The Cincinnati Bengals captured some momentum late in the first half, starting with Thomas Howard's quarterback sack forcing Baltimore to punt with 6:02 remaining in the second quarter. It was methodical. On second down from Cincinnati's 19-yard line, Jay Gruden brilliantly called a bubble screen to Andrew Hawkins, escorted by three offensive linemen near the left sidelines for a 27-yard gain. BenJarvus Green-Ellis picked up 11 yards combined on consecutive plays (one pass, one run), followed by a three-yard dink and a six-yard pass to Andrew Hawkins setting up a third-and-one from Baltimore's 34-yard line.
Dalton fell inches short on third down after tripping behind the line of scrimmage. Marvin Lewis thinks, what's the hell. Let's go for it on fourth down from Baltimore's 34-yard line. Down by 14, what's the risk at this point? Handoff to BenJarvus Green-Ellis and the running back easily converted with a four-yard gain.
Cincinnati's assault continued. A.J. Green, clearly with a superior matchup against linebacker Albert McClellan, picked up 15 yards over the middle. Eventually the Bengals were once again resolved to convert a third down following a three-yard run with a Jermaine Gresham six-yard reception near the right sidelines outside of Baltimore's five-yard line.
Both teams exchanged timeouts with Cincinnati at the six-yard line on third-and-one with :35 seconds remaining in the first half. Tension. Mounting. Dalton faked to BenJarvus Green-Ellis and rolled out right. Dalton tried floating the football over Ed Reed and Ray Lewis with the latter accidentally knocking the football out of Reed's hands.
The Bengals? Let's go for fourth down again.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis pounded into the offensive line and realized, holy cap there's no one to pound into. He continued, beating the eventually arrived Rasvens defenders, spinning around and laying flat on the surface with the football crossing the goalline. Touchdown. Baltimore leads 17-10 with :18 remaining in the first half.