Bengals 34, Packers 30

Jay Sorgi

Paul Brown Stadium before Packers-Bengals, 9/22/13. Photo: Image by Wayne Larrivee

Bengals 34, Packers 30

CREATED Sep. 22, 2013 - UPDATED: Sep. 22, 2013


6:00 p.m.
A fantastic photo gallery of today's game, with some moving images.  Check it out.

Jermichael Finley gave a message to fans after his concussion.

Other key takeaway quotes:

"I'm going to have a bad taste in my mouth for the next two weeks." - Jonathan Franklin

"We've got to clean some things up." - Aaron Rodgers

"I'll be good. I felt like I could go back out there...I don't see myself missing any time...I'll be out there." - Clay Matthews

3:35 p.m.
McCarthy exclusively to Larry McCarren: Here's what he said.

4th Quarter

3:19 p.m.  Bengals' 2nd Drive  1:23
Victory formation. 

Rodgers didn't lose the game on that last-second drive.  Cincinnati's volleyball-playing D-line won it.

3:04 p.m.  Packers' 3rd Drive  3:47
Now is when you win MVP's, Aaron Rodgers.  Carry a team late in the game to a win. 

They start short to Cobb.  That's OK.  You have time. choice out of shotgun formation.  First down.

Get first downs first.  Then worry about time.

Two throws short to tight ends and it's a first down out of bounds.  Lots of time.  Dink and dump.

"Packers doing exactly what they've got to do on this drive." - Larry McCarren

Now within two minutes. Franklin injured...limping.  Cramp?

Dunlop plays volleyball with Rodgers, ball goes back to him and he lets it go.  Smart.

3rd-8 at GB 49:  Ross!  First down!  From a horrible day to a huge play.

Franklin back...phew.

Rodgers-to-Nelson!  Back shoulder.  25 yards from victory.

1:40 left.  Lots of time.  Don't have to rush end zone throws.  He knows what he's doing.

Rodgers-Nelson...short and easy.  Dink and dump to death.

3rd-5 at CIN 20: Nope.  Almost picked.  Dunlop has been Karch Kiraly volleyballing passes.

4th-5.  Ball game at stake.  This is it...after Packers call time out...after Bengals call time out.

"Got time.  All you need is five yards."  Nope.  Johnson tipped it at the line of scrimmage.  Bengals' D-line wins this game.

2:43 p.m.  Packers' 2nd Drive  10:55
Cincinnati 34, Green Bay 30
Newman 58 yd fumble return TD

You knew this wouldn't be easy.  Now, Rodgers and co. must respond.

Franklin starts this drive with a slamming run.  Bounce outside.  They're calling plays and blocking in a way to give him the right kind of holes to get him in space.

The line knows he's not Starks or Harris, who could power for big gains.

Play action, has forever...has to run, though.  The Bengals secondary has done a fantastic job in many situations today.

Barclay got away with a hold.

3rd-4 at GB 39: Franklin!  Swing pass and he gets the job done.  Wideouts are blocking big, too.

3rd-4 at CIN 44: Adversity offense.  Clutch plays.  Packers have made them all day.  Have to again.

FANTASTIC GRAB AGAIN!  Jordy Nelson inside the 40.  Baryshnikov in cleats.

Franklin patient.  Four yards.  Perfectly OK.  Got what he could.

Uh oh.  Big adversity now as a sack forced by pushing EDS into Rodgers.

3rd-13 at CIN 42: COBB!  First down?  WR screen JUST did the job.  "Lots of want-to by Randall Cobb." - Larry McCarren

Ooooh...I don't think that's a first down.  When knee was down, Ball was JUST short of the TV yellow line.  

Marvin Lewis challenges, and for proper reason.  I think he gets this.

Decision time.  Field goal?  Go for it?  They are going.  I don't like this.  Shades of 4th-26 game.

Franklin...nope...ball loose...and the Bengals take it in .  Worst outcome possible.

2:36 p.m.  Bengals' 1st Drive  13:41
Green Bay 30, Cincinnati 27
Dalton-Jones 11 yd TD pass
(kick blocked)
Uh oh.  Bernard got 27 of the first 95 yards the Bengals want on a screen pass.  A.J. Hawk got picked off on a pick play, and no refs saw it.

