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Packers open preseason with 36-19 win over Bengals

Starters score one TD, rookie QB Sean Clifford bounces back

RB Emanuel Wilson
RB Emanuel Wilson

CINCINNATI – The starters got some early work and a couple of rookies stood out in the Packers' 36-19 victory over the Bengals in Friday night's preseason opener at Paycor Stadium.

QB Jordan Love led the offense to one touchdown in two series, hitting WR Romeo Doubs for a score in the first quarter. Love finished 7-of-10 for 46 yards.

The defensive starters got an early three-and-out, highlighted by a sack from nickel CB Keisean Nixon, and pretty much took a rest from there.

The rookie standouts were fifth-round QB Sean Clifford and undrafted RB Emanuel Wilson.

Sean Clifford recovered from throwing two interceptions, one a pick-six, to direct multiple scoring drives. He was 20-of-26 for 208 yards with one touchdown and the two INTs. His TD pass was to TE Tyler Davis, who later left with a knee injury.

Wilson, undrafted from Fort Valley State, had six carries for 111 yards and two TDs, the second an 80-yard run. RB Tyler Goodson also scored on a short TD run but later exited with a shoulder injury.

Rookie fifth-round pick Dontayvion Wicks led the receivers with 68 yards on three catches, including a 47-yarder late in the first half to set up a touchdown. WR Samori Toure added 56 yards on three grabs.

Defensively, rookie seventh-round CB Carrington Valentine continued his strong training camp, getting an interception and additional pass breakups. S Dallin Leavitt had Green Bay's other interception, off a deflection by undrafted rookie edge rusher Brenton Cox Jr.

Here's a recap of all the action:

QB Jordan Love

Packers lead Bengals 7-3 after first quarter

The Bengals won the opening toss and elected to defer. Jordan Love started at quarterback for the Packers and completed his first pass in the flat to Aaron Jones for a gain of six.

Love picked up the initial first down with an 8-yard pass to Luke Musgrave, but the Packers were forced to punt after Love missed Musgrave on a third-and-7 crossing pattern from the Green Bay 35.

With Cincinnati starting at its own 9, nickel cornerback Keisean Nixon came on a blitz to sack Bengals quarterback Jack Browning for an 8-yard loss. Cincinnati then went three-and-out.

Rookie receiver Jayden Reed returned the punt six yards to the Cincinnati 44. Reed picked up five yards on a push-pass off misdirection to get the next offensive series going.

Love converted the first down with a 7-yard out to Christian Watson to the Bengals' 31. An AJ Dillon 11-yard run, and encroachment penalty moved Green Bay into Cincinnati's red zone.

Love turned that into a goal-to-go situation with a 12-yard pass to Doubs on a play-action rollout to his left. Two plays later, Love and Doubs connected again when Love showed good touch on a 9-yard TD pass to put Green Bay up 7-0 with 7 minutes, 19 seconds left.

The seven-play, 43-yard scoring drive lasted 3 minutes, 52 seconds.

Cincinnati came back with a 14-yard pass to Andrei Iosivas on third-and-7 and then a 32-yard pickup on a pass to Trenton Irwin.

Carrington Valentine made a good open-field tackle for no gain on second-and-7 and Cincinnati settled for a 38-yard field goal after Devonte Wyatt nearly sacked Browning on third down. 

Cincinnati native Sean Clifford relieved Love, who went 7-of-10 for 46 yards and a touchdown (112.9 passer rating) on two offensive series. Clifford ended the first quarter with a 15-yard pass to Reed on third-and-4 to move Green Bay to the Bengals' 27.

Packers RB Tyler Goodson

Packers lead Bengals 21-16 at halftime

With Jon Runyan playing center, the Packers began the second quarter with Clifford forcing a 23-yard defensive pass interference penalty on Allan George, who was in coverage of Reed's corner route.

Running back Tyler Goodson scored on the next play with a 1-yard TD run to extend Green Bay's lead to 14-3 with 14:05 left in the first half.

