Packers blow 16-point lead, lose to Bengals 34-30

By JOE KAY - AP Sports Writer
    2013-09-22 17:54

CINCINNATI (AP) - The Packers have lost their knack for finishing `em off.

After a week of hearing coach Mike McCarthy stress the need for a solid fourth quarter, Green Bay went out and let one get away on Sunday. Terence Newman returned a fumble 58 yards for a touchdown with 3:47 left, rallying the Cincinnati Bengals to a 34-30 victory.

A game full of flubs came down to who made the last one. And it was the Packers - again.

VIP Reception & Celebrity Gifting Experience featuring Dennis Rodman Bad Ass Premium Vodka. Guests will be joined ... in Dr Joseph Bryant Jr's Hangs on LockerDome

``We've lost two games in the fourth quarter, which is what we emphasized,'' McCarthy said. ``This team will grow from it.''

The Packers (1-2) have a bye week to think about the two that got away, an opening 34-28 loss at San Francisco and the one in Cincinnati that was strange all around.

Each team gave it away four times. Each team returned a fumble for a touchdown - M.D. Jennings ran one back for Green Bay. 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.

No, the weather wasn't a factor. Nobody could blame the cool, sunny afternoon for all the oddities.

``Crazy,'' Packers linebacker Clay Matthews said. ``It was wild with regard to the calls and the plays that happened.''

The Bengals (2-1) finished it off when Michael Johnson batted down Aaron Rodgers' fourth-down pass at the Cincinnati 20-yard line with 1:21 left, ending a subpar showing for the quarterback. It marked the first time in 14 years that a team won after allowing an opponent to score 30 consecutive points in a game.

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.

``It was definitely one of the most different games I've had in all my time,'' McCarthy said.

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, Nelson picked it up and started to run but fumbled - of course! - and Newman scooped it up and went the rest of the way.

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.

With Green Bay missing Matthews because of a hamstring injury, Dalton threw touchdown passes of 20 yards to A.J. Green and 11 yards to Marvin Jones, cutting the deficit to 30-27.

Notes: 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.

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org