Jennings picked it up for the touchdown to cut the lead to 14-10 with 11:22 left in the half.
It was such a turn of events.
The Bengals took the opening kickoff and reeled off an 80-yard touchdown drive behind Dalton's 3-for-3 passing and Bernard's three-yard touchdown run a sweep aided by a block from a fellow rookie, tight end
The Bengals were making hay out of their two tight-end sets with Eifert blocking and tight end
Then on the ensuing kickoff Nugent kicked it short, but when Packers returner Jeremy Ross ran up to catch it he dropped it and the Bengals swarmed it as the ball slid backward before Mays fell on it at the 2.
Then the other half of the Bennie-and-the-Jet backfield went to work. On the first play, and working against the mammoth Packers front of 340-pound B.J. Raji, 340-pound Ryan Pickett and 330-pound Johnny Jolly, Green-Ellis blew them back with the help of right guard
PREGAME NOTES: Adam Jones (abdomen) is going to try and play Sunday as the depleted Bengals cornerback corps needed all the help it could get at Paul Stadium against Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers's NFL-leading offense.
Jones, the third corner, was limited Thursday and Friday during practice. But he was in better shape than the two cornerbacks behind him that didn't practice at all.
In an effort to back up Jones and starters Leon Hall and Terence Newman, the Bengals promoted
With Jones not expected to return punts, the Bengals may have been looking to back up wide receiver
The Bengals also sat rookie left end
The Bengals also put down tackle
The Bengals were clad in their orange jerseys and white pants, a combo that has a 10-5 record. Head coach Marvin Lewis sent out for his captains Andrew Whitworth,