Watching the clock about to tick down to 0:02, Aaron Rodgers took the snap, faked a spike, and looked to the end zone.
For a split second, it looked like the Cincinnati Bengals were about to blow their second last-minute lead in as many weeks - and Rodgers was about to pull off his second late comeback of the season.
But the Bengals (1-1) were bailed out by a false-start penalty and barely salvaged a 31-24 victory over the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field yesterday.
“We didn’t do enough to win the game last week and you get what you deserve,’’ Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said. “Today, we were able to make one or two more plays and win the football game and that’s what counts. I think our football team understands that.’’
One week after a gut-wrenching loss to Denver on a deflected pass that went for a touchdown, the Bengals nearly outdid themselves by blowing a 10-point lead in the final minute.
The Packers (1-1) kicked a late field goal to cut the lead to a touchdown, then recovered an onside kick.
Rodgers then marched the Packers to the Cincinnati 10 with the clock running down, but Green Bay was called for the false start to end the game. Packers coach Mike McCarthy said officials told him the call was on wide receiver Greg Jennings.
“I was surprised by that, to say the least,’’ McCarthy said.
The Bengals were cruising to a win until then, breaking a 21-21 tie when Chad Ochocinco caught a 13-yard TD pass from Carson Palmer in the third quarter and delivered on his promise to perform a “Lambeau Leap,’’ although it was into a small group of Bengals fans.
“It was fun,’’ the receiver said. “I had a little indecision on where to jump at first. I didn’t want to disrespect their tradition.’’
Rodgers couldn’t pull off another comeback after beating the Bears on a late TD pass to Jennings last Sunday. Rodgers was 21 of 39 for 261 yards and a TD.
The Steelers (1-1) got a strong game from Ben Roethlisberger, but two missed field goals by Jeff Reed in the fourth quarter gave Chicago the opening it needed. After Reed missed his second kick of the period, a 43-yarder, Cutler threw a 5-yard pass to Hester on third and 4 at the Steelers’ 39 that kept the winning drive going.
Cutler finished with 236 yards and two TDs, with no interceptions, after being picked off a career-high four times in a season-opening loss at Green Bay. Roethlisberger threw for 221 yards and a TD, and had a 2-yard TD run.
The Texans (1-1) spent the past week answering questions about their toughness after being embarrassed by the Jets. Houston showed its resiliency by battling back from a 21-7 deficit early in the second quarter and engaging in a shootout. Schaub (25 of 39) threw two TD passes to Andre Johnson.
The Titans (0-2) outgained Houston, 449-420, but couldn’t move the ball in the fourth quarter. Chris Johnson scored three TDs (including a 91-yarder), ran for 197 yards, and had 87 yards receiving.
Brees picked up where he left off, picking apart Philadelphia’s secondary and completing 25 of 34 passes for 311 yards and one interception. The Saints (2-0) took advantage of a fumble recovery and interception to turn a 4-point halftime lead into a 31-13 advantage in the first 3 1/2 minutes of the third quarter.
Filling in for the injured Donovan McNabb, Kolb threw for 391 yards and two TDs, including a 71-yard scoring pass to DeSean Jackson that pulled the Eagles (1-1) even at 7-7. Kolb also threw three interceptions, including one returned 97 yards for a TD by Darren Sharper in the final minute.
Gore nearly reached his franchise mark of 212 yards set in 2006 before leaving in the fourth quarter with a sprained right ankle that didn’t appear serious. He became only the second player in NFL history to have two TD runs of 79 or more yards in one game, joining Detroit’s Barry Sanders (1997 vs. Tampa Bay).
Seattle (1-1) lost quarterback Matt Hasselbeck to a rib injury just before halftime following a hard hit near the goal line by Patrick Willis. Hasselbeck didn’t return after completing 10 of 18 passes for 97 yards and no TDs.
Detroit (0-2) looked like it might finally earn a victory with a 10-0 lead midway through the second quarter, but the Vikings (2-0) pulled even on Favre’s 1-yard TD pass to Visanthe Shiancoe before the half and a 26-yard field goal by Ryan Longwell. Kevin Smith’s fumble in the third quarter set up Adrian Peterson’s go-ahead 27-yard TD run.
Matt Cassel made his Kansas City debut after being out a month with a knee injury, and gave the Chiefs (0-2) a 10-6 lead with a 29-yard TD strike to Dwayne Bowe with 2:38 to go.