San Diego's opening possession went nine plays and appeared destined for a score, but ended with a Reggie Nelson forced fumble that George Iloka recovered at Cincinnati's 18-yard line.
Though the Bengals went three-and-out, Cincinnati's defense would go on to force a punt on San Diego's ensuing possession, thanks to a third down sack by Wallace Gilberry with 5:14 remaining in the first quarter.
Cincinnati's offense applied run-first philosophy on their second possession, strangely without Andre Smith who was sidelined in favor of Anthony Collins. Eventually the offensive line's complexion would change due to Clint Boling's knee injury, but Cincinnati continued to pound the football, converting the 10-play possession into a touchdown and 7-0 lead.
Of the 67 yards on the possession, 47 were on the ground with BenJarvus Green-Ellis accounting for 29 and the four-yard touchdown with 14:56 in the second quarter.
San Diego responded with an easy 30-yard touchdown to (wide open) tight end Ladarius Green to cap an 83-yard drive on eight plays. The touchdown was setup on a third and ten conversion from Cincinnati's 49-yard line to Keenan Allen -- a 19-yard completion -- that slipped through Adam Jones' finger tips.