Dalton proves he can't throw the deep ball accurately again.  Sam Shields blankets him deep again.

"He was cheek to cheek right down the sidelines." - Larry McCarren.

3rd-8 at CIN 38: Wide open: Marvin Jones and another 15 yards more.  Tramon Williams with a late tackle far out of bounds.  Not smart.

Character time, now, boys. Character time.

Green beats Shields short on a comeback pattern.  Shields, for good reason, worried about the bomb.

11 yards from pay dirt...diving catch by Marvin Jones.  We got a ball game.


2:32 p.m.  Packers' 1st Drive  continued from 3rd quarter
Rodgers...Franklin...dump off.  Five yards.  That's OK.

PICK. Ugh. Mistake throw. Leon Hall covered Randall Cobb perfectly. Rodgers should have looked him off.

Um, remember who won.

3rd Quarter

2:29 p.m.  Packers' 4th Drive  :27
Rodgers has to run himself and gets 18 yards.  Play action gave him the time to buy.  They respect Jonathan Franklin.

2:24 p.m.  Bengals' 3rd Drive  3:01
Scheme of pass play gets Gresham wide open for 11 yards.  Just good play design.  Bengals coaches win on first play.

HUGE SACK!  Tramon Williams!  Packers get it done without the Claymaker.

Bernard.  "One tough cookie to bring down." - Wayne Larrivee.  Big 2nd down gain.

3rd-6 at GB 31: Dalton against a blitz, audibles...blitz wins!  Daniels got it done.  Two of three plays with sacks, without Claymaker.

4th-9 at GB 34: Field goal time.

Nope.  Pulled left, like my drives on the golf course.

2:20 p.m.  Packers' 3rd Drive  3:50
If I were the Bengals there, I would have gone for two.  One score game.

Ross had a foot out of bounds...and Jeremy Ross was Johnny on the Spot seeing the ball was out of bounds at the one yard line.  Smart.  Extra 20 yards.

60 yards from a 16-point game.  Just hope Franklin stays healthy.

OMG.  Jones JUST misses a miraculous catch deep downfield.  Rodgers JUST missed him.

3rd-3 at GB 47: Pick.  Newman.  Mo big time with Cincy now.

2:14 p.m.  Bengals' 2nd Drive  5:20
Green Bay 30, Cincinnati 21
Dalton-Green TD pass.

Packers are dominating...with Finley, Matthews, Starks all sidelined.

Still 20-plus minutes left.  Packers have to continue dominating and put the pedal to the metal.  Put this game away against a contender.

Flaggage on late hit?  Shields had Green down when Nick Perry late hit him.  I don't think it was for a really late hit, but for aiming with the head.

Bernard lathers big.  Huge hole on the right side, then Banjo nearly flipped him over.

Dalton...Sam Shields beaten by Green.  Pump fake did him in.

2:06 p.m.  Packers' 2nd Drive  7:18
Green Bay 30, Cincinnati 14
Rodgers-Jones 7 yd TD pass

92 yards from a 16-point lead.

Here we go!  FRANKLIN!  Caught from behind after 51 yards!

WHOA!  Nelson with the perfect sideline catch again!  1st and goal!  30 yards.  Amazing.  The Bolshoi Ballet is calling.

1st-goal at CIN 7: JAMES JONES!  That quickly, the game is in the Packers control.

WHOA...helmet to Rodgers knee.  Dirty.

Rodgers is hot...but this time, hot, motivated, determined and happy.

1:56 p.m.  Bengals' 1st Drive  11:40
Credit three things for this Packers momentum swing: opportunistic defense, Jonathan Franklin on the last drive and the call to defer to the second half, then get the football.  I always say the first five minutes of the second half define the course of the game more than any other.

Last two times Packers won game without a Rodgers TD pass: 2010 NFC Title Game, 2012 vs. Detroit.  Could happen today, but a lot of football left.

3rd-3 at CIN 31: Green gets his first catch.  Six yards, but enough for the first.  Credit this Packers defense for shutting him down.

Uh oh.  Sanu gets lathered up.  He drags defenders 10 yards.  Tough YAC.

