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Strong balance and good runs leads to Bengals 7-0 lead

Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson offered a superior mix of runs and passes, keeping the Houston Texans off-balance while accumulating a handful of big runs and third down conversions.

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Both teams opened the game with a pedestrian effort that led to a punt. Cincinnati's offense resumed from their own six-yard line with 7:38 remaining in the first quarter. Following a second down batted ball by J.J. Watt, Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton hit Mohamed Sanu on a quick slant to pick up 10 yards and the first down.

Then Giovani Bernard ran for 19 yards.

Then Jeremy Hill added another 13 yards, reaching the Houston Texans 49-yard line with 5:30 remaining in the first quarter.

Eventually the Bengals have third and two, with Dalton slamming a fastball into a leaping A.J. Green, reaching the Texans 21-yard line. Two plays later, the Bengals converted another third and two, reaching the Texans six-yard line on a wide open slant. By this point in the game, the Bengals have converted four of five third down opportunities.

Dalton goes under center on first down and hits a quick wide receiver screen to Mohamed Sanu, giving Cincinnati a 7-0 lead.