Forcing the Steelers to punt to Cincinnati's 12-yard line opens the Bengals offense with 12:30 remaining in the first quarter. And Dalton opens with a quick strike to A.J. Green, running a hitch near the right sidelines, picking up seven yards through the air, and running for eight more yards, picking up 15 yards total on the play.
Yet like the Steelers opening possession, the Bengals are only able to pick up one first down. After a three-yard BenJarvus Green-Ellis run, Lawrence Timmons fought around the edge to sack Andy Dalton, forcing a third and 14 from the Bengals 23-yard line. Dalton scrambles after holding onto the football too long and is dropped for a second sack, forcing the Bengals to punt.
Fortunately for the Bengals, Brett Keisel was flagged for excessive celebration, given a new set of downs at their own 37-yard line. Following a no-gain and quick bubble screen to A.J. Green for five yards, the Bengals have third and five at their own 42-yard line. Dalton quickly throws to Ryan Whalen, a little high, where the receiver jumped up, risking his body for the grab and grabbing the first down conversion.
Incomplete deep pass and BenJarvus Green-Ellis no-gain sets up a third and ten from the 48-yard line with less than eight minutes remaining. Dalton overthrows Jermaine Gresham over the middle, incomplete. Bengals punt.