No Matthews.  Interesting.  Why?

3rd-7 at GB 38: Sanu was open...and he dropped it.  Far short of first down  yardage anyway.

Clay Matthews questionable for return with hamstring problem.

1:45 p.m.  Packers' 1st Drive  15:00 left in 3rd quarter
Green Bay 23, Cincinnati 14
Franklin 2 yd TD run

If you would have told me the Packers wouldn't have a touchdown by their offense and lead the Bengals, I thought you would have been crazy.  But it's the Packers winning despite their offensive failures.

Rodgers is having trouble finding open receivers initially.  Bengals with great coverage...until FINALLY Rodgers gets Cobb deep.  26 yards.  Whoa do they need more of those.

Uh oh.

Franklin slams for a first down. Little man runs inside for his first carry as a pro.


3rd-10 at CIN 42: Flaggage in the backfield.  Personal foul - roughing the passer.

Franklin with great running!  Great patience to set up his blocks for 8 yards for first and goal.

1st-goal at CIN 8: Franklin fell on an inaccurate screen pass, but caught it, got back up, halfway to pay dirt.

2nd-goal at CIN 2: Franklin!  WOW!

2nd Quarter

1:19 p.m.  Packers' 4th Drive  5:35
Green Bay 16, Cincinnati 14
Crosby 26 yd FG

Great combo blocking means great Starks running.  Gotta ride that to get some help for Rodgers.

3rd-1 at CIN 30: JAMES JONES!  Special catch.  Tack 15 yards on for helmet-to-helmet.

Starks.  Again.  BIG hole.  11 yards on a fantastic off-tackle cut back.  Ryan Taylor can block.

Quarless.  First down catch.  NOW the offense is moving.  See what a good running game can do to stop a great pass rushing team?

Rodgers to Jones...clockwork.  This is what this offense can do.  Domination.

Now under two minutes...2nd goal at CIN 4: Dunlop.  Big sack of Rodgers.  The 7-up is dangerous. You never know when it will wreak havoc.

3rd-goal at CIN 12: A frustrated Rodgers has to call time out.

Nelson thrown short at the 8 yard line.  Packers will get the lead...but it could have been SO MUCH more.

1:16 p.m.  Bengals' 4th Drive  6:32
Shields blankets a bomb for A.J. Green.  He's been quiet, thanks to Shields.

3rd-7 at CIN 34: No flag on McMillan who was all over his receiver, Gresham.  May have been some pushing and shoving.

1:05 p.m.  Packers' 3rd Drive  9:43
Cincinnati 14, Green Bay 13
Crosby 19 yd FG

21 yards from the lead...Starks does his thing.  Patience.  Let your blockers dominate.  Then sift through.  Eight yards.

Starks gets 3 straight carries.  On 1st-10 from the 10.5, the Bengals were ready this time.

Rodgers is off on these end zone throws, but this time, Adam Jones held James Jones.  Four more tries to tie the lead.

1st-goal at CIN 5: Rodgers with forever...but fantastic Bengals secondary coverage.  

3rd-goal at CIN 3: ARod key pass?  Nope.  No one open.  Bengals diagnosed perfectly.  Rodgers slammed at sideline at 1 yard line.  Not out of bounds, but slammed hard.

You KNOW he wants to go for it and take advantage of these turnovers, but McCarthy takes the points.

Afterward, Rodgers gets angry. 

Watch what happens.

1:01 p.m.  Bengals' 3rd Drive  11:22
"A.J. Hawk has had a very active first 19 minutes of this game...he's playing in his home state."

He is all over the field, making tackles.

Jennings on the blitz!  Chases him down for a sack.

3rd-8 at CIN 27:Another blitz...ANOTHER TURNOVER!  BRAD JONES with the recovery!

Who caused the fumble?

This defense is saving the game.  But Rodgers and co. will still have to win it.

12:56 p.m.  Bengals' 2nd Drive  12:48
Cincinnat 14, Green Bay 10
Jennings 25 yd fumble return

Bengals are pushing Green Bay's front four off the ball.  Big time. 

FUMBLE!  M.D. JENNINGS!  Sprinting in!  We have a ball game!  

"The doctor with a house call!" - Wayne Larrivee.

