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Buccaneers take 10-7 half time lead with three Andy Dalton interceptions

The Cincinnati Bengals head to the locker room with a 10-7 deficit in a first half that featured three Andy Dalton interceptions.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

ROUGH START

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton launched the football towards A.J. Green on the first offensive play of the game. Either the football sailed or Green ran his route incorrectly... the football was intercepted by Jonathan Banks.

Thankfully the Bengals defense didn't give an inch. Well, they allowed five yards on two plays but an Anthony Collins false start put Tampa back to the ten-yard line on third down. After a fumbled snap, Carlos Dunlap wrapped up quarterback Josh McCown for the sack.

Tampa takes a 3-0 lead.

Cincinnati responded with a three-and-out that was capped by a third down sack by Gerald McCoy (who beat Clint Boling).

It wasn't a good first quarter and one may conclude that the second quarter is in store for something similar. Cincinnati's offense had an interception and two punts in the first quarter -- the first punt was the result of a three-and-out.

Tampa Bay, on the other hand, scored their first touchdown of the afternoon on a seven-yard touchdown run by Doug Martin with 12:00 minutes remaining in the second quarter.

The Bengals' offense, after an interception (that led to a game-opening field goal for Tampa Bay) and two punts (the first was a three-and-out), finally strung together positive momentum. The Bengals, who opened their second quarter offense from their own 22-yard line, reached Tampa's 20-yard line.

Dalton took the snap and heaved it deep toward the front left pylon, targeting a double-covered A.J. Green.

Let's recap one more time.

The Bengals offense has opened the game with four possessions. And during those possessions, quarterback Andy Dalton threw two interceptions (including the first play of the game that led to a Buccaneers field goal) and added two more punts (the first of which was three-and-out).

Cincinnati has struggled. Has? -- They still are.

Even during mid-quarter possession in the second, reaching the Tampa Bay's 20-yard line, Dalton threw a poorly advised football into double-coverage targeting A.J. Green. Interception. Touchback. Wasted possession.

Tampa Bay punted back to Cincinnati after the pick, who received the football from their own 36-yard line with 5:11 remaining in the second quarter. Cincinnati strung together an eight-play drive, gaining 60 yards (plus four yards of penalties) to reach Tampa's five-yard line. Dalton faked the handoff (read-option), and scored the touchdown to reduce Tampa Bay's lead 10-7.

Yes. Momentum.

Then with 51 seconds remaining in the first half, Terence Newman intercepts a Josh McCown pass to give Cincinnati the football at Tampa Bay's 46-yard line.

Dalton completed the four-yard pass to Mohamed Sanu and... doesn't a call timeout? The clock ticks from 46 seconds, when the play started, to 25 seconds, when the next play was snapped. There was three timeouts being pocketed by the team, but whatever...

On the next play, Dalton threw the football into the air like a hitting coach training his fielders on how to catch a baseball in the outfield. Tampa Bay didn't threaten a score and the first half comes to a conclusion.

Dalton completed 7 of 11 passes for 62 yards passing in the first half. And of those four incomplete passes, three were interceptions. One could argue that only one interception (the first) lead to points for the Buccaneers... but Cincinnati actually lost points on the succeeding two interceptions because they were driving on Tampa Bay's side of the field.

THE BUG

Andy Dalton was stricken with the same bug that his teammates were hit with earlier this week. Per the pregame radio broadcast, Dalton was excused from team meetings on Saturday night and was given two IV bags early Sunday morning.

THE GOOD

THE BAD

  • The impact that Gerald McCoy had early in the game. He beat Russell Bodine on a third-down sack with over 11 minutes remaining in the first. McCoy added another disruption with 2:35 remaining in the first quarter, hitting Dalton's throwing arm in mid-stride and forcing a floating football to fall harmlessly incomplete.

THE VINES

BENGALS BUCCANEERS
DE Margus Hunt LB Lavonte David
LB Vontaze Burfict TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins
WR Greg Little TE Brandon Myers
RB Rex Burkhead TE Luke Stocker
CB Chris Lewis-Harris OL Evan Dietrich-Smith
OL Jamon Meredith DT Clint McDonald
OL Tanner Hawkinson CB Crezdon Butler