The Rams were able to move the football during their opening possession, picking up first downs on Steven Jackson’s legs, picking up 21 yards rushing on three carries when Geno Atkins dragged Jackson down for a one-yard loss on third down. Following a touchback, the Bengals begin their first drive of the game from their own 20-yard line.
Following an incomplete pass to A.J. Green on a rollout to the right, quarterback Andy Dalton takes a one-step drop and completes a three-yard pass to tight end Jermaine Gresham who lined up wide right. With Cedric Peerman in the backfield on third down, Andy Dalton overshoots A.J. Green down the right sidelines when the Rams were called for roughing the passer, extending a possession that should have ended.
Rather than punting the football, the Bengals have the football at their own 38-yard line when Cedric Benson got his first rushing attempt of the game, violently chugging his legs for a five-yard gain. Dalton fakes the handoff on the following play and unleashed the football towards A.J. Green on a deep post. Clearly (and easily) beating the coverage, Green makes a finger-tip catch to haul in the 55-yard pass to the Bengals two-yard line.
After Cedric Benson lost a yard and an incomplete floater to Green at the back of the endzone, the Bengals have third and goal from their own three-yard line with 9:07 remaining in the quarter. Andy Dalton attempts a similar throw towards the back of the endzone, but Green is unable to keep his feet inbounds to complete the pass.
Mike Nugent converts the 21-yard field goal to give the Bengals a 3-0 lead.