Despite the early struggles by the Bengals offense, things are slowly coming together.
After opening the season with an interception, three-and-out, the Bengals offense strung together a game-tying first quarter 97-yard possession, capped by a wide-open touchdown reception by A.J. Green. Sustaining another series of plays, Cincinnati's early second quarter possession stalled when an Andy Dalton pass bounced off Green's hands that led to a Charles Tillman interception, returned for 39 yards.
Does that sap the strength of the Bengals offense?
Starting from their own nine-yard line with 7:02 remaining in the second, the Bengals strung together another 90-plus yard possession that led to a wide open A.J. Green, who caught the football and scored the 45-yard touchdown to give Cincinnati a 14-7 lead.
Cincinnati's defense has been as dominate as expected. Of the six Bears possessions, five have resulted in punts (and four of those were three and out possessions). Carlos Dunlap was huge on third downs, pressuring Jay Cutler into a quick throw that led to an incomplete. On the flip side of the two minute warning, Dunlap deflected a third down Cutler pass and nearly picked it off, forcing the Bears to punt.
But it's clearly a case extremes. Either the Bengals are an efficient drive-producer that's taking their shots deep, or the team is making serious mistakes that's leading to points for the Bears.
On second and 14 from their own eight-yard line with :59 seconds remaining in the first half, the Bengals called a pass and the incomplete to Mohamed Sanu stopped the clock. After a Giovani Bernard draw, the Bears called a timeout, giving Devin Hester an opportunity to return the football. Dre Kirkpatrick was further flagged for a personal foul, moving the Bears to their own 41-yard line. Though the Bears offense didn't do much, Robbie Gould converted the 58-yard field goal with :11 remaining in the half.
Cincinnati will get the ball to open the second half, leading 14-10.
In other first half notes, the Bengals have converted five of seven third down opportunities with 245 yards of offense against the Bears, converting only 25 percent of their third downs and generating 97 yards.