By this point in the game, the true value of the preseason finale takes form. Bubble players are being featured and even those dealing with various injuries are getting a little more work. Most of the Bengals first-team offense and defense split by the second possession respectively.
Cincinnati's defense has reacted strongly. In the three possessions since Indianapolis scored a field goal, the Indianapolis Colts were forced into consecutive three and outs, and on the third, Adam Vinatieri pushed a 52-yard field goal wide left. It was more of a sigh of relief due to the possession being initiated after Cedric Peerman fumbled the football early in the second quarter.
With Josh Johnson under center, the Bengals easily move the football 58 yards on eight plays scoring a touchdown on a beautiful lob pass to Marvin Jones. The touchdown gave Cincinnati a 17-3 lead with 7:54 remaining in the first half behind Cedric Peerman and Johnson's fantastic ability to escape pressure. For Johnson, that's three first half possessions, two that resulted in scores.
Indianapolis challenged late in the second quarter with a nine-play, 54-yard possession, but an offensive hold and a strong run defense forced the Colts to punt with 2:06 remaining in the second quarter.
And Daniel Herron said upon thee, thy shall not pin the Bengals. Breaking through the line of scrimmage without any resistance, Herron picked up 20 yards to the 29-yard line as the two minute warning approached. After a series of incomplete passes, Johnson finds Cobi Hamilton's crossing route for an 18-yard gain to the Bengals 47-yard line.
After another series of incomplete passes on first and second down, the Bengals have third and ten with 1:14 remaining. Johnson finds Ryan Whalen's crossing route, who stretched vertically and hauls down the 16-yard reception to the Colts 37-yard line. Following an incomplete pass to Alex Smith and seven-yard Dane Sazenbacher reception, Johnson is sacked for an 11-yard loss and the Bengals offense calls it a half with a punt.