After we defined the first quarter as an exciting defensive struggle between squads trying to build momentum on offense, both teams discovered their mojo with an exchange of touchdowns in the second quarter.
On the first play of the second quarter from the Steelers 40-yard line, Ben Roethlisberger hit Markus Wheaton on a 16-yard gain sustaining a nine-play possession that began at their own 25-yard line. Now on Cincinnati's 44-yard line, Roethlisberger connected on the ensuing play with a wide-open Lance Moore, taking advantage of a significant gap in coverage, for a 29-yard gain.
Following a pair of Le'Veon Bell runs, the Steelers convert third and three on a dump-off pass to Bell, falling inches shy of the goalline. Roethlisberger faked the handoff on first and goal, from the one-yard line with 11:22 remaining in the second, and hit a wide-open Heath Miller for a one-yard touchdown.
The Steelers take the 7-0 lead.
With 10:27 remaining in the second quarter, Andy Dalton launched the football 56 yards down the middle of the field. A.J. Green lined-up under the arching pass to haul in the 56-yard reception.
Dalton and AJ connect for a 56 yard pass to the PIT 13-yard line. https://t.co/zpx0tbka0f— Josh Kirkendall (@Josh_Kirkendall) December 7, 2014
Two plays later, Dalton hit Gresham on the 10-yard touchdown to tie the game at seven.
Jermaine Gresham touchdown, tied the game at 7-7 with 9:06 remaining in the second. https://t.co/m41GJn2LeO— Josh Kirkendall (@Josh_Kirkendall) December 7, 2014
Following a forced three-and-out by Cincinnati's defense, the offense marched 85 yards on 10 plays to take a 14-7 lead on Andy Dalton's 20-yard touchdown run.
Andy Dalton sprints 20 yards on a read option to give the Bengals a 14-7 lead. https://t.co/Qm8Cutrwf9— Josh Kirkendall (@Josh_Kirkendall) December 7, 2014
The Bengals offense in the first quarter: 13 plays, 44 yards.
The Bengals offense in the second quarter: 15 plays, 165 yards.
With 2:57 remaining in the second quarter, the Steelers, starting from their own 15-yard line, invaded Cincinnati's redzone by reaching the Bengals four-yard line with 30 seconds remaining in the half. After an incomplete pass to Antonio Brown and Lance Moore, the Steelers have third and goal from the four-yard line with 20 seconds remaining. An incomplete pass out of the back of the endzone forced a Shaun Suisham 22-yard field goal, reducing Cincinnati's lead to 14-10.
Dalton took a knee to end the first half.