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Packers vs. Bengals: Quick Takes From Green Bay's 34-30 Loss

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Packers vs. Bengals: Quick Takes From Green Bay's 34-30 Loss

A wild contest that saw unanswered runs of 14, 30 and 20 points was lost Sunday by the Green Bay Packers (1-2), who rallied after falling behind early only to let the Cincinnati Bengals (2-1) score three-straight touchdowns over the final 19 minutes and win, 34-30.

It was over when…

…Aaron Rodgers' fourth-down pass fell incomplete with the Packers at Cincinnati's 20-yard line. A touchdown would have likely won the game, but Rodgers' attempt to James Jones was tipped at the line of scrimmage. It was a thud of an ending to a game that provided gut punch after gut punch to each side.

Game Balls

  • Jordy Nelson: There's simply no better receiver in the game at working along the sidelines than Nelson, who made a handful of acrobatic catches again Sunday. He finished with a game-high eight catches for 93 yards. Nelson has at least 60 yards receiving in each of Green Bay's first three games.
  • M.D. Jennings: Jennings' inclusion on this list highlights how difficult it was to pick out gameballs. Seemingly every player who had a positive play or two also had one or two big negatives (see: Johnathan Franklin, Sam Shields). Jennings gets recognition here for his scoop-and-score touchdown and first-half sack. He was Green Bay's best safety on this day, but that's not exactly saying a whole lot.

Key Stats

The Packers ran 77 plays and tallied 399 yards. However, the four turnovers were the team's most in a regular-season game since Week 3 of 2010, and 4-for-15 on third or fourth down and 2-for-4 scoring touchdowns in the red zone didn't cut it...Each team had four sacks...Aaron Rodgers threw two interceptions in a regular-season game for the first time in 41 appearances. It snapped the longest active streak in the NFL, and the longest overall streak since the 1970 merger. The last time he tossed two picks was in October of 2010...Johnathan Franklin rushed for 103 yards, which extended the Packers' streak of 100-yard rushers to two games...Green Bay's 182 rushing yards were its most since Week 7 of 2009, when the Packers rushed for 202 against Cleveland...Mason Crosby went 3-for-3 on kicks, and is now 4-for-4 on the season...All three of Tim Masthay's punts were downed inside the 20-yard line. He averaged 43.3 yards a kick Sunday...Bengals receiver A.J. Green caught a second-half touchdown but was otherwise held to four catches for 46 yards...The Packers are now 5-17 in games decided by four or fewer points with Rodgers at quarterback, and 0-20 when trailing a team with a winning record in the fourth quarter.

Other Notes

– No team in 14 years has scored 30 unanswered points and lost.

– It looked like the Packers essentially threw out a week's worth of offensive preparations once Jermichael Finley exited with a concussion in the first quarter. The entire offense lacked direction or sync once the tight end was out of the equation, and that hurt the Packers down the stretch. By scoring only 13 points off four Bengals turnovers, Green Bay wasted an opportunity to gain a cushion before half time.

– Don't mind the fourth-down run to Johnathan Franklin at all, but why up the middle? Sneak it with Rodgers if you're going to attack the most talented part of the Bengals defense. Or give Franklin a stretch play where he can read what's happening and make a cut, like he did so often and successfully Sunday. That was the one play when the injuries at running back cost the Packers.

– Not having Clay Matthews (hamstring) in the second half was a back-breaker. In fact, 168 of Andy Dalton's 235 passing yards and both touchdowns came after Matthews left the contest. The Packers can still get pressure without Matthews, but it's mostly manufactured pressure. His loss permeated throughout the entire front seven.

– Keep this in mind: The Packers were without starters at running back, safety, cornerback and eventually tight end and outside linebacker, plus backup running back and special teams gunner. Coughing up a 16-point second half lead is inexcusable, but that's a lot of talent to lose on the road against a good football team.

– The Packers weren't happy about a Week 4 bye when the schedule came out, but it really couldn't have come at a better time now. Green Bay needs to get physically and emotionally healthy before welcoming the Detroit Lions to Lambeau Field on Oct. 6.

Zach Kruse is a 25-year-old sports writer who contributes to Cheesehead TV, Bleacher Report and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He also covered prep sports for the Dunn Co. News. You can reach him on Twitter @zachkruse2 or by email at zachkruse2@gmail.com.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (37) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Nerd's picture

We were missing a ton of starters, that's true.

