The Cincinnati Bengals were bad for so many years. The orange and black striped helmets became a symbol of an easy win for an opposing team. My how things have changed. After two straight playoff appearances, Marvin Lewis and company are positioned to turn the corner this season and finally become legitimate contenders in the AFC. Scoring big wins like they did today against the Packers is a perfect way for the Bengals to do just that.
Far from a perfect win, the Bengals 34-30 victory over Green Bay was probably the most entertaining contest of the NFL weekend. Turnovers proved to be the focal point in what was a far sloppier game than anyone could have anticipated from two playoff teams from a year ago. But scrappy wins count just the same, and this one will build momentum.
The Bengals defense dominated the Packers offense, despite the fact that they allowed 30 points. Aaron Rodgers was pressured throughout the day, hardly ever given enough time to properly survey the field. Knocked on his back time and time again, the frustration was visible on the face of the former MVP at times on Sunday.
Cincinnati was able to come up with four turnovers, two of which were Rodgers interceptions. That almost never happens.
Any time your defense forces four turnovers, you probably won the game. That wasn’t the case for the Packers, who also forced four turnovers on the day. Someone had to lose, and today it was Green Bay.
Rookie running backs also made an impact on today’s contest. Giovani Bernard of the Bengals solidified his case to take over the lion’s share of carries in the Bengals backfield, rushing for 50 yards on 10 carries including a touchdown. He also added 49 yards on four catches.
For Green Bay, Jonathan Franklin from USC finally got a shot to show what he brings to the table. The result was an effort that will make fans forget about what James Starks did against the Redskins. On just 13 carries, he was able to total 103 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Add in 23 more yards through the air and you have one heck of a debut.
It wasn’t a perfect debut for Franklin however, he fumbled away a fourth and one carry. That carry turned into a Bengals recovery by Reggie Nelson. Randall Cobb would strip Nelson of the ball, only for it to bounce into Terrence Newman’s arms. Newman would run the ball into the end zone to take the lead for the Bengals at 34-30.
The Bengals defense would hold strong against Rodgers and the Packers to close out the victory.
Senior Sports Editor
The Guardian Express