After the Bengals fumbled the football on the game's opening drive that picked up three first downs, Cincinnati decided to go back to the running game. In fact it was the Cedric Benson show. After a five-yard gain from the Bengals 20-yard line on first-and-10, Dalton takes the snap, scrambles to the left and dumps off the pass to Benson for a 15-yard line through the air.
Benson then goes wild. On three consecutive plays, Benson gashes the Panthers defense to the right, the right, the left for 26 yards setting up Cincinnati at Carolina's 34-yard line with just over three minutes left in the first quarter.
Andy Dalton takes the first down snap with the Bengals in I-formation, fakes the handoff and throws a deep pass down the right sidelines. A.J. Green clearly beat the Panthers secondary, though the pass forced Green to slow up and lean towards the sidelines. The referees called it a catch, but Ron Rivera challenged the catch and the play was overturned after Green was unable to bring his right foot in.
After Jordan Shipley hauled in a five-yard pass, the Bengals setup with five yards to go on third down from the Panthers' 29-yard line. Dalton completes a dump pass to Jermaine Gresham in the left flats on a tight end screen (compliments of a Kyle Cook pancake block) for seven yards and the first down.
Consecutive Benson runs to the right leads to third-and-one from the Panthers 14-yard line that results in a minimal gain. Cincinnati decides to go for it at the start of the second quarter, picking up the first down after Benson exploded through a massive hole on the line for a nine-yard gain.
Benson fell inches short of a touchdown, setting up a second-and-goal, inches outside the endzone that again, falls short of a touchdown. Third and goal, inches away, Dalton hands off to Benson who breaks the goalline for a Cincinnati touchdown, completing a 15-play, 80-yard touchdown drive; 12 of which were touched by Benson himself.