Sunday, September 22, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Bengals 34, Packers 30
By Coley Harvey
CINCINNATI -- A few thoughts on the Cincinnati Bengals' 34-30 win over the Green Bay Packers:
What it means: With the win, Cincinnati improves to 2-1 ahead of next week's division game at Cleveland. As the Bengals step back into AFC North play, the victory gives them much-needed momentum. It also should serve as a real confidence boost. One week after tying offensive franchise records in its win over Washington, Green Bay was mostly held in check by a Bengals defense that, despite numerous adverse situations, had another strong showing Sunday. After giving up 30 unanswered points in the second and third quarters, the unit played a key role in the Bengals' charging back for the four-point victory.
Stock watch: Cincinnati's defense wasn't handed very many favors by its offense, as turnovers and poor starting field position backed the unit into its own end zone often. Three times the Bengals had to turn to their goal-line setup. Twice, they held the Packers to field goals. The other goal-line situation resulted in a Green Bay touchdown. In addition to mostly remaining firm deep in its own territory, Cincinnati's defense also recorded two interceptions en route to keeping a quarterback under 300 yards for an active league-record 17th straight game. Last week, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers tied a franchise record with a 480-yard performance. On Sunday, Terence Newman jumped a route for the Bengals' first interception. Leon Hall was in perfect position to catch another deep in Bengals territory.
Hurting themselves? Entering Sunday's game, the Bengals' biggest miscues always seemed to be the product of penalties. But for the first time this season, turnovers became a major issue, and nearly cost them the game. Yes, the Bengals threw a pair of interceptions in their season-opening loss at Chicago two weeks ago, but at least those turnovers were spread throughout the game. The penalties primarily led to that loss. During one seven-minute stretch, Cincinnati lost two fumbles and threw an interception. In one late 20-second stretch, though, the Bengals recovered the game's biggest fumble on Newman's 58-yard touchdown return.
What's Next: Cincinnati returns to action next week when it travels to Cleveland for its second AFC North game of the season. After beating Pittsburgh 20-10 on Monday night, the Bengals will be looking to prove they can be consistent in the division. The last trip to Cleveland didn't go well for the Bengals. They lost 34-24.