After a pair of lackluster performances, the Green Bay Packers number one units picked it up considerably on a warm night at Paul Brown Stadium to beat the Cincinnati Bengals 27-13. Aaron Rodgers ran, yes ran for a pair of scores in building a 17-6 halftime lead before exiting and Jamari Lattimore sealed the first pre-season victory with a 27 yard interception return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. When it was ones versus ones, the Packers were clearly the better team. A rough opening series for left tackle Marshall Newhouse with a false start and holding penalty stalled the drive but the Packers got it back with a three and out against young Andy Dalton. Rodgers hit Greg Jennings twice for 37 yards on the next series and than covered the final 12 yards for the game's first score on his own. He outran defensive back Nate Clements to the corner of the end zone. A sack shared by Clay Matthews and B.J.. Raji punctuated a second straight three and out and the offense covered 69 yards in 7 plays to double it's lead to 14. In his Packers debut, Cedric Benson ripped off runs of 8 and 9 yards on the drive, finished by Rodgers' second TD run covering five yards to the left pylon. Not to be outdone, Dalton scrambled for 28 yards leading to a Mike Nuget 42 yard field goal at the end of the first quarter. Rodgers then threw a bad ball to James Jones which Terrance Newman intercepted and raced 30 yards up the sideline. The defense dug in however, stopping Cincinnati on three plays from the one. Erik Walden did most of the work, sacking Dalton on third and goal from the three leading to another Nugent kick. Green Bay countered with a Mason Crosby 46 yard field goal after an 11 play, 51 yard drive. The halftime numbers were telling, the Packers outgained the Bengals 245-87, had 15 first downs to 5 and controlled the clock for over 17 minutes. Graham Harrell quarterbacked in the second half and a bad exchange with fullback John Kuhn was fumbled away at Green Bay's 15. It took one play for Bruce Gradkowski to find Marvin Jones on a back shoulder catch against Casey Hayward to close the gap to 17-13. Neither team could move the ball with blown assignments by the second offensive line leading to a pair of sacks for Harrell. The backup defenders saved the night as Sam Shields made an acrobatic interception that led to another Crosby field goal and Lattimore finished off the Bengals with just under 3 minutes to play.
The notables: Benson finished with 38 yards on just 6 carries and had a 10 yard catch. Green Bay ran for 184 yards as a team. Pro bowl receiver A.J. Green was covered primarily by Tramon Williams who had a pair of fine breakups in the red zone. Green was targeted 6 times but had one catch for three yards. The only new injury of note was to defensive tackle Ryan Pickett who suffered a calf injury in the first half and didn't return. Jermichael Finley returned to Green Bay Thursday morning for the delivery of his second child. The family's doing fine. The Packers will be off until the final three practices of training camp Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.
On the link below, some post game quotes from Mike McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers.