First-Half Recap: Browns Lead Bengals 17-7

The Bengals have looked flat, both on offense and defense, with the exception of a few players, as they find themselves trailing the Browns by a score of 17-7 after the first two quarters of play in their Week 12 matchup in Cincinnati. Cedric Benson has been about the only good player on offense and defensively, the Bengals have looked bad with the exception of a few flashes here and there.

Here is a recap of the first half between the Bengals and Browns in their Week 12 matchup.

For a game as important as this one, the Bengals defense has looked completely flat and uninspired through the first half. The Browns got the ball first and on their very first drive of the game, they marched down the field with ease. In nine plays, the Browns went 82 yards, capping off the drive with a 24-yard pass from Colt McCoy to Jordan Norwood for the game's first touchdown. 

The Bengals, led by running back Cedric Benson, tried to answer back on the next drive. After driving 76 yards down the field on 13 plays, the Bengals had the ball on the one-yard line on fourth down. Instead of going for the guaranteed points, the Bengals decided to go for the touchdown. Andy Dalton handed the ball to Benson but the Browns defensive front stopped him from making his way into the end zone. The Bengals turned the ball over on downs.

The Bengals defense stopped the Browns on a three-and-out on their next drive and punted the ball back to Cincinnati. Again, Benson led the Bengals' offense but this time they didn't turn the ball over. It only took the Bengals three plays to tie the game up at seven points each. The drive was capped off by a 16-yard touchdown run by Benson. After Mike Nugent kicked the extra point, the game was all tied up.

The Browns struck right back on their third drive of the game. After starting at their own 20-yard line, they drove down the field against a very flat looking Bengals defense. It wasn't until the Browns got into the red zone that the Bengals defense seemed to come alive. They stopped the Browns, partly thanks to a sack by Robert Geathers, and forced the Browns to settle for a field goal by Phil Dawson. The Browns led the Bengals 10-7.

The Bengals offense took the field next with Bernard Scott in the backfield. After Scott was stuffed in the backfield on one play and then Dalton was sacked by Titus Brown, the Bengals were forced to punt after going three-and-out.

The Bengals defense returned the favor and forced the Browns into a three-and-out. After the punt, they started their next drive on the 13-yard line. The Bengals picked up a first down but eventually were stopped on a third-and-six play and were forced to punt the ball away with just under three minutes left in the half. The Bengals defense stopped the Browns again and forced them to punt.

Cincinnati got the ball back with under two minutes left in the game deep in their own territory. After completing a pass to Jermaine Gresham on first down, Dalton dropped back to pass, he threw a pass to Gresham again but was intercepted by Mike Adams. After a short interception return, the interception was overturned by a defensive holding call. The Bengals got the ball back with a fresh set of downs but 20 seconds had still run down the clock. Even though Bengals fans could breathe a sigh of relief, on the very next play, Dalton was sacked by Jabaal Sheard and dropped the ball. The Browns recovered the fumble on the 14-yard line.

With only 33 second left in the first half the Browns had one timeout left. The Browns were able to move the ball to the three-yard line for the first down after McCoy found Norwood for a second-down pass. They called their final timeout with 14 seconds left on the clock. The Browns decided to take a couple of shots at the end zone. The first pass was incomplete but on the second pass, Greg Little was able to beat Reggie Nelson to catch his first touchdown pass of his career.

The Bengals headed into the locker room trailing the Browns by a score of 17-7. This is a huge game for the Bengals to keep their playoff hopes alive and they will have to look like a whole different team in the second half if they want any shot of playing football in late January.

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