Emanuel Wilson steals show in Cincinnati

Packers beat Bengals 36-19 to win first preseason game
Luke Reimer

While all eyes were on Jordan Love, it was Packers running back Emanuel Wilson who stole the show in Cincinnati.

The undrafted free agent accounted for 111 yards on six carries in Green Bay’s preseason win over the Bengals on Aug. 11. Two of those six carries went for touchdowns. Late in the third quarter, Wilson put the Packers up 30-19 with an 11-yard rushing touchdown. For good measure, Wilson scored an 80-yard rushing touchdown midway through the fourth quarter to seal the game, 36-19. Wilson came into the game deep on the Packers’ depth chart, but with a game like this, it seems impossible for the front office and coaching staff to not give him another chance.

“That was by far the best that I would say he looked,” said Matt LaFleur, Packers head coach. “Any time you rip off an 80-yarder, that’s a pretty good deal, and he had two touchdowns — one on a counter play that we ran. It was a big night for him.”

It was an emotional day for Wilson as he tweeted earlier in the day that it was the anniversary of his father’s death. For it being an emotional day for Wilson, LaFleur was more than happy to see the player succeed.

“Fourteen years ago, he lost his father, so I am happy for him to come out in his debut and rip off 100 yards and two touchdowns,” said LaFleur.

Wilson’s scores were just extra though to what Love and Sean Clifford were able to accomplish against Cincinnati. Love went first. Starting the game, Love looked poised and ready for his introduction as the Green Bay Packers starting quarterback. The Utah State alum recorded 70 passing yards on seven completions, including a beautiful lofted touchdown pass to Romeo Doubs in the middle of the first quarter.

“All in all, I thought it was a good first performance,” said LaFleur. “There is a lot to learn from and lot of good came from it. The poise he showed, the command he showed; I thought that we were getting in and out of the huddle quickly. I thought it was a really good first exposure for him for this season.”

Clifford supplemented Love and saw the most time out of the Packers’ three quarterbacks. He completed 20 of 26 passes for 208 yards and one touchdown. He also threw two interceptions in the game. Clifford’s only touchdown came on the back of a 5-yard pass to Tyler Davis, before the game went to halftime. Given the lack of time the coaches gave to quarterback Alex McGough, it seems that Clifford is the leading candidate for the team’s back-up quarterback spot.

“He did awesome,” said Love, talking about Clifford. “Obviously, it is tough as a quarterback to have that next play mentality after (throwing multiple interceptions), but he was able to bounce back and go put that two-minute drive in the end zone to finish with a touchdown before half. And then came out in the second half rolling … He did a really good job.”