Cincinnati's defense quickly forced Cleveland into a three-and-out to start the game, despite the Browns gaining 13 yards on the possession -- that's the cost of a Joe Thomas false start on second down. With 13:38 remaining in the first, the Browns have third and two from their own 33-yard line. Brian Hoyer faked the handoff and rolled out to the right. Avoiding a big hit by Carlos Dunlap, Hoyer lobbed the pass to Chris Ogbonnaya while Taylor Mays made the open-field tackle for a no-gain, forcing the Browns to punt.
Though Cincinnati gained a handful of first downs, their ensuing possession would eventually result in a punt. However, Jermaine Gresham found a gap in the zone and generated 26 yards to the Bengals 44-yard line, which would eventually help shift field position for the Bengals because Davone Bess fair caught Cincinnati's punt at the Browns five-yard line with 8:41 remaining in the first quarter.
Yet using a combination of runs and high-percentage throws, the Browns reached their own 39-yard line when Cleveland called a bubble screen to Travis Benjamin. The wide receiver negotiated blocks and sprinted down the left sidelines for a 39 yard gain before Terence Newman pushed him out of bounds at the Bengals 22-yard line.
Eventually the Browns have third down with Bess in the slot and Brandon Ghee covering. Bess runs a quick slant with Ghee trailing, picking up 17 yards to the Bengals one-yard line. Jordan Cameron caught the one-yard fade over Taylor Mays to take a 7-0 lead.