If Cincinnati's game plan intends to highlight anything during the Bengals opening drive, it's that offensive coordinator Hue Jackson is going to utilize his running backs. Jeremy Hill opened the game with four straight runs, generating 24 yards rushing, two first downs and reaching the Bengals 43-yard line. A three-yard loss to Giovani Bernard (screen) and seven-yard cross to A.J. Green led to a third-and-six from the Bengals 47-yard line. Barkevious Mingo awards Cincinnati with another first down with a roughing the passer.
Unable to pick up a first on the team's ensuing third down, the Bengals go for it on fourth-and-four from the Browns 32-yard line with 9:31 remaining in the first quarter. Andy Dalton fires a quick slant to A.J. Green with Joe Haden covering, picking up 10 yards and reaching the Browns 22-yard line.
Dalton and Green convert a fourth and four with 9:31 remaining in the first. https://t.co/g6T7X4xoBj— Josh Kirkendall (@Josh_Kirkendall) December 14, 2014
Again the Bengals have third and seven from the Browns 19-yard line with 8:09 remaining. Dalton swung the football out to Giovani Bernard in the flats, picking up 14 yards with a personal foul committed by cornerback Justin Gilbert.
Touchdown, Jeremy Hill. Bengals lead 7-0 after 14 play drive touchdown drive. https://t.co/92JBYE1kxz— Josh Kirkendall (@Josh_Kirkendall) December 14, 2014
Cincinnati is now on the Browns two-yard line, where Jeremy Hill pounds the football into the endzone for a 7-0 lead. The drive went 14 plays on 84 yards and consumed 7:07 off the clock.
Cleveland responds with a three-and-out, thanks to a stuff by Reggie Nelson on third and two.
Bengals force Browns to go three and out on opening possession. Reggie Nelson stuffed him short of the first. https://t.co/pgy0TzyiSN— Josh Kirkendall (@Josh_Kirkendall) December 14, 2014
Jeremy Hill and Giovani continue to generate significant runs, with Hill posting a 20-yarder and Giovani adding 14 yards. With the insane dependancy on the running game, the Bengals return to the redzone but are unable to capitalize after Dalton takes a quarterback sack.
Mike Nugent converts the 44-yard field goal to give Cincinnati a 10-0 lead with 2:01 remaining in the first quarter.