After the Bengals offense opened the games scoring with an 11-yard touchdown pass to A.J. Green, Mike Nugent kicked the ensuing kickoff near the front right pylon, forcing the returner to catch the football, barely avoiding paint on the sidelines, all the while the coverage team converged, dropping the returner at the Colts' six-yard line. However unlike Cedric Benson and the Bengals offense, the Colts picked up their first first down of the possession after three consecutive runs, picking up 14 yards combined.
Even with the pressure from Chris Crocker on Curtis Painter's left, the quarterback completed a nine-yard first down to Reggie Wayne on a quick out at Indianapolis' 30-yard line, punching out of bad field position. Carter picked up the first down on a power run up the middle. After a five-yard pass to Reggie Wayne, Manny Lawson jumped a pass intended for Dallas Clark. The pass was deflected, but he was in perfect position for the interception and pick-six. On third-and-five from the Colts 39-yard line, Painter avoided the six-man rush and found a lane up the middle to pick up 12 yards and the first down.
Geno Atkins had enough. First down from the Bengals 49-yard line, Atkins exploded through the line of scrimmage and smacked Atkins in the face, four yards deep in the backfield. Now the Colts, behind schedule, are second-and-12. Painter hands off on a stretch to the right, completely shutdown with Carlos Atkins forcing Carter to cut left right into defensive end Jonathan Fanene for a no-gain. Third-and-14, Painter hits a hot read to Donald Brown out of the backfield, left flats, falling well short of the first down. Colts punt.