After two back-to-back scoring drives, the Bengals seem to cool a little on offense until the end of the second quarter. They headed into the locker room with a 17-3 lead after a first quarter touchdown and field goal and a second half touchdown. There were beautiful plays as well as a fair share of ugly ones. The Bengals have looked good on defense for the most part and it's clear that this game will likely be decided by whose defense can step it up in the second half.
The Bengals opened the game getting the ball after the Seahawks won the toss and deferred to the second half. After a 25-yard return from Brandon Tate, Andy Dalton and Bernard Scott led the Bengals all the way to the Seahawks 16-yard line where the drive stalled once the Bengals were unable to convert a third-and-seven.
Mike Nugent came on the field and put a kick right through the uprights, giving the Bengals a three-point lead with a little over eight minutes left in the first quarter.
The Bengals stopped the Seahawks on a three-and-out, forcing Seattle to punt to Adam Jones. On Jones' first play in a game in over a year, he returned the punt 65-yards all the way to the Seattle 26-yard line.
The Bengals offense took the field again in great position and took advantage of it. After two running plays from Bernard Scott, Dalton found Jerome Simpson on a slant and threw a strike across the middle for the game's first touchdown, giving the Bengals a 10-0 lead.
The Seahawks, led by Charlie Whitehurst, who started the game in Tarvaris Jackson's place, then drove down the field against the Bengals defense. The drive started at the Seahawks 21-yard line and stalled on the Bengals' 29-yard line. Kicker Steven Hauschka took the field and somehow kicked a 47-yard field goal through the uprights after a bad snap and hold.
Both teams got a little sloppy after that scoring drive. In the second quarter, neither team were able to pick up a first down for quite some time. The Bengals three straight three-and-outs, thanks to heavy pressure on Dalton and three offensive holding penalties (two on Bobbie Williams and one on Andre Smith).
The Seahawks weren't able to do much either, which forced Pete Carroll to replace Whitehurst with Tarvaris Jackson. The Bengals defense did its job, even forcing a fumble after a bad handoff between Jackson and Marshawn Lynch.
The majority of the second quarter was a battle between the league's second-ranked defense and the league's 15th-ranked defense.
It wasn't until late in the second quarter that the Bengals looked like they were going to drive down the field. They converted a couple of first downs, thanks to an encroachment and defensive pass interference penalties on the defense.
By the two-minute warning, the Bengals had entered Seattle territory for only the second time in the quarter and just when it looked like the offense might stall again, Dalton dropped back and threw a 43-yard bomb to A.J. Green, who lost his defender with a beautiful double move, in the end zone. the Bengals had a 17-3 lead with 1:51 left in the half.
However, Nate Washington returned Mike Nugent's kick all the way to the 35-yard line, which sparked the Seahawks offense. They drove all the way down the field and were finally faced with a 4th-and-two on the three-yard-line with only 14 seconds on the clock. Jackson handed the ball to Lynch who dove forward far enough for the first down but not enough for the score. The Bengals defensive players stayed in the pileup just long enough for time to run out before the Seahawks had a chance to run another play.
The Bengals headed to the locker room with a 17-3 lead at the half. Hopefully they can continue to stop the Seahawks and continue to move the ball on offense when they need to. We'll have to wait and find out.