Punt returner Adam Jones tried to make something out nothing. It's not surprising. That's just Jones. His effort. Determination. Motivation. Whatever. When the Bengals want to make a play, they usually lean on Jones.
Saints punter Thomas Morstead crushed a punt 54 yards to the Bengals seven-yard line with 1:13 remaining in the first half. Jones wrapped the football and ran left, right, around, before leaning forward for a nine-yard gain. Sixteen seconds chipped away when the Bengals offense took the field from their own 16-yard line with :57 remaining in the second quarter. A first down run by Jeremy Hill lost two yards and the clock continued counting down.
The Bengals, leading 10-3, were comfortable heading into the locker room -- especially considering Cincinnati was going to open the second half on offense. That much was apparent.
They dialed up another run to end the first half, allowing fans and viewers to get nachos, chili dogs, cheeseburgers and a beverage of choice. Since I'm not on the Forbes list of richest people in the United States, I prefer not-beer at the stadium.
From the standard I-formation, the Bengals have A.J. Green wide right, Mohamed Sanu wide left, and Ryan Hewitt at fullback with Jeremy Hill in the backfield.
We have zone blocking. Kevin Zeitler and Russell Bodine doubled-down on the nose tackle, Tyrunn Walker. Similarly, Andrew Whitworth and Clint Boling attacked Cameron Jordan, who played the three-technique. Right tackle Marshall Newhouse sealed out his assignment, as did Jermaine Gresham on the left side. Fullback Ryan Hewitt's target was the point of attack and he nailed the first black jersey he saw.
Linebacker David Hawthorn dive-bombed Jeremy Hill's running lane but Hewitt neutralized the effort. Curtis Lofton, following Hawthorn through the point of attack, was taken out by Zeitler, who had chipped away from his block on Walker. Hill, patiently watching the blocks unfold, cut behind Zeitler and launched forward.
Then it was all Hill.
"I wasn't surprised how big the hole was – as a matter of fact I had a chance to make a big run on the play before," said Hill after the game. "I knew I had all of their defensive players playing up on the box, and once I got through to the secondary it was just up to me to make a play and then I got down quickly enough for us to kick a field goal and to give us three points before the half."
After the Bengals used their final timeout in the half, Mike Nugent gave Cincinnati a 13-3 lead as the clock expired.