Packers can't hold on in wild ride
CINCINNATI—Terence Newman’s fumble return finished off a wild game that came down to who made the final flub.
And that would be the Packers.
Newman returned a fumble 58 yards for a touchdown with 3:47 left on Sunday, rallying the Cincinnati Bengals to a 34-30 victory over Green Bay in a game of wild momentum swings set up by nonstop turnovers.
Each team gave it away four times. Each team returned a fumble for a touchdown—M.D. Jennings ran one back for Green Bay (1-2). The Bengals blew a 14-point lead, and the Packers let a 16-point lead get away in the second half.
And no, the weather wasn’t a factor. Nobody could blame the cool, sunny afternoon for all the weirdness.
The Bengals (2-1) finished it off when Michael Johnson batted down Aaron Rodgers’ fourth-down pass at the Cincinnati 20-yard line with 1:21 left, ending a subpar showing for the quarterback.
The second-half comeback completed an exhilarating week at Paul Brown Stadium for the Bengals, who beat AFC North rival Pittsburgh 20-10 on Monday night with an impressive defensive game.
The defense made the difference again against Rodgers and Green Bay’s high-powered but injury-depleted offense. Rodgers was 26-of-43 for 244 yards with a touchdown, but was sacked four times and threw two interceptions.
Green Bay lost tight end Jermichael Finley to a concussion and ran out of running backs. Eddie Lacy was inactive with a concussion, James Starks hurt a knee in the first half, and rookie Johnathan Franklin ran for 103 yards and a touchdown before limping off at the start of the final series.
The Bengals were missing cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick, sidelined with a hamstring injury, but got plenty of pressure on Rodgers and made the deciding turnover.
Trying to put the game away, Green Bay went for it on fourth-and-1 at the Cincinnati 30-yard line. Franklin was stripped of the ball at the line, safety Reggie Nelson picked it up but fumbled, and Newman scooped it up and went the rest of the way.
Cincinnati scored two touchdowns within a 12-second span in the first quarter, aided by a fumble on a kickoff, but wound up having to play catch-up as its offense bogged down.
Andy Dalton was 20-of-28 for 235 yards with two touchdowns, an interception and a fumble that Jennings returned 24 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter, sparking Green Bay’s comeback.
With Green Bay missing linebacker Clay Matthews to a hamstring injury, Dalton threw touchdown passes of 20 yards to A.J. Green and 11 yards to Marvin Jones, cutting the deficit to 30-28.