Packers Blow 16-Point Lead, Lose To Bengals 34-30
CINCINNATI -- The Packers have lost their knack for finishing `em off.
After a week of hearing coach Mike McCarthy stress the need for a solid fourth quarter, Green Bay went out and let one get away on Sunday. Terence Newman returned a fumble 58 yards for a touchdown with 3:47 left, rallying the Cincinnati Bengals to a 34-30 victory.
A game full of flubs came down to who made the last one. And it was the Packers -- again.
The Packers (1-2) have a bye week to think about the two that got away, an opening 34-28 loss at San Francisco and the one in Cincinnati that was strange all around.
Each team gave it away four times. Each team returned a fumble for a touchdown -- M.D. Jennings ran one back for Green Bay. The Bengals blew a 14-point lead, and the Packers let a 16-point lead get away in the second half. Green Bay scored 30 consecutive points and lost.
No, the weather wasn't a factor. Nobody could blame the cool, sunny afternoon for all the oddities.
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. It marked the first time in 14 years that a team won after allowing an opponent to score 30 consecutive points in a game.
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.
The Packers were running on empty at the end.
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, Nelson picked it up and started to run but fumbled -- of course! -- and Newman scooped it up and went the rest of the way.
When he reached the end zone, Newman jumped into the stands in celebration.
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 Clay Matthews because of a hamstring injury, Dalton threw touchdown passes of 20 yards to A.J. Green and 11 yards to Marvin Jones, cutting the deficit to 30-27.
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