CINCINNATI (AP) — Jordan Love and Sean Clifford showed they can both move the Green Bay Packers’ offense, at least in an early test against a leaky Cincinnati Bengals defense with few starters on the field.
Love, the replacement for Aaron Rodgers, played only part of the first quarter but was in command as the Packers went on to beat the Bengals 36-19 in the teams’ preseason opener Friday night. He completed 7 of 10 passes for 46 yards and a lofted a perfect throw to Romeo Doubs for a 9-yard touchdown.
“I think the passing game was in stride,” Love said.
For the Bengals, Joe Burrow sat out with a calf strain — he likely wouldn’t have played anyway — as Jake Browning and Trevor Siemian split the reps at quarterback.
Love — also impressive in a joint practice with the Bengals on Wednesday — spent three seasons as the backup to the four-time MVP Rodgers, who was traded to the New York Jets.
“There’s a lot to learn from it,” Packers coach Matt LeFleur said. “A lot of good came out of it, just the poise he showed, the command he showed. I thought we were getting in and out of the huddle quickly. I thought it was really good first exposure for him for the season.”
Clifford, a rookie out of Penn State, got most of the playing time for Green Bay after Love took a seat. He directed three touchdown drives but was also intercepted twice by Bengals safety Tycen Anderson, who brought the first one back 43 yards for the Bengals’ only TD of the game.
Clifford finished 20 for 26 for 208 yards and a touchdown pass to tight end Tyler Davis.
Green Bay’s quarterbacks distributed passes to 14 receivers who are hoping to be part of a new-look offense, which also lost last year’s leading receiver, Allen Lazard, and its top two tight ends.
“I think a game like this, everybody’s able to get reps, get in there, get a feel for the game,” Love said. “We’ve got a lot of young guys.”
Emanuel Wilson ran for two touchdowns, including a breakaway 80-yarder, for Green Bay.
Burrow suffered the calf strain early in camp. He threw some passes before the game, then watched from the sidelines. Coach Zac Taylor said the franchise player is “progressing as he should.”
Browning, who Cincinnati’s practice squad QB last year, played the first half, going 10 for 17 for 95 yards and an interception.
Siemian, a 31-year-old veteran signed in May, went 15 for 28 for 121 yards and an interception in the second half.
“Ultimately, that’s what we’re judged on, protecting the football and getting the team in the end zone,” Taylor said. “Not enough of that tonight.”
The Bengals haven’t said if Burrow will be back for the opener at Cleveland on Sept. 10. There is also the matter of Burrow’s pending contract extension that likely will make him one of the highest-paid players in the league.
The Bengals’ cheerleaders paid tribute by all wearing Burrow’s No. 9.
The teams had several scuffles in their joint practice on Wednesday, but none of that seemed to carry over into the game. The penalties were mostly mistakes by young players on both sides.
The offensive star of the game for the Bengals was kicker Evan McPherson, who booted field goals of 38, 51, 39 and 43 yards.
Bengals LB Joe Bachie left with a chest injury in the second quarter and didn’t return. … S Yusef Corker (left hamstring) was ruled out in the second quarter. … TE Tanner Hudson (concussion) was ruled out.
Packers: Host New England on Aug. 19. The teams are scheduled to have a joint practice next week.
Bengals: At Atlanta next Friday.