Why Aaron Rodgers Needs to Beat the Bengals in 2017

Aaron Rodgers is one win away from accomplishing something only six other NFL quarterbacks have accomplished in their careers.

With a win next season against the Cincinnati Bengals, Rodgers will have defeated 31 NFL teams. Tom Brady, Brett Favre, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger and Kerry Collins all have beaten 31 teams – Favre and Manning are the only two with wins against all 32 teams.

Measuring how many teams a quarterback has defeated doesn’t guarantee your position as one of the NFL’s immortals, (we’re looking at you, Kerry Collins) but it does speak to the consistency and longevity of a quarterback.

Brett Favre beat his 31st team, the Kansas City Chiefs, in 2007, his 16th season as a starting quarterback. Two years later, he beat Green Bay to reach 32 teams.

Next season will be Aaron Rodgers’ tenth season as a starting quarterback, giving him an opportunity to accomplish a feat of Favre’s in six fewer years.

Aaron Rodgers against the Cincinnati Bengals

Rodgers is winless in two contests against Cincinnati, and the Bengals defense has been a thorn in the quarterback’s side. His passer rating against Cincinnati is 73.5 – second-lowest to only the Buffalo Bills (67.8 in 2 starts).

His third matchup against the Bengals this upcoming season will be the first time he faces Cincinnati without defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer. Now the head coach of the Vikings, Zimmer has been one of the only coaches to successfully contain Rodgers throughout his career.

In anticipation of the star quarterback’s third chance to beat the Bengals, let’s take a look at Rodgers’ two other starts against Cincinnati.

September 20th, 2009: Bengals 31, Packers 24

Cincinnati’s Chad Ochocinco was on his way to his sixth Pro Bowl in 2009, but declared before the game he would do the Packers’ famous touchdown celebration, the Lambeau Leap, if he scored. In the third quarter with the game tied at 21, Ochocinco nabbed a 13-yard touchdown catch for the go-ahead score. He then found a few Bengals fans in the front row, and completed his challenge.

Charles Woodson intercepted the Bengals’ Carson Palmer twice, returning one for a touchdown, but it was the Bengals’ defensive end Antwan Odom who had the bigger game. Odom sacked Rodgers five times that day – a feat only 14 men have ever accomplished.

With one minute left, Mason Crosby kicked a field goal to shorten the lead to 31-24. Crosby notched his first successful onside kick attempt on the ensuing kickoff, and the Packers had a sliver of hope left. 

With no timeouts and 15 seconds left, Rodgers found Donald Driver over the middle for a 25-yard completion. Unable to stop the clock, the offense sprinted down the field and was just ten yards away from the end zone. As Rodgers snaps the ball, the referees blow the play dead:

Confusion strikes Lambeau Field as the clock reads 0:00. Rodgers points to the Bengals defense, indicating Cincinnati was offsides. After the referees huddle, a false start is called on the Packers’ Jason Spitz. The penalty means the game is over, and the Packers lose.

September 22nd, 2013: Bengals 34, Packers 30

This game was a 1 o’clock contest in Cincinnati during the waning weeks of a hot summer. I was blessed to be in attendance with my dad – it was one of the worst sunburns of my life. The Bengals marched down the field and scored on a Giovani Bernard run, and scored another touchdown after Packers returner Jeremy Ross fumbled away the ensuing kickoff.

Before Rodgers got on the field, he was facing a 14-0 deficit. The Packers defense held the Bengals in check, and Green Bay roared to a 30-14 lead with 5:30 left in the third quarter. Cincinnati receivers Marvin Jones and A.J. Green caught two touchdown passes, and a fumble by Packers running back Johnathan Franklin was returned by the Bengals for a game-winning touchdown.

Aaron Rodgers struggled throwing the ball against Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer’s defense. He threw for 244 yards on 43 attempts, but threw two costly interceptions. Green Bay’s offensive success in this game came on the ground, as the Packers gained 182 yards on 30 carries.

The Bengals became the first team in NFL history to lead a game by 14 points, trail by 16 points and come back to win. In the stands as a Packers fan, it was a long, painful walk out of the stadium as Bengals fans raucously celebrated an unprecedented victory.