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Bengals-Packers: What we learned

The SportsXchange

CINCINNATI -- The Cincinnati Bengals and Green Bay Packers sure do love drama. The teams don't play often because of being in different conferences but when they do, they get their money's worth.

Cornerback Terence Newman returned a fumble 58 yards with 3:47 remaining and Cincinnati's defense held Green Bay and quarterback Aaron Rodgers on downs 20 yards from a go-ahead touchdown as the Bengals knocked off the Packers 34-30 Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium.

"I was thinking quarterback sneak, and the way our D-line was playing I knew it was going to be up to those guys to push the O-line back and stop Rodgers," said Newman. "The next thing I know, I saw somebody get hit, I saw the ball pop out and I saw Reggie pick it up. I was trying to get a block and someone was trying to tackle him so I was screaming 'pitch it, pitch it'. Nobody on defense ever yells that. I saw the ball pop loose and it took a nice little bounce where I could grab it on the run."

The Bengals (2-1) overcame four turnovers in nine plays in the first half and rallied from a 30-14 deficit in the third quarter. Green Bay (1-2) drove to the Cincinnati 20 in 12 plays but on fourth-and-5, defensive end Michael Johnson knocked down Rodgers' pass to end the comeback.

The Packers scored 30 straight points at one juncture in the game but also turned the ball over four times. Cincinnati is the first team to win a game after surrendering 30 consecutive points since Dallas beat Washington 41-35 in overtime on Sept. 12, 1999. The Cowboys had given up 32 straight points to Washington in that game before rallying.

What the Packers said

"It was frustrating. I thought he had it. It would have been a big first down for us with about four-and-a-half (minutes) to go. We didn't get it. We had a good play call on fourth-and-short and after I handed the ball off, I saw it come out. I should have made the tackle. After that they picked it up and scored." - Quarterback Aaron Rodgers

What the Bengals said

"We just wanted to get penetration. I'll have to see the film. I guess my helmet hit the football or something but my teammates did a good job in the middle, Geno (Atkins) and (Domata) Peko, of standing those guys up and pushing them back. It made creases for us to get down in there. It was a collective group effort." - Defensive end Michael Johnson

What we learned about the Packers

1. Aaron Rodgers is human. Rodgers went 41 straight games without throwing multiple interceptions in a game but he threw two on Sunday in the span of four attempts in the second half. Now the Packers have two weeks, including the upcoming bye, to think about it.

"It's disappointing; we feel like we gave the game away offensively," said Rodgers. "We had a lot of turnovers and I played poorly. Defense played well enough for us to win and we should have come out with a win."

The Bengals held Rodgers to 244 yards passing and a passer rating of 64.5, his lowest since the Dec. 12, 2010, at Detroit when he was knocked out of the game with a concussion and a rating of 34.5. Rodgers came into the game having thrown at least three touchdown passes in five straight games but had just one scoring throw Sunday.

2. The Packers still haven't figured out how to close games. They have now been outscored 39-7 in the fourth quarter of their three games this season, including 13-0 Sunday. It didn't matter last week when Washington put up 13 points in the final 15 minutes because Green Bay had such a large lead but it cost them the season-opener at San Francisco and this game. They have now allowed 89 points in three games.

What we learned about the Bengals

1. Maybe this team does have a little resiliency. After giving away the season opener at Chicago with three turnovers and a multitude of penalties, the Bengals overcame themselves and a good Green Bay team Sunday. The offense had four more turnovers Sunday, giving them seven for the season, but it found a way to put together drives and score when it needed to score.

"(We persevered) through as many negative plays I've seen in my life," said Cincinnati head coach Marvin Lewis. "We have to keep after it and be diligent with the football. The defensive effort was outstanding."

The Bengals scored touchdowns on all three of their red zone possessions, while the defense held Green Bay to field goals twice on four trips inside the Cincinnati 20-yard line.

2. The defensive line has been touted as one of the best, if not the best, in the NFL. It played like the best on Sunday. It harassed Rodgers into his worse day passing in three seasons. Michael Johnson had 1.5 sacks, one tackle for loss, four quarterback hits, a forced fumble and the final pass breakup but he wasn't alone. Carlos Dunlap had both of his pass breakups on the final drive to go along with a sack and two quarterback hits.

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