During the stare down of offenses against defenses, the Bengals defense showed their muscle with 10:55 left in the second quarter. On first down at San Francisco's 13-yard line, Frostee Rucker destroyed San Francisco's left tackle into the backfield, shedding the block and dropping Frank Gore for a three-yard loss.
Though Nate Clements destroyed Alex Smith on a rollout to the right, rattling the quarterback's head around, the play was negated on an offensive holding that setup a second-and-18. The 49ers converted, picking up six yards on a sweep to the left from Frank Gore, followed by an eight-yard completion to Michael Crabtree on an out, with man coverage from Nate Clements.
That would be the final time San Francisco picked up the first down. Eventually the 49ers would setup shop at their own 21-yard line, with Alex Smith in shotgun. Jonathan Fanene ended the drive with a quarterback sack that lost eight yards, forcing the 49ers to punt.
The Bengals ensuing drive ended with a three-and-out, compounded by murderous hit on Andy Dalton on first down that lost eight yards, forcing the Bengals to punt.