GREEN BAY, Wis. — Aaron Rodgers looked around the locker room before Green Bay’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals and noticed all the Packers starters sidelined with injuries. Defensive lineman Mike Daniels, receiver Randall Cobb and left tackle David Bakhtiari, just to name a few.
“But we’ve had a rallying cry at the beginning of the season,” Rodgers said. “No excuses.”
And no way were the Packers going to lose Sunday after Rodgers figured out the Bengals defense.
He threw for three touchdowns and 313 yards, including a 72-yard pass to Geronimo Allison to set up the winning field goal in the Packers’ 27-24 victory in overtime over the winless Bengals (0-3).
Reliable veteran Mason Crosby kicked the 27-yarder with 6:26 left in overtime after Allison’s big gain came on a free play for Green Bay (2-1).
Defensive end Michael Johnson was whistled for offside on third-and-10 from the Packers 21. Officials let the play continue and Rodgers found Allison on a throw that sailed about 43 yards before the receiver beat a couple defenders to get inside the 10.
Rodgers also connected with Jordy Nelson for a 3-yard touchdown pass with 17 seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 24, completing a 12-play, 75-yard drive. Cornerback Dre Kilpatrick narrowly missed batting away the bullet thrown by the quarterback into the front right corner of the end zone.
“Far too many chunk plays against a good quarterback like that. That ended up being the difference in the football game,” Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said.
A two-time NFL MVP, Rodgers added a couple more bullet points to his extensive resume.
—He has now beaten all 32 teams in his 13-year NFL career, the last 10 as a starter.
—He won his first game in overtime.
One play that he’d like to forget: Cornerback William Jackson returned an interception 75 yards for a touchdown and a 21-7 lead early in the second quarter for Cincinnati. It was just the second career interception returned for a touchdown for Rodgers, and his first at Lambeau Field.
“A lot of time, a lot of time left. We’ve been down before,” said Rodgers, who finished 28 of 42.
Other notes and takeaways from Sunday’s game:
BENGALS OFFENSE: At least Cincinnati’s offense finally got into the end zone. Receiver A.J. Green’s 10-yard touchdown catch on the game’s first possession snapped a season-opening streak of 25 possessions without a touchdown. Until Sunday, they were only able to muster three field goals over the first two weeks.
LAZOR SHOT: Quarterback Andy Dalton was 21 of 27 for 212 yards and two scores in a game that featured Bill Lazor’s debut as Bengals offensive coordinator. Lazor replaced the fired Ken Zampese. The Packers, though, made some adjustments after halftime and got to Dalton with more pressure. The Bengals were held to just Randy Bullock’s 46-yard field goal after halftime.
“I thought we got the ball to our guys and got it to them in space and let them make plays,” Dalton said about the switch to Lazor. “I thought it was a good start for us, but we’ve got to find a way to win.”
G-MAN: With Cobb out with a chest injury, Allison got more snaps. He made some big catches after halftime, including the 72-yarder in overtime. Rodgers actually threw the pass from the 13 after dropping back. Allison caught the ball at the Bengals 44, sidestepped two defenders before being taken down inside the 10 by cornerback Josh Shaw.
“Make the play. I see it. I’m locked in on it and just trust my hands make the play on it,” Allison said.
HEY ROOKIES: The future might have arrived for the Packers’ young secondary. Rookie Kevin King, a second-round draft pick, got his first career start at cornerback with Davon House out with a quad injury. He had an up-and-down game matched up much of the day with Green.
Fellow second-round pick Josh Jones, a safety, displayed athleticism with 12 tackles, two sacks and two quarterback hurries. He stepped up with Kentrell Brice missing the game with a groin injury and Marwin Evans leaving the game in the second half with cramps.
NATIONAL ANTHEM: Most members of each team interlocked arms on their respective sidelines when the national anthem was played before kickoff. “We’ve got to stick together and show people that it doesn’t matter what skin color or where you come from, we can stand as one. That’s what we did today,” Green said.
Across the field, Rodgers stood at the sideline locking arms with tight end Richard Rodgers and backup quarterback Brett Hundley. Three Packers sat on the bench during the anthem: King, along with tight ends Martellus Bennett and Lance Kendricks.