GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers burned another defense deep with a free play. The Cincinnati Bengals found their offense and a new way to lose.
Mason Crosby kicked a 27-yard field goal with 6:26 left in overtime set up by Rodgers’ 72-yard pass to Geronimo Allison, and the Green Bay Packers rallied to beat Cincinnati 27-24 on Sunday.
Crosby’s kick completed the Packers’ comeback from a 21-7 halftime deficit.
On third-and-10 from his 21, Rodgers took advantage of yet another free play after defensive end Michael Johnson was whistled for offside. Officials let the play continue and the two-time NFL MVP found Allison on about a 40-yard pass before the receiver beat a couple defenders for more yards.
“Luckily I put it in a good spot and G-Mo did the rest,” Rodgers said.
Crosby, a veteran kicker, finished it off for the Packers (2-1).
The winless Bengals (0-3) won the toss in overtime but went three-and-out on their opening drive. It was so loud at Lambeau Field that they had to call timeout before their first overtime snap.
Rodgers thrived under the pressure.
He connected with Jordy Nelson for a 3-yard touchdown pass with 17 seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 24. Cornerback Dre Kilpatrick narrowly missed batting away the bullet thrown by the quarterback into the front right corner of the end zone.
Rodgers finished 28 of 42 for 313 yards with three touchdowns and one score. Allison had six catches for 122 yards.
“I thought Aaron played one of his best games,” coach Mike McCarthy said. “I thought he was tremendous today.”
The Packers flipped the script at halftime after the Bengals controlled the first half.
A.J. Green caught a 10-yard scoring pass on the game’s opening drive for Cincinnati’s first touchdown after two frustrating weeks for the offense. Bill Lazor made his debut as offensive coordinator for the fired Ken Zampese.
Andy Dalton was 21 of 27 for 212 yards and two scores. The Bengals were desperate to avoid their first 0-3 start since 2008. But they couldn’t finish the Packers off in the second half.
Green Bay’s defense generated a little more pressure on Dalton in the second half. Rodgers shook his early struggles to guide the Packers to another win.
Rodgers was sacked six times, mostly against just the Bengals’ four-man rush, though the protection shored up after halftime.
Rodgers threw just his second career pick-six — and his first at home — when William Jackson returned an interception 75 yards for a touchdown for a 21-7 lead early in the second quarter.
At least Cincinnati’s offense finally got into the end zone.
Green’s score 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, both losses.
Rodgers’ only other interception returned for a score came on Nov. 8, 2009 by Tanard Jackson in a 38-28 loss at Tampa. … It was the warmest kickoff for a Packers home game at 89 degrees.
Most members of each team interlocked arms on their respective sidelines when the national anthem was played before kickoff.
Rodgers stood at the sideline locking arms with tight end Richard Rodgers and backup quarterback Brett Hundley. Three members of the Packers sat on the bench during the anthem: tight ends Martellus Bennett and Lance Kendricks, along with rookie cornerback Kevin King.
Bengals: At the Cleveland Browns on Oct. 1.
Packers: Host the Chicago Bears on Thursday night.
For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL