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Defense carries Bengals to victory over Packers

It wasn't pretty for the Cincinnati Bengals, but Mike Zimmer's defense carried the day in the 34-30 victory over the Green Bay Packers in Week 3.

Overcoming four first-half turnovers, the Bengals' defense harassed Aaron Rodgers all afternoon. Rodgers took four sacks, was hit at least a dozen times and threw multiple interceptions Sunday for the first time since Week 7 of the 2010 season.

This game was the first indication that Rodgers could be in trouble in the coming weeks with rookie David Bakhtiari guarding his blind side. Bengals defensive end Michael Johnson dominated the matchup to the tune of 1.5 sacks, seven tackles and four hits on the quarterback.

In a roller-coaster game, the Packers were still in command when cornerback Terence Newman scooped up a fumble from third-string running back Johnathan Franklin for a game-changing 58-yard touchdown.

Johnson sealed the victory by knocking down Rodgers' fourth-down pass in the red zone with just over a minute remaining.

Here's what else we learned in Sunday's game:

  1. The bye week couldn't come at a better time for the Packers' offense. With Eddie Lacy (concussion) already out, fill-in starter James Starks went down with a knee injury just before halftime. Rookie Franklin, who was impressive before the fumble, left with an ankle injury late in the game. With no running backs available, wide receiver Jeremy Ross lined up in the backfield on the final couple of plays. Green Bay also lost Jermichael Finley to a concussion.

On NFL Network
NFL Replay
will re-air the Cincinnati Bengals' 34-30 win over the Green Bay  Packers in Week 3 on Wednesday, Sept. 25 at 9 p.m. ET.

  1. Jordy Nelson might be the NFL's best "boundary" receiver since Hall of Famer Cris Carter. He made another couple of acrobatic sideline catches while reeling in eight of nine targets. No wide receiver has more touchdowns since the start of the 2011 season.
  1. Last week, it was Ike Taylor with safety help over the top. This week, it was Sam Shields who locked up A.J. Green for most of the afternoon. Green did beat Shields for a 20-yard touchdown catch that ended 30 unanswered points for the Packers in the second and third quarters.
  1. Clay Matthews did not return after leaving with a hamstring injury. His exit coincided with a pair of Bengals touchdowns after a 30-0 Packers run.
  1. Rodgers is now 5-17 as a starting quarterback in games decided by four points or less.

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