It wasn’t looking great at halftime. The Green Bay Packers were trailing 21-7 at the break to a Cincinnati Bengals team that looked like it took advantage of a 10-day rest to prepare and recover from back-to-back embarrassing offensive performances in the season’s opening two weeks.
Cincinnati’s defense sacked Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers four times in the first two quarters and returned an interception for a touchdown to open up a 14-point lead.
But Green Bay rebounded in a big way. The Packers began the third quarter with an eight-play, 75-yard drive that ended in a Rodgers flip to a wide-open Jordy Nelson in the back of the end zone. The Packers held star receiver AJ Green and the Bengals offense out of the end zone the rest of the game, and a 72-yard overtime reception by Geronimo Allison set up Mason Crosby’s game-winning field goal in a dramatic 27-24 win over the Bengals.
Crosby’s game-winner was the first time the Packers led the entire afternoon.
Check out a full recap of Sunday’s game (Story | Photos):
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Josh Jones. The second-round pick from NC State made his first career start and led the Green Bay defense in almost every category: tackles (12), sacks (2.0) quarterback hurries (2) and tackles for loss (3). Jones’ two sacks were the first of his NFL career and matched the highest single-season sack total in his three-year collegiate career.
USA TODAY SportsDan Powers
DON’T FORGET ABOUT ME
Allison. He might not get our game ball, but he definitely had the play of the game. Facing a third-and-10 in overtime from the Packers 21-yard line, Rodgers chucked it deep to the left side to Allison, who hauled in the pass near midfield and scampered all the way down to the Bengals 7-yard line. Allison beat veteran corner Adam “Pacman” Jones by about five yards on his go route -- and then proceeded to break his ankles twice in the yards after catch.
We’ve seen this go the wrong way before. The Bengals won the coin toss and elected to receive, meaning they could leave Lambeau Field with an OT win with a touchdown. However, Bengals running back Joe Mixon was stopped for a loss of two yards on first down. Green was shoved out of bounds after six yards on second down, and a pass to tight end Tyler Kroft was tackled after a yard to bring up a fourth-and-5. Cincinnati was forced to punt, and Green Bay ended the game with a field goal four plays later. It’s worth noting that Jones made two tackles on the three-and-out, locking up his Player of the Game honors.
Aaron Rodgers threw his 301st, 302nd and 303rd career touchdowns in Sunday’s win over the Bengals, surpassing John Elway (300) and moving into 10th all time among NFL quarterbacks. Next target: Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who ranks ninth with 306 touchdown passes.
USA TODAY SportsJeff Hanisch
THEY SAID IT
“I’m a versatile player. Wherever you line me up, I’m gonna play and do my best to make plays.” – Packers safety Josh Jones
“It felt amazing. Like I said, I’m blessed, I’m thankful.” – Packers wide receiver Geronimo Allison on his overtime 72-yard reception.
“It was a heck of a victory. … We played our best football when it counted. And our fans were incredible when it counted, too.” – Head coach Mike McCarthy
Green Bay hosts archrival Chicago Bears on Thursday Night Football. The Bears sit in last place in the NFC North with a 1-2 record, but they’re coming off an impressive 23-17 win at home over the Pittsburgh Steelers.