Three quick thoughts from the Packers’ dramatic 27–24 overtime win over the Bengals:
1. Aaron Rodgers is something else. Green Bay trailed 21–7 at the half, but Rodgers had no problem improving upon his 1–35 record in games where his team trailed by multiple scores in the second half. The star gunslinger made some absurd throws on the Packers’ game-tying drive late in the fourth quarter, capped by threading the needle on a three-yard scoring toss to Jordy Nelson with 21 seconds remaining. After the Bengals punted on their first possession in overtime, the stage was set for the most dangerous play in football: an Aaron Rodgers free play. Cincinnati jumped offsides on a third-and-10, and Rodgers found Geronimo Allison for 72 yards to the Cincy seven-yard line. Mason Crosby drilled the game-ending 27-yard field goal shortly after. Rodgers boosted his overtime record to 1–7 after those heroics, and he showed once again that he can simply do things on the football field that nobody else in the world can.
2. Rodgers is obviously Green Bay’s most important player, but Nelson has emerged as the clear-cut No. 2. The Packers’ offense loses a gear when the veteran pass-catcher is injured—just take a look as recently as last week’s 34–23 loss to the Falcons. Rodgers and Nelson are on a telepathic wavelength that few passing tandems can come close to matching. The 10th-year wideout—who has been battling a quad injury throughout the week—hauled both of the Packers’ second-half touchdowns, and his presence opened things up for his fellow receivers. Allison and Davante Adams combined for 182 yards through the air, both stepping up with the absence of Randall Cobb. Nelson’s game-tying touchdown also vaulted him to second in franchise history with 66 scoring grabs, only trailing Don Hutson’s 99.
3. The Bengals are in deep trouble with their 0–3 start, but a pair of promising rookies emerged at Lambeau Field for them. Fourth-round pass-rusher Carl Lawson was a total game wrecker in the first half, disrupting Rodgers with relentless pressure. He ended up accumulating 2.5 sacks in the contest, continuously abusing Packers’ left tackle Kyle Murphy. Second-round tailback Joe Mixon had 62 rushing yards on 18 carries, and added another 39 yards on three grabs. His stats won’t jump out at you, but his patience already resembles that of a veteran. Mixon ended up with 34 snaps compared to Jeremy Hill’s 14 and Giovani Bernard’s 13, signaling that the future is already turning into the present in the Bengals’ backfield.