At the 10:06 mark in the second quarter, the Bengals finally put pressure on Brian Hoyer, who has largely applied a game-plan of quick passes to neutralize the team's biggest strength. The incomplete second down pass from the Browns 31-yard line was the first after Hoyer completed nine straight passes. Yet, on the next play, Hoyer lobbed the football deep down the left sidelines where Josh Gordan jumped and pulled in the football over Adam Jones for the 33-yard gain to Cincinnati's 36-yard line.
Eventually the Browns were forced into a third and 14 with 8:29 remaining in the second quarter thanks to a Davone Bess drop and a four-yard Bobbie Rainey loss on a collective effort by Domata Peko, James Harrison and Geno Atkins. However, Josh Gordan found a gap in the zone and picked up 16 yards and the first down. However, consecutive incomplete passes by Brian Hoyer led to a failed Billy Cundiff 37-yard attempt with 7:29 remaining in the first half.
Cincinnati dug into their bag of tricks with 6:19 remaining in the second quarter, after Dalton takes the flea flicker and attempts to throw deep down the middle of the field for a wide open Mohamed Sanu. However, the throw was under-thrown which led to a 40-yard pass interference penalty.
After a four-yard BenJarvus Green-Ellis run, an incomplete to Green and a deflected Tyler Eifert reception, the Bengals go for it on fourth and one at their own seven-yard line. A two-yard loss leads to a turnover on downs and no points.