Three starting players fall knee injuries. The offense went three-and-out during their first possession. An offside penalty on special teams negated a punt, giving the Jets a new set of downs. Yet the Bengals defense stood tall without their top defensive end and middle linebacker, stalling New York's 11-play drive and forcing the punt. The Bengals offense finally showed life.
With 5:10 remaining in the first quarter on third-and-six from the Bengals 24-yard line, Dalton snapped a quick pass to Andrew Hawkins for a seven-yard gain and the first down. After a minimal three-yard gain by BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Dalton found Brandon Tate on a crossing pattern near the left sidelines for ten yards. On the next play from the Bengals 31-yard line, Green-Ellis easily turned the left edge where contain collapsed, picking up 12 yards down the sidelines.
Eventually with 1:34 remaining in the first quarter, the Bengals have third-and-ten from the Jets 44-yard line. Dalton takes the shotgun with an empty backfield and Green-Ellis lined up as an inside receiver. The running back ran five yards and cut in, catching the pass with perfect stride, gaining 18 yards to the Jets 26-yard line. After a two-yard gain by Brian Leonard, Dalton hooks up with Jermaine Gresham on 19-yard pass to the five-yard line.
A minimal gain and a dropped pass by A.J. Green (on a quick slant) and the Bengals setup third-and-goal from the four-yard line. Dalton takes the shotgun snap with Green-Ellis flanking his left, overthrowing a floater to Gresham near the left back pylon. Mike Nugent converts the chipshot field goal to take a 3-0 lead.