Green Bay Packers Quarterbak Aaron Rodgers looks to pass against the Washington Redskins in their pre-season game at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland on August 19, 2017. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Master of the Free Play, beat the Cincinnati Bengals 27-24 in overtime on Sunday.
On third-and-10, Rodgers coaxed defensive end Michael Johnson offside in OT. Rodgers took advantage of the free play and went deep to Geronimo Allison, who caught the ball at the Bengals' 44 and weaved his way through the secondary to the 7. One play later, Mason Crosby booted a 27-yard field goal to give the Packers the victory.
Cincinnati, which got 212 passing yards and two touchdowns from Andy Dalton, won the toss but went nowhere on a three-and-out possession.
Rodgers completed 28-of-42 passes for 313 yards and three touchdowns. The Packers rallied from a 21-7 deficit despite not having starting left tackle David Bakhtiari and receiver Randall Cobb, both of whom were inactive, and then losing right tackle Bryan Bulaga.
Behind 24-17 with 3:46 remaining in regulation, Rodgers hit receiver Allison for gains of 17, 11 and 3 yards and receiver Jordy Nelson for 10 yards to the Bengals' 33 at the two-minute warning. Completions of 5 yards to running back Ty Montgomery and 6 yards to tight end Martellus Bennett moved it to the 22, which was followed by a timeout with 1:13 left. Rodgers then connected with receiver Davante Adams for a gain of 9.
After an incomplete pass, Montgomery converted the third-and-1 with a run of 6. An offside penalty on rookie defensive end Carl Lawson made it first-and-goal at the 3. Rodgers rolled out to his right and fired a bullet to Nelson for the tying touchdown with 17 seconds remaining. Cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick almost broke up the pass.
The Packers trailed 21-7 at halftime, but dominated the third quarter. On the first play of the second half, Rodgers connected with tight end Lance Kendricks, who broke a tackle and gained 34. That seemed to jump-start the Packers after a listless first half. On third-and-goal from the 1, the Bengals sent a blitz. The Packers picked it up and Rodgers moved to his right. Kirkpatrick dropped coverage on receiver Nelson to come up on Rodgers. Rodgers then stopped and tossed the ball to Nelson, who was wide open in the end zone.
The Bengals had a chance to extend their lead, but safety Josh Jones sacked Dalton on third down and Randy Bullock was wide right from 48 yards.
On the ensuing possession, Green Bay cut the margin to 21-17. Rodgers' play-action fake on third-and-1 led to a 23-yard gain by Nelson, which set up Mason Crosby's 28-yard field goal on the third play of the fourth quarter.
The Bengals got a big stop with about 10 minutes to go when cornerback Josh Shaw broke up a third-and-5 pass to Bennett. The Packers failed to get a big stop on the ensuing possession. With the Bengals facing third-and-5 from their 14, rookie cornerback Kevin King was flagged for interference while defending star receiver A.J. Green. That prolonged a drive that took 5 minutes, 57 seconds off the clock and resulted in Bullock's 46-yard field goal to make it 24-17.
After the Bengals failed to score touchdowns in season-opening home losses to Baltimore and Houston, head coach Marvin Lewis fired offensive coordinator Ken Zampese and replaced him with quarterbacks coach Bill Lazor. The Bengals promptly scored touchdowns on two of their first three possessions against Green Bay's injury-depleted defense.
On the Bengals' opening drive, Dalton hit Green for a 10-yard touchdown on third-and-8.
The Packers answered, benefitting from two calls. The first was a gain of 33 on pass interference against cornerback Adam Jones. It appeared Jones accidentally stepped on the foot of Kendricks. Three plays later, on first down from the Bengals' 11, Rodgers fired a quick pass in the flat to Adams. Adams beat one defender at the line of scrimmage and then lunged for the end zone, with the ball popping out as he was hit by safety Shawn Williams near the goal line. The play initially was ruled a fumble, but was overturned on replay. On the next play, Rodgers' play-action fake freed up Kendricks for the touchdown.
Cincinnati pulled back in front on Dalton's 6-yard touchdown pass to running back Giovani Bernard. Bernard lined up as a receiver and motioned into the backfield. The Packers blew the coverage and Bernard tip-toed into the end zone. Bernard's weaving, 25-yard run set up the score.
Moments later, cornerback William Jackson intercepted Rodgers and raced 75 yards for a touchdown to seemingly put the Bengals in control at 21-7. Jackson undercut an out to Nelson, caught Rodgers' pass in stride and ran untouched up the right sideline.
Green Bay got booed back into the locker room, as it was outgained 192-78. Lawson had two of the Bengals' five sacks.
NOTES: The game-time temperature was 89, making this the hottest home game for the Packers since at least 1959. The previous high was 85, when the Packers hosted New Orleans in Milwaukee in 1978. ... Bengals CB William Jackson's interception return for a touchdown was the first against Rodgers in 4,502 attempts. ... The Packers had six starters on their inactive list, which included WR Randall Cobb, S Kentrell Brice, CB Davon House, OLB Nick Perry, LT David Bakhtiari and DT Mike Daniels. ... TE Tyler Eifert and RG Trey Hopkins were inactive for the Bengals. ... WR Jordy Nelson made his 65th and 66th career touchdowns reception, tying and passing Sterling Sharpe for second in Packers history behind Don Hutson's 99.