Terence Newman returned a fumble 58 yards for the go-ahead touchdown with 3:47 remaining and the Cincinnati defense came up with one more stop of Aaron Rodgers, as the Bengals rallied for a 34-30 win over the Green Bay Packers in a wild affair at Paul Brown Stadium.
The Bengals stormed out to a 14-0 lead before four consecutive turnovers allowed the Packers to battle back. Green Bay eventually scored 30 straight points before Cincinnati came back with the last 20, including 13 in the fourth quarter to win it.
Green Bay was clinging to a 30-27 lead with less than five minutes to play and appeared to pick up a first down on 3rd-and-12 at the Cincinnati 29. A successful Bengals challenge pushed the ball back just shy of the marker and the Packers elected to go for the first down.
Rookie running back Johnathan Franklin, however, was stripped of the ball just as he reached the line of scrimmage. Reggie Nelson initially picked it up, but had it knocked away by Green Bay receiver Randall Cobb. Newman, though, was right there to scoop it up and he raced untouched to the end zone.
"That was a big play -- especially when we created the fumble," said Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis. "It was a good, alert play by Terence to return it. I guess we all ended up even in the return game today."
Rodgers marched the Packers right into Cincinnati territory with a first down at the 25, but a 3rd-and-5 pass was knocked down at the line of scrimmage and his fourth-down attempt was also tipped at the line and fell incomplete with 1:21 remaining to seal the contest.
Rodgers completed 26-of-43 passes for 244 yards with a pair of interceptions and a touchdown for the Packers (1-2), who will head to an early bye next week with losses in each of their two road games to start the season.
Franklin was pushed into service when James Starks left with a knee injury and he responded with 103 yards on 13 carries. The one fumble, however, proved costly.
Andy Dalton threw for 235 yards on 20-of-28 passing with two touchdowns and an interception for Cincinnati (2-1), which has won two straight at home after a season-opening loss at Chicago.
"We're a good football team. If we want to be a good team, we have to beat good teams. That's how you end up being a great team," Lewis added. "If we can keep improving in the critical areas of the game, we'll be alright. We have good players here too and they showed up today."
The Bengals scored 14 points before the Green Bay offense took the field. Gio Bernard capped a 10-play, 80-yard drive to start the game with a diving 3-yard touchdown run and the Bengals got the ball back when Jeremy Ross muffed the ensuing kickoff. BenJarvus Green-Ellis then plowed into the end zone from the two on the next play to make it 14-0.
Cincinnati, though, turned the ball over on four straight possessions -- in a span of just nine offensive plays -- to give Green Bay life.
Sam Shields came up with an interception in Cincinnati territory in the final minute of the first quarter and Mason Crosby connected on a 41-yard field goal on the first play of the second to put the Packers on the board.
Jermaine Gresham then fumbled after a reception just two plays after the kickoff, but the Packers were unable to convert thanks to a penalty and a sack.
Green-Ellis coughed up the ball three plays into the next Cincinnati series and M.D. Jennings returned it 24 yards to the end zone to pull Green Bay within 14-10.
It didn't take long for the Bengals to give it up again, as Dalton escaped a sack for a moment on third down and lost the ball when Clay Matthews got to him. The Cincinnati defense, though, limited the damage to a 19-yard Crosby field goal.
The Bengals were able to hold onto the ball with their next possession, but a punt after a three-and-out led to a Green Bay scoring march. The 70-yard set bogged down inside the 10 and Crosby banged home a 26-yard field goal as time expired to send the Packers to the break with a 16-14 edge.
"Today was obviously a very tough loss for our football team. I thought it was definitely a game of peaks and valleys, a lot of moments of adversity going through the start of the game and getting down 14-0," said Packers head coach Mike McCarthy. "The way our defense responded, I really felt it picked our football team up generating takeaways, being able to come into halftime with the lead."
Green Bay also got the ball to start the second half and extended its advantage with the help of a questionable Cincinnati penalty. Rodgers threw incomplete on third down, but Nelson was called for roughing the passer despite replays appearing to show no severe contact, and the drive continued. Franklin soon after scored from two yards away to cap the 80-yard trek for a 23-14 lead.
Franklin keyed the next Green Bay series with a 51-yard run and Rodgers added a 30-yard strike to Jordy Nelson, who made a nice catch along the sideline, to set up a 7-yard scoring toss to James Jones. The 92-yard drive took just five plays and made it 30-14.
Cincinnati's offense finally came back to life on the next series, as Dalton hit A.J. Green with a 20-yard TD pass to finish a 65-yard drive in just four plays.
The Bengals got the ball back quickly when Newman picked off Rodgers near midfield, but came up empty when Mike Nugent missed a 52-yard field goal try in the final minute of the third period.
Rodgers marched Green Bay inside the Cincinnati 30, but was intercepted by Leon Hall and the Bengals marched 95 yards the other way for a touchdown. Bernard took a swing pass 31 yards to start the seven-play set and Dalton capped it with an 11-yard TD pass to Marvin Jones, but the Packers blocked the extra point to keep it 30-27 with 10:55 remaining.
Rodgers was last intercepted more than once in a game on Oct. 24, 2010, ending an NFL-record string of 41 straight games without multiple picks ... Packers tight end Jermichael Finley suffered a concussion on Green Bay's first offensive series and sat out the remainder of the contest ... Matthews also suffered a hamstring injury and did not play in the second half ... Starks had 55 yards on 14 carries before leaving and the Packers racked up 182 yards on the ground ... The Bengals visit Cleveland next Sunday.