12:50 p.m.  Packers' 2nd Drive  14:01
37 yards now from paydirt. 

But another 3 and out? 

3rd-7 at CIN 34: End zone...bombage...for Jones...but Pac-Man with the coverage.  Overthrown ball, too.  Rodgers is off his game.  BUT holding gives the Packers new life - though it drives them out of field goal range.

3rd-17 at CIN 44: ARod...sacked.  This front 7 is dominating.  He did not have his normal scrambling ability.  He may have been hurt on the previous play.

12:48 p.m.  Bengals' 1st Drive  14:56
FUMBLE ON GRESHAM!  Too many turnovers for Cincinnati to keep this a blowout at this pace.  Rodgers will get this team going into the end zone.

12:46 p.m.  Packers' 1st Drive  continued from 1st Quarter
Cincinnati 14, Green Bay 3
Crosby 40 yd FG

He gets the job done.  Momentum slightly repulsed by the Packers.

1st Quarter

12:42 p.m.  Packers' 3rd Drive  :43
DuJuan Harris still has hope.

3rd-6 at CIN 23: TD does so much more than field goal here in momentum-swinging.

ARod for Cobb...flaggage after being tied up?  Not sure.  Blanket coverage.

12:32 p.m.  Bengals' 4th Drive  3:53
You said it right, Dan.

98 yards from paydirt this time.  Read earlier post about field position possibly being their best defender.  (Though offense has to take advantage of good field position.)

3rd-2 at CIN10: Bernard goes east, goes west, gets slammed at the first down marker.  VERY generous spot.

Hawk with a great job on Gresham.  Credit Hyde with initial bump on him to give Hawk a chance to cover.

3rd-5 at CIN 17: THERE'S THE BREAK!  Shields in front of Green.  Blanket coverage of an underthrow.

12:30 p.m.  Packers' 2nd Drive  5:09
58 yards away from tying this game.

3rd-6.5 at CIN 45.5 (yes, we use decimal points here): sack time.  Rodgers pumped...but Johnson was free on a stunt.  Dietrich-Smith tripped trying to cover Johnson and he just bull-rushed him.

12:27 p.m.  Bengals' 3rd Drive  6:43
92 yards from paydirt.  Field position may be their best defender.

Packers diagnose jet sweep well.  Johnny Jolly destroyed it for -1.  Must have attended Badgers practice.

3rd-6 at CIN 13: Dalton off target.  Wanted Marvin Jones.  Threw closer to Marvin Lewis.

Ross back again for a punt...uh...uh...phew.

12:18 p.m.  Packers' 1st Drive  9:08
Ross was on for the kickoff and caught this one.  On the end line.

If there is a QB who I want when my team's 14 points down before the offense touches the ball, it's Rodgers.

Though it helps when Dietrich-Smith dominates his guy up front and Starks slams for 13 yards on the first play.

Nelson with a back shoulder grab while doing a Pete Rose impersonation (sliding, not gambling) for a first down.

No-huddle time...and Dunlap was ready to eat Starks for lunch.  He destroyed Barclay.

3rd-11 at CIN 46: the kind of a play this team desparately needs to swing the momentum.

Finley...diving...fabulous throw...Finley shaken up.  Shoulder to helmet.  He wobbled onto his feet, then fell flat on it again.  The TE/RB/BB (blocking back) position is getting decimated by helmet hits.

12:12 p.m.  Bengals' 2nd Drive  9:20
Cincinnati 14, Green Bay 0
Green-Ellis 2 yd TD run

Uh oh.  Muff.  Ross.  Right through his mitts.  Twice - first on the kickoff, second during the scramble for the ball.  He may have just lost his job.

Larry McCarren agrees.  Seconds later: "I think Jeremy Ross just lost the kickoff return job."

Then some serious extracurriculars which were not penalized.

1st-goal at GB 2: Green-Ellis.  Easy.  Big adversity now.

"There could not be a worse start." - Wayne Larrivee

12:02 p.m.  Bengals' 1st Drive  15:00 left in 1st quarter
Cincinnati 7, Green Bay 0
Bernard 3 yd TD run

Already "Go Pack Go" chants at Paul Brown Stadium.  Those preceed Masthay booting the opening kickoff into the Ohio River.

