Bruce Gradkowski replaced Andy Dalton with under six minutes remaining in the first quarter. It wasn't pretty. After Cedric Peerman was crushed on a four-yard loss, Gradkowski threw an incomplete, Clint Boling was called with a false start and Gradkowski dumped off a six-yard pass on third-and-nine. If there was a word that defined suck more than suck than they sucked that much. Cincinnati is forced to punt and Kevin Huber legs the football to Atlanta's 34-yard line with a seven-yard return by Dominique Franks.
Chris Redman replaces Matt Ryan at quarterback and the Falcons move the football, though with a little help from a third-down Terence Newman pass interference with 2:55 remaining in the first half. Running back Jacquizz Rodgers fires beyond the line of scrimmage, with defensive end Jamaal Anderson losing contain inside, picking up 16 yards to Cincinnati's 34-yard line. With 1:56 remaining in the first half, Terence Newman deflects a Redman pass to the lucky hands of Harry Douglas, picking up 23 yards to the 11-yard line.
Cincinnati's redzone defense again stood strong, forcing an incomplete, a minimal two-yard gain and a five-yard pass underneath. The Falcons convert the 22-yard field goal to take a 13-10 lead with 1:15 remaining in the first half.