The Cincinnati Bengals began the game from their own 20-yard line after the Carolina Panthers kicked off into the endzone. Cincinnati's offense moved the football on the ground, starting with a 10-yard run by A.J. Green on an end around, giving the team their first first down on the game with after the first offensive play of the game; something that didn't happen until late in the first quarter against the Jets last week.
After a Dalton incomplete on first down, Benson picked up a minimal one-yard gain behind the right side of the line setting up third-and-nine at the Bengals own 31-yard line. Dalton converts for a first down, from shotgun, finding Jermaine Gresham with a nice accurate pass over the middle in a gaping hole in the zone.
The Bengals would convert another third down with six yards to go when Andy Dalton's hard count drew Charles Johnson offsides. The short one-yard to go was easily converted with a strong run up the gut by Benson.
Eventually the Bengals would turn the ball over on first-and-20 (after a Jermaine Gresham holding) during a fumbled exchange between Andy Dalton, who turned one way, and Cedric Benson running the other. Carolina took over with 9:48 left in the first quarter at Cincinnati's 46-yard line. That was Cincinnati's seventh turnover by this offseason during the preseason.
Cam Newton and the Panthers offense ran eight plays that spanned 46 yards in three minutes, capped by a Cam Newton 16-yard touchdown run. After taking the shotgun snap, Newton found a massive lane to his right and ran down the right seams until leaning into the endzone for the game's first score with the Panthers taking a 7-0 lead.