The Green Bay Packers weren’t expecting a walk in the park on Sunday.
And the Cincinnati Bengals didn’t provide them with one.
Spotting the striped-ones from the Queen City a 14-0 lead in the first six minutes didn’t help any.
A stout performance from the defense and four first half turnovers by the Bengals let the once-reeling Pack back in the door.
Cincy’s largesse resuscitated Green Bay, to be sure.
However, despite scoring 30 unanswered points, the Packers turned the ball over in the second half and coughed up 20 straight only to lose this one, 34-30.
Green Bay enters this unusually early bye week at 1-2.
The ignominious start saw the Bengals drive down the field with a nice mix on the ground and in the air.
Giovani Bernard went airborn the last two yards for a 7-0 lead at the 9:20 mark.
Jeremy Ross, who has been a liability on kick returns for the Pack dating back to the playoffs in January, fumbled again and the Bengals scooped it up at the two.
BenJarvus Green Ellis did the rest and it was 14-0 with 9:08 to play in the first.
Jermichael Finley dropped a long completion on the ensuing drive for GB and got knocked out of the game with a concussion in the process.
The injury bug would also take out James Starks, who was in the process of putting together back-to-back 100-yard games.
Enter rookie Johnathan Franklin.
Franklin showed the speed he exhibited in college, caught a ball on a flare pattern and ran it in for his first touchdown.
That was a two-yarder as the Packers solidified their lead, 23-14, with 11:40 left in the third quarter.
Mason Crosby’s 26-yard field goal opened the second quarter and the scoring for Green Bay.
A Sam Shields pick and A.J. Hawk fumble recovery didn’t lead to any points.
But when Clay Matthews wrapped up Andy Dalton on Cincy’s next possession, M.D. Jennings gathered it in and gamboled 43 yards for the touch with 11:22 left in the half, narrowing the gap to 14-10.
A pair of Crosby field goals, from 19 and 26 yards respectively, closed out the first half in favor of the visitors, 16-14.
Aaron Rodgers was tousled and tossed yet again and a refurbished (mostly with little experience) offensive line tried to find its identity.
A-Rod was sacked, hurried and knocked down.
The Bengals were too aggressive at times (leading with their helmets) and paid dearly with a couple of crucial roughing the passer penalties that sustained drives in the red zone for the Pack.
The fact is that the Packers simply cannot afford to have this egregious trend continue if they have any hopes of post-season success.
GB made it 30-14 on another drive and Rodgers fired a bullet to James Jones for a 30-14 bulge at the 5:30 mark.
The Bengals took little time to get back in it when Dalton lofted one to A.J. Green for a 20-yard touchdown pass and a 30-21 score two minutes later.
Rodgers rare interception (a blown route by James Jones) and the Bengals were back in business.
The Packer ‘D’ gave a little, but then stiffened, forcing a 52-yard field goal attempt.
which went wide to the left with just 27 ticks left in the third stanza.
The Pack was making progress until Randall Cobb lost position on the right sideline in the red zone.
Leon Hall stepped in front of Cobb and picked off Rodgers,landing on the two.
It was the first two-pick game for A-Rod since October 24, 2010.
Bernard broke free up the left side on the ground and then Dalton started to pick apart the secondary.
He hit Green on a long gainer and then Marvin Jones for a score with 10:55 left in the contest.
Number One pick Datone Jones blocked the extra point and it was 30-27 margin.
On a crucial fourth and inches as the Pack was chewing up some clock, Franklin fumbled.
After a mad scramble, Terence Newman picked up the ball and ran it in the end zone for a 58-yard touch and a 34-30 lead with just 3:47 left to play.
It was the tenth turnover in the game, six by the Bengals and four for the Pack.
Green Bay failed to convert on a fourth and five and the Bengals held on for the improbable victory.
The Packers will have a week to heal their wounds and get the concussed Eddie Lacy back in the lineup.
The Detroit Lions come to Lambeau Field on October 6.
Kickoff is a noon.