Chris Banjo starts at safety.  He's not starting capable normally w/Burnett, but he's earned his chance.  Great story.

Green-Ellis with fantastic blocking from the Cincinnati O-line.  Moved four-five yards off the ball at the point of the cut.  First down run.  Does not bode well for a Packers squad that wants more drive opportunities.  Bengals want to cut them down.

Uh oh.  Dalton can get big plays from his receivers after YAC.  Williams missed an open field tackle, and Sanu got big yards.  He really tried to deflect the pass, and he not only missed there, but missed getting Sanu down.  Big yardage.

Ty Dunne of the Journal Sentinel saw the same thing.

3rd-4 at GB 19: Sanu again.  First down.  Hyde burned.  Bad matchup.

1st-goal at GB 5: Bernard, the danger back, but Hawk smashed him for just two.

2nd-goal at GB 3: Bernard flies over Hyde.  Adversity time.

Pregame updates

12:00 p.m.
Coin flp time: Packers call tails which never fails.  As usual, they do the smart thing and defer to get second half momentum.  The first five minutes of the second half are always the game's true tone-setters.

11:36 a.m.
McCarthy exclusively with Wayne Larrivee:

On Bengals:
"Very talented on both sides of the ball up front...defense is 8-man deep.  Big offensive line."

On "7-up" scheme:
"Any time you line up seven defenders on the line of get immediate threats to every single gap.  Recognition, who's coming, who's not coming.  They do a good job of holding it to the last possible second."

On offensive keys:
"Running attempts, taking care of the football; on the perimeter, we've got to break tackles."

On defensive keys:
"Controlled passing game in the middle...we've got to win the turnover ratio."

11:34 a.m.
McCarthy with Wayne Larrivee:

On tough early-season tests:
"You definitely have a full understanding of the kind of team you have, especially with these road games."

On James Starks:
"James has played good football for us in the past."

"James has grabbed a hold of the opportunity...we're going to need him today."

11:13 a.m.
Tom Silverstein with an interesting nugget about who'll be playing blocking back...what the rest of the world knows as fullback.

10:50 a.m.
A big key today - the speed at which Aaron Rodgers accurately gets rid of the football and the pass protection he gets to do it.

As our Lance Allan says:

10:34 a.m.
Complete list of Packers inactives:
- DE Josh Boyd
- S Morgan Burnett
- CB Jarrett Bush
- CB Casey Hayward
- FB John Kuhn
- RB Eddie Lacy
- G Lane Taylor

Bengals inactives:

10:31 a.m.
Eddie Lacy won't be watching Eddie Lacy, according to ESPN's Rob Demovsky:

10:20 a.m.
Will Eddie Lacy and John Kuhn play?  They're finding out right now, according to Voice of the Packers Wayne Larrivee.

10:09 a.m.
Bengals are "a tough out." - Larry McCarren on Packers Gameday. Listen live NOW!

Here's a preview of this game involving said "tough out" from Jeff Falconio.

9:48 a.m.
Steve Wyche of NFL Network reports on their pregame show that it's unlikely Eddie Lacy will play.

We've known that for much of this week.  After all, he hasn't practiced.  However, it's better to at least give the other team the impression that it's possible he may play.

Pregame story

Every game in the National Football League is a test.  Some are just tougher, more telling and more defining than others.

The Packers continue their early-season gauntlet with their third straight game against a playoff team, and the second on the road, as they face the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.

The Packers come into the contest with the hottest offense in the National Football League.

No, not just the hottest - one on an early-season pace to set records.

The protectors of Aaron Rodgers and escorts for James Starks and company will have to face a defense with a powerful seven-man pass rush scheme that confuses offenses - and punishes them.

The Packers come into the game with only two truly healthy running backs, and possibly a third, if it's deemed Eddie Lacy is healthy enough from his concussion in the Washington game.

The defense also comes in a bit banged up, too...with the continued loss of Morgan Burnett in the secondary.  It will mean a ton to this defense when he comes back.

A lot to consider with kickoff coming at noon CT.

Waiting around for the big game?  Why not upgrade your phone...

...admire artwork...

...go shopping...

...just don'