The Cincinnati Bengals defense did everything possible to stay on the field at the end of the first half.
First, they allowed a 3rd-and-9 conversion on a Romo completion to Miles Austin, which went just out of the reach of Leon Hall. Then, on another third down, the Bengals' pass rush forced Romo out of the pocket without a single receiving option. As he scrambled, he was grabbed and tackled by several lineman. But, as Carlos Dunlap came in late to finish the sack, he grasped Romo's facemask to warrant a 15-yard penalty and an automatic first down.
The Cowboys, gifted with a fresh set of downs, could not capitalize. After short completions, penalties and dropped passes, Dallas again faced a third down. And again, Romo was forced to helplessly run around. Avoiding the pass rush, Romo stepped back into the pocket, set his feet and fired deep into Cincinnati territory.
Reggie Nelson decided he had had just about enough of this nonsense, and intercepted the Romo pass. The Bengals regained possession, took a knee and went to halftime with a 13-10 lead.