1:00 PM ET, September 22, 2013
Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, OH
Bengals rally from 16 down, top Packers in turnover-filled thriller
CINCINNATI -- A game full of weirdness came down to the final flub, one that bounced right into Terence Newman's arms.
The cornerback 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.
"We learned some valuable lessons and survived one today that you don't survive very often," coach Marvin Lewis said.
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• Stats & Info: Dalton gets it done
The lesson? Just hold onto the ball.
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. Green Bay scored 30 consecutive points and lost.
And no, the weather wasn't a factor. Nobody could blame the cool, sunny afternoon for all the oddities.
"There's been a lot of crazy games since I've been here," seventh-year cornerback Leon Hall said. "But that one's up there. Top three."
It was the first time in 14 years that a team won after allowing an opponent to score 30 consecutive points in a game.
"We didn't flinch," safety Reggie Nelson said. "You expect a great team like that to score."
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.
"It was a frustrating game," Rodgers said. "We spot 'em 14, score 30 in a row and they get 20. I played poorly and the defense played well enough for us to win."
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 at the line, Nelson picked it up and started to run but fumbled -- of course! -- and Newman scooped it up and went the rest of the way.
"I saw Reggie pick it up and I was trying to get a block and somebody was trying to tackle him," Newman said. "I was screaming: Pitch it! Pitch it! Next thing I know, I saw the ball pop loose. It took a nice little bounce where I could just grab it and run."
When he reached the end zone, Newman jumped into the stands in celebration.
"I know they were a big Lambeau leap team, so I wanted to jump up there," Newman said. "I saw a bunch of fans over there. I don't know what came over me. I'll never do that again."
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.
The last time a team won a game after giving up 30 straight points was Sept. 12, 1999, when Dallas rallied to beat Washington 41-35 in overtime after the Redskins scored 32 unanswered points. ... Starks ran for 132 yards in a 38-20 win at Washington last week, ending Green Bay's streak of 45 games without a 100-yard rusher. Now, they have back-to-back games with a 100-yard rusher. ... The Packers had only 16 turnovers last season, second-fewest in the NFL.
Team Stat Comparison
Passing 1st downs
Rushing 1st downs
1st downs from penalties
3rd down efficiency
4th down efficiency
|Yards per play||5.2||5.3|
Yards per pass
Yards per rush
|Red Zone (Made-Att)||2-4||3-3|
|Defensive / Special Teams TDs||1||1|
|TD||9:27||Giovani Bernard 3 Yard Run (Mike Nugent Kick is Good)|
Drive info: 10 plays, 80 yds, 5:40
|TD||9:12||Benjarvus Green-Ellis 2 Yard Run (Mike Nugent Kick is Good)|
Drive info: 1 plays, 2 yds, 0:12
|FG||15:00||Mason Crosby 41 Yard Field Goal is Good|
Drive info: 4 plays, 3 yds, 0:46
|TD||11:31||M.D. Jennings 24 Yard Fumble Return (Mason Crosby Kick is Good)|
Drive info: 3 plays, 9 yds, 1:18
|FG||6:36||Mason Crosby 19 Yard Field Goal is Good|
Drive info: 7 plays, 20 yds, 3:11
|FG||0:03||Mason Crosby 26 Yard Field Goal is Good|
Drive info: 12 plays, 70 yds, 5:35
|TD||11:44||Johnathan Franklin 2 Yard Run (Mason Crosby Kick is Good)|
Drive info: 9 plays, 80 yds, 3:20
|TD||5:36||James Jones 7 Yard Pass From Aaron Rodgers (Mason Crosby Kick is Good)|
Drive info: 5 plays, 92 yds, 1:48
|TD||3:55||A.J. Green 20 Yard Pass From Andy Dalton (Mike Nugent Kick is Good)|
Drive info: 4 plays, 65 yds, 1:40
|TD||11:04||Marvin Jones 11 Yard Pass From Andy Dalton (Mike Nugent Kick is No Good)|
Drive info: 7 plays, 95 yds, 2:46
|TD||4:01||Terence Newman 58 Yard Fumble Return (Mike Nugent Kick is Good)|
Drive info: 11 plays, 49 yds, 7:08
From Elias: Bengals: 2nd team to have a lead of at least 14-0, give up 30 or more unanswered points, then win anyway. The other was the 1951 Packers, who led the Steelers 28-0, gave up 33 unanswered points, but won anyway, 35-33.
The Bengals limited the Packers' wide receivers Sunday, holding them to 47 yards after the catch. Last week against the Redskins, Packers wide receivers gained 178 yards after the catch.[+]
Aaron Rodgers Targeting Wide Receivers - This Season
Aaron Rodgers had three passes batted down at the line of scrimmage in the final two minutes of the fourth quarter Sunday, including his final attempt on 4th-and-5 with 1:25 remaining. Rodgers had only one game in the last five seasons with three passes batted down entering Sunday.
From Elias: In his career, Aaron Rodgers is now 5-17 in games decided by 4 points or less.
ESPN Stats & Information