December 20, 2014

Bengals Up 16-3 at Half

In what Marvin Lewis called the most important game in his NFL career, things have gone largely to plan for Cincinnati today as they lead the Houston Texans 16-3 at the half.

The Bengal defense has gotten two turnovers that were converted into 10 points, and have used opportunistic passing and an effective running day so far for Cedric Benson.

The Texans got on the board first thanks to a 44-yard run by Ben Tate on their second offensive drive.  After they stalled in Cincy territory, Gary Kubiak settled for Neil Rackers’ 46-yard field goal and a 3-0 edge.

The Bengals immediately responded with a long drive that ended with a Mike Nugent 22-yard field goal.  The drive was a bit of a disappointment though, as the Bengals once again had a false start penalty inside the 5 yard line that caused the drive to stall on the doorstep.

On Houston’s next drive, T.J. Yates threw an interception at midfield to Safety Reggie Nelson.  The Bengals converted that turnover into a 47-yard field goal and a 6-3 advantage.

Houston put together another impressive drive, getting inside the Bengals five yard line with first and goal, but Ben Tate fumbled on the dive play at the goal line.  Rey Maualuga forced and recovered the fumble, ending the threat and setting up the Bengals at their own 3.  Andy Dalton guided the Bengals to a 97-yard touchdown drive.  The drive was culminated with another 3rd-down touchdown pass.  Dalton’s 3rd-and-6 pass to Jerome Simpson ended with the 17-yard score and a 13-3 lead.

The Texans got the ball back with under four minutes to ago, and survived 3 third downs to get into field goal range, but after two sacks by the Bengal defense, Houston settled for another Rackers attempt, this time from 47 yards out.  In a scene reminiscent to many Bengal fans, the kick from Rackers sailed right, and the Bengals got the ball back with 34 seconds to go.

Jay Gruden’s first down play was an ingenious inside pitch to Andrew Hawkins, who once again used his quickness and short stature to find an opening that got the ball to the Houston side of th 50.  An out to Jermiane Gresham got the Bengals into field goal range, and with 11 seconds to go Mike Nugent nailed the 49-yarder to end the first half scoring, 16-3.

Notes:

  1. OG Bobbie Williams was injured in the first half.  G Mike McGlynn replaced him.  The Bengals are already light on the Offensive Line with Andre Smith down.
  2. Cedric Benson has 92 yards already in the game
  3. The Bengals will get the ball first to start the second half.