It's just disheartening to see what we are capable of, yet still losing. I feel like this team consistently underperforms.

Am I worried, not at this point. Just disappointed.

TommyG's picture

Zach, you nailed it. I truely did not think I would be blaming a loss on AR and our offense this year. Our D played out of their mind and the offense let them down.
Franklin showed that he has big time skills despite the game losing fumble. Holy crap, where were those cuts in preseason???
In the end, i'm at a loss. I simply cannot remember a game where in our D played that well and we still lost.
I picked us to go 11-5, with today being a loss. I still believe in that record despite our offense(?) not showing up.

Nerd's picture

How many weeks in a row are we gonna have a star player removed from the game after an uncalled shot to the head?

The rules are there for a reason.

Maybe we need to get some goons on this roster to send a message that our players are going to be protected.

Doug In Sandpoint's picture

It will be a long 2 weeks before we get to kick the stuffing out of the Lions. And we better win that one by at least 30.

lennysmalls's picture

Can't the Packers' strength and conditioning staff earn some of the blame here? How many injuries have the Packers had (many at key positions) compared to the rest of the league since the McCarthy regime took over? 11-5 is laughable right now. 8-8 at best, which isn't such a bad thing. It's looking like a re-building year, and they would be wise to revisit their draft-and-hold strategy, but unfortunately with salary-cap space dwindling within a few years, next year may be the best year to explore free agent signings at key positions. The draft hasn't served Thompson all that well the last few years, other than Cobb, and when do we start grading players' durability as well as ability in their overall value?

Goody's picture

I would still say 11-5 is in reach, don't knee jerk react so much. Get some of those players healthy and the Packers will do just fine. I do agree with the strength and conditioning, I've been saying that since '10 and the Packers did just fine with petty injuries

jeremy's picture

I have learned that questioning the Packers’ strength and conditioning staff is off limits. They do no wrong, are not responsible for any injury, and ought never change the way they do things even when there are an unprecedented number of hamstring pulls in mild weather.

jack in jersey city's picture

i'm thinking 10-6 or maybe 11-5 is pretty reasonable. two of our toughest games happened in the first 3 weeks so don't freak out too much. i think we can sweep our division and the giants, steelers and eagles don't look like much right now. i'm still hopeful!

hayward4president's picture

We WILL beat the cowboys !

Stroh's picture

See there you go proving why you have no right to question injuries! Weather had no affect on them. Mild weather, cold weather, rain, snow doesn't matter! That's a myth you have planted in your head.

jeremy's picture

Muscle dehydration (which increases during hot and very cold weather) leads to increased incidences of hamstring pulls. There is a ton of literature on it.

Stroh's picture

And you don't think that players stay very hydrated during a game? Right...

jeremy's picture

"And you don’t think that players stay very hydrated during a game?"

Every player, all the time, in every game... No. Dehydration, however, is just one example.

BTW, I have a right to question whatever I want. If you don't like it, I don't care. I've seen some absolutely ridiculous and baseless comments on this site with the name Stroh attached to them. I remember you have a reputation for being "hostile" and "very pessimistic" over at Acme Packing Company.

Chad Toporski's picture

Yeah, someone on the strength and conditioning team should really do something about those concussions... Losing Lacy and Finley to those kinds of hits is inexcusable and all their fault!!

jeremy's picture

Someone let's Finley wear that 1980's technology helmet, instead of the newer scientifically proven to be better version.

Clay's picture

Someone "let's" you write things that you don't know for a fact using improper grammar. "Let's" is a possessive form of the word. Quit wasting the time of Packers fans who want intelligent commentary and analysis.

jeremy's picture

"It's" a typo from a smart phone. Thanks for your "Intelligent analysis" of my comment.

Fi crane's picture

I see nobody bit on The draft comment. Eapecially On the day that Franklin was unleashed??

Evan's picture

And Datone had a blocked FG and a sack/fumble.

mudduckcheesehead's picture

Stop feeding the cow.

Goody's picture

Only other thing that bugged me was Rodger's second interception. The streaks down field were not working, they should of kept running and dinking and dunking it and could of had another FG to make it 33-21 at that point.

