Cincinnati's 73rd meeting against the Cleveland Browns started as they always do. Close. The Bengals defense started the game, allowing only one first down on Cleveland's first two possessions. The Bengals offense did move the ball for the game's opening score, going 61 yards on 14 plays in 8:48 taking a 3-0 lead. Both teams exchanged punts twice before Cincinnati ran an 11 play, 63 yard touchdown drive to take a 10-0 lead with over a minute left in the first half.
After the defense forced a three-and-out with under 30 seconds left in the half, the Bengals call a timeout. After an incomplete and sack, Palmer rolls out left on third-and-19 when Shaun Rogers is called for a personal flag after tackling Palmer on a horse-collar. Shayne Graham converts a 53-yard field goal and the Bengals take a 13-0 lead into half time.
Cincinnati's passing offense was largely been negated by a good Browns pass rush, poor protection by the offensive line and Carson Palmer feeling antsy in the pocket early in the game. Defensively, the Bengals are playing strong, only allowing 49 yards on Cleveland's first three possessions, all of which ended in punts. They've forced five straight punts, including three three-and-outs. So far the defense and the Bengals rushing offense are the stories of the game.
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