What a third quarter!
We wrote at half time that this game was still winnable. Yet the Bengals offense started the second half on ice skates with Joe Mays' uncanny ability to rip Cedric Benson like a boy playing a man's game, dropping him twice for five yards lost; which doesn't bode well for the Bengals offense. Additionally the team's defense seemed to be wearing down. With 11:03 left in the third quarter, wide receiver Eric Decker avoided contact with Nate Clements with a swim-like move, beating the cornerback inside. The move opened a window for Kyle Orton to complete a 25-yard touchdown pass to take a 17-3 lead early in the third quarter.
Down by 14 points and a necessity to move the ball downfield, the Bengals offense moved the ball; Andy Dalton hit rookie wide receiver on two passes of over 25 yards. Yet the Bengals offense failed to score a touchdown after an inability to convert on third downs (missing their first six of the game), forced to kick a 37-yard field, which Mike Nugent converted, reducing Cincinnati's deficit to 11 points midway through the third quarter.
The Bengals picked up their tempo on their ensuing possession and boy, the production showed with the Bengals scoring their first touchdown during the game on a six-play drive that went 72 yards. Andy Dalton was dominant on the drive, making the proper reads and the best decisions, completing all five passes for 73 yards passing, capped with Andre Caldwell finding a gap over the middle to reduce Cincinnati's deficit to five points (failed two-point conversion).
Two plays into Denver's ensuing possession, quarterback Kyle Orton takes a seven-drop step and Michael Johnson pressures the quarterback, knocking the football for Domata Peko to recover. The Bengals responded with a Mike Nugent 23-yard field goal to cut Cincinnati's deficit once again to two points.
Cincinnati's third quarter scored 12 points, after a pedestrian three-point first half in which they produced 93 yards of total offense. In the third quarter alone, the Bengals offense, behind the arm of Andy Dalton, posted 142 yards in the third quarter.