Cincinnati's Chris Evans broke a 33-yard run to put the Bengals back in Green Bay territory. Valentine broke up the third-and-7 pass intended for Iosivas. Evan McPherson made a 52-yard field goal to cut Cincinnati's deficit to 14-6 with 11:13 left in the half.

With Zach Tom now at center, Clifford completed a 15-yard pass to Malik Heath across the middle to start Green Bay's fourth series.

Domenique Davis hit Clifford as he threw on third-and-6, resulting in a Tycen Anderson interception returned for a 43-yard touchdown to make it 14-13 Green Bay with 9:16 left in the half.

Clifford and the Packers' offense moved back across midfield with a 28-yard pass to Toure on third-and-9 but a fourth-and-4 pass to Heath fell incomplete and Green Bay turned the ball over on downs.

The Bengals countered with a nine-play, 38-yard drive that ended in a 39-yard McPherson field goal to put the Bengals ahead for the first time, 16-14, with 1:37 left in the half.

Starting at Green Bay's 9, Clifford found Dontayvion Wicks for 19 yards on third-and-7 to keep the Packers' two-minute drive alive. However, Clifford was picked off a second time when Anderson stepped in front of a pass intended for Tucker Kraft with 1:04 left in the half.

Rookie cornerback Carrington Valentine gave the ball back to his offense after intercepting Browning's overthrown pass. Clifford made good use of the turnover, threading a pass through coverage to Wicks for a 47-yard gain.

Clifford scrambled for 13 yards to make it first-and-goal from the Bengals' 6 with 25 seconds left. He then hit Tyler Davis on a 6-yard TD to put the Packers back in front, 21-16.

S Dallin Leavitt

Packers lead Bengals 30-19 after three

Trevor Siemian replaced Browning in the second half, with Cincinnati going three-and-out after an incomplete pass.

Running back Tyler Goodson (shoulder) and right tackle Caleb Jones (ankle) both left with injuries. Jones' replacement, Luke Tenuta, was injured on the first offensive play and carted to the locker room with an ankle injury.

The Packers were forced to punt after a holding call pushed them back to second-and-16. Tight end Tyler Davis (knee) was injured on a 4-yard catch on third-and-12. On the next defensive stand, linebacker Brenton Cox came on a stunt and tipped a Siemian pass at the line of scrimmage, which safety Dallin Leavitt intercepted and returned to the Bengals' 31.

Emanuel Wilson gained two yards on first down, but the Packers settled for a Anders Carlson 45-yard field goal that push their lead to 24-16 with 7:59 left in the third quarter. The Bengals moved the ball back down the field but couldn't overcome an illegal hands of the face penalty that made it second-and-25 from the Pakcers' 33.

Ultimately, McPherson made a 43-yard field goal to cut the Packers' advantage to 24-19 with 3:21 left in the third. Samori Toure gave Green Bay ideal field position with a 44-yard return to the Cincinnati 47.

Heath caught a 12-yard pass from Clifford and then set a block to spring Clifford on a 7-yard scramble. Emauel Wilson ran in an 11-yard touchdown after a late-hit penalty on the Bengals to give Green Bay a 30-19 lead with 2:14 left in the third quarter. Carlson missed the extra point.

Corey Ballentine sustained a stinger during the third quarter.

RB Emanuel Wilson

Packers open preseason with 36-19 win in Cincinnati

The fourth quarter began with Cincinnati punting after a Siemian incomplete pass. While Clifford stayed under center, the Packers ran the ball five times behind Nate McCrary and Emanuel Wilson.

Wilson picked up one first down with a 14-yard run on third-and-2, but the Packers punted after a holding penalty. Clifford finished 20-of-26 for 208 yards with one TD and two INTs (80.3 passer rating).

After Cincinnati went three-and-out, Alex McGough relieved Clifford at quarterback with 9:18 left. On McGough's first play, Emanuel Wilson broke an 80-yard TD run to the right to extend the lead to 36-19 after Carlson missed the extra point. Wilson finished with six carries for 118 yards and the TD.

The Bengals forced a fumble after McGough was sacked by Raymond Johnson. Davis recovered at the Cincinnati 45, but the Bengals turned the ball over on downs.