If there were any concerns about Mike Nugent's rehabilitated leg, they're now gone. With :51 seconds left in the first half, the Cincinnati Bengals coaching staff wanted a good observation with Andy Dalton running the two-minute offense. From their own 26-yard line, Dalton connected on four consecutive passes; the first three resulted in players going out of bounds only taking 19 seconds off the clock. Dalton's fourth straight completion, a five-yard reception by Jordan Shipley, forced the team to take a second timeout from Carolina's 37-yard line.
“It showed he can manage the game,” said offensive coordinator Jay Gruden. “He does a great job knowing what the situation is and what’s at stake and what we need for a first down. He’s got a lot of freedom for a young kid and he’s handling it well so far. He’s off to a great start. Mentally he’s seeing and doing what we’re asking.”
Dalton's two-minute offense would stall with consecutive incomplete passes, one of which was a misfired second-down pass to A.J. Green down the right sidelines into the endzone. Nugent jogged onto the field with 13 seconds remaining in the half on fourth down, crushing a 55-yard field goal to give the Bengals a 24-7 half time lead. His 55-yard conversion would have tied Chris Bahr's 55-yard field goal on September 23, 1979 against the Houston Oilers. Though Nugent isn't a stranger to long field goals; he crushed a 54-yard field goal against the New England Patriots on September 12, 2010, which ranks as the second-longest field goal in franchise history.
Successful two-minute offense. Successful long field conversion. Last night was a good night for this first team offense.