After spotting the Bengals 14 early points in the first quarter, the Packers rebounded nicely to take a 16-14 halftime lead. The Packers took their opening drive of the second half down the field and ended it with a rushing touchdown by rookie running back Johnathan Franklin, the first of his career.
The Packers would then add another touchdown a few minutes later via a touchdown pass from Aaron Rodgers to James Jones making it a commanding 30-14 Packers' lead.
However, that would be all the scoring the Packers would get as the Bengals went on to score the last 20 points of the game and held on to win an epic battle, 34-30.
Lets take a look at the winners and losers from Sunday's game.
Barclay continued his strong season, performance wise, Sunday. He received the Packers' highest offensive grade (+3.9) bringing his season grade to (+6.5), one of the highest on the Packers' team.
Barclay has been impressive so far this season taking over as the starter at right tackle exclusively for the first time in his career. He's given up two sacks this season, including one on Sunday, something he can get better at, but overall, he has been solid manning the right side of the line.
After finding themselves on the other side of this list in week 1, guards T.J. Lang and Josh Sitton have turned in back-to-back solid performances against the Washington Redskins and the Bengals. Sitton received the higher grade (+2.6) as he had to control arguably the NFL's best interior linemen, Geno Atkins and Domata Peko. Sitton did give up a sack, but overall Sitton was equally good in the run blocking game as he was in the pass blocking game.
Lang received a grade of (+2.1) the third highest grade of any Packers' offensive player. Lang didn't give up a single quarterback hurry, pressure or sack — he was near perfect on the day. His main contribution came in the run blocking game where he earned a grade of (+1.1) for his efforts, which allowed the Packers to rush for 182 yards on Sunday.
Franklin was the biggest surprise of the day. Coming in for the oft-injured James Starks, Franklin ran for 103 yards on 13 carries and a touchdown. He also added three catches for 23 yards, but it was his late fourth quarter fumble that led to the Packers' downfall.
Franklin deserves a break in terms of the fumble, because it wasn't the best play call by coach Mike McCarthy. Franklin played a very good game, especially for coming off the bench ice cold. He deserves a lot of praise and his fumble wasn't the lone reason the Packers lost on Sunday.
For the first time in his career, Bakhtiari looked like a rookie and performed as such. Besides Safety Jerron McMillian's week one grade of (- 5.5), Bakhtiari received the worst grade given out to any Packers' player this season with a (-5.1).
Bakhtiari gave up three quarterback hurries, one quarterback hit and a sack. His pass blocking was a big reason the Bengals were able to record five sacks on Rodgers. His pass blocking grade of (- 3.3) is the worst grade given out to any Packers' linemen in the pass blocking game this season. Bakhtiari has played well early in the season, but Sunday was a performance he's going to want to forget.
For the second week in a row defensive tackle Mike Daniels finds himself in the winner category. Daniels recorded a sack, one quarterback hurry and two solo tackles in just 22 plays. Daniels has only played in 74 out of a possible 198 defensive snaps on the season. After consecutive strong performances it's questionable as to why the Packers aren't giving Daniels more playing time — he's earned it.
Jones played one of his best games as a Packer in recent memory on Sunday. Jones earned the highest grade of any Packers' defender (+ 3.5) and that grade was the second highest on the team to Don Barclay (+ 3.9).
Jones finished the game with 10 tackles (5 solo), a quarterback hit and just one missed tackle. Jones has settled in nicely is the Packers' No. 1 inside linebacker and the improvement he has shown over the past few seasons has been a joy to watch.
Shields' coverage on Bengals All-Pro wide receiver A.J. Green was a thing of beauty. Shields limited Green to just four catches for 46 yards. He did give up a 20-yard touchdown pass to Green in the third quarter, but take that catch away, and Green had three catches for 26 yards, advantage Shields.
Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton targeted Shields seven times throughout the course of the game. He completed just four of those passes, which translated into a quarterback rating of 77.1.
Shields got the best of Green a number of times, including an interception in the first quarter.
Raji has had a very solid season so far in what is a big year for him as he is in a contract year. Sunday wasn't one of Raji's better performances as a Packer. He earned the worst defensive grade given out (- 2.8) and was invisible for most of the game.
Raji finished the game with zero tackles and just one quarterback hurry in 32 snaps. These are the performances that have worried the Packers as they try to decide if Raji is worth a big extension in the offseason. Raji's consistency has always been an issue and it appears early on in the season that he is still a very inconsistent player.
The Mike Neal expierement at outside linebacker had been going just fine, he's looked comfortable at a new position and was being productive, which has the Packers excited. Sunday, however, was a different story.
Neal earned the second worst defensive grade (- 2.3) and was bad in both the run and pass game grading out in the red (less than - 1.0 puts a player in the "red" category) for both categories. Neal failed to record a single tackle, or any relevant pressure on the quarterback. Neal played a total of 32 plays and made absolutely zero impact on the game.
There you have it, the final grades given out by Pro Football Focus following another excruciating Packers' loss. The Packers will enjoy their bye week this week before welcoming in the Detroit Lions on October 6th for a divisional showdown.
More from Acme Packing Company:
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- McCarthy Presser 9/23: Releasing Jeremy Ross and the 4th Down Decision
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