Though the Cincinnati Bengals have secured a 14-3 lead early in the second quarter, there's an eery feeling of lost opportunities with this team right now. A Brandon Tate fumble on a punt return led to a Giants field goal and Cincinnati, electing not to bother attempting a long Mike Nugent field goal in windy conditions, fails to convert the fourth down; Andy Dalton nearly has the football intercepted from the Giants 31-yard line targeting Jermaine Gresham.
Thankfully New York was unable to do anything with the football, going three and out, capped by a scramble up the middle. Carlos Dunlap dropped Eli Manning from behind after the one-yard gain, forcing the Giants to punt.
After receiving the ensuing punt, the Bengals were eventually left with a third and eight from their own 43-yard line with under 11 minutes remaining in the half. Andy Dalton takes the shotgun snap and fires a missile to Mohamed Sanu, running a ten-yard hitch near the left sidelines and uses every bit of his fingers to haul in the football for the 12-yard reception to New York's 45-yard line.
Until we're not. Brian Leonard in the backfield on third and short from the Giants 36-yard line, is stuffed for a one-yard loss. With field position in No Man's Land (too short to punt, too long to attempt a field goal), the offense stays on the field for their second fourth down attempt of the game.
Dalton takes the shotgun snap, feels the need to scramble left, yet stops when he sees Sanu over the middle. The well-placed throw is caught over the middle, picking up 15 yards and converting the fourth down.
Eventually the Bengals are inside the 10-yard line, with second and six at New York's seven-yard line with under six minutes remaining in the second quarter. Cincinnati nearly scored a touchdown on third down, but Andrew Hawkins second foot was out of bounds.
Mike Nugent converts a 28-yard field, giving the Bengals a 17-3 lead on the 15-play, 60-yard drive, consuming 7:46 off the clock.