MarkinMadison's picture

I looked at the schedule at the beginning of the year, and two of the six losses I figured would come against San Fran and the Bengals. I'm very encouraged by what I've seen from the defense overall. Bakhtiari has exceeded all reasonable expectations. This is a good team that will be better after the bye. They will roll the division and be in the playoffs. Then the fun starts. GO PACK GO.

Idiot Fan's picture

I'm with you man

Stroh's picture

Bahktiari has not performed very well at all. For christs sake he couldn't perform a cut block on the 4th down call at the end of the game! All he did was lay down at the DE feet and expect him to fall down for him! He's got to start doing a lot better IMO. He's given up what about 5 sacks so far? I'll take Newhouse over that shit!

Idiot Fan's picture

Bakh and Barclay are tied for 18th out of 68 in the PFF tackle rankings. That seems respectable for young bucks making their first starts against very good Dlines.

jh9's picture

The problem is that they are both on the same O'line along with EDS. We have way too many mistakes on the O'line. Because of their inability to hold off pass rushers, AR is forced into a quick passing game. It worked well last week but the Bengals played press coverage with a DB in the grill of all the receivers. AR didn't even have time to fake the short pass and go over the top.

If the Packers are willing to allow Bak his mistakes and write them off to a learning curve, fine. But we can't have the Center and RT getting beat at the same time. We need better talent on our O'line or we're just going through the motions this season.

FITZCORE 1252'S EVO's picture

Agreed. I wouldn't be surprised if this team rattled off seven or eight in a row. This is a good team, just need to catch a friggin break with these injuries, shit's getting ridiculous.

FITZCORE 1252'S EVO's picture

'Bakhtiari has exceeded all reasonable expectations"

100%

redlights's picture

I agree that SF and CIN were not a complete surprise. Two good teams.

Gibbs says there is no such thing as a coincidence. So why the hammies? Knees and heads; tragic but fine. Hammies too closely related to stretching.

rjw's picture

Someone in the media needs to be asking why GB leads the league in hamstring injuries every year under MM. They have two weeks to get more players on the field but after game competition resumes we'll see more of the same kind of injuries.

Ma Linger's picture

Actually the media analyst were questioning just that on Sunday as to what was going on with this.
Here's my issue. You can never really examine yourself for flaws. The forest for the tree's sydrom.
Thus, how does the Pack Org. know one way or the other if there is a problem without bringing in outside experts to take a look see.
How much could it costs and why not?

Ruppert's picture

Great point about throwing out the gameplan once Finley got hurt.

If you would have told me we would have rushed 30 times for 182 as a team, I would have bet the house on a win. Good thing I don't bet.

What a bizarre game.

When Rodgers takes a couple of good shots, he has a tendency to play poorly the rest of the game. Our O line sucks. Today is what can happen because of it.

THEMichaelRose's picture

I used to kind of browse past all the records of Rodgers when the game is close, or he's coming from behind. But now, the sample size is becoming meaningful and I think the argument could be made there's some legitimate relationship there.
The question then for me becomes whether it's Rodgers or McCarthy or the team's attitude and confidence as a whole. I'd argue it's not Rodgers. He's too good, and now savvy with experience, for his play to drop off in those situations. I wonder what the stats say. It could be McCarthy through his play calling or game management. But the team as a whole, which is always one of the youngest (and therefore most inexperienced) teams in the league, is used to being in front, and is probably just not nearly as comfortable coming from behind and needing to execute.

Lou's picture

You nailed it, it is McCarthy, note the following stat;

McCarthy has won at a 65% clip in his career. However, in games decided by four points or fewer his teams are 9-20, counting playoffs. Of his two quarterbacks, Rodgers is 6-18 and Brett Favre was 3-2.

With 2 MVP QB's, it all on the offensive "guru" calling the plays to have that kind of record.

THEMichaelRose's picture

Brett Favre being 3-2 is a small sample size, but that's much better on a % basis than Rodgers.

I think it'd be more fair to Rodgers and McCarthy's records to throw out Rodgers' first year starting. They were 0-7 in games decided by 4 points or less that season. I'm not saying those games didn't count or anything, but I think that season is a strong outlier.

xuyee's picture

Blocked. Extra. Point. :)

hayward4president's picture

Lacy start over Franklin? Hmmmmm.

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