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Indecision leaves the Bengals with no points on final drive before half time

It appeared that the Bengals just wanted to kill the first half, but then indecision in the end may have cost them.

Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals play-calling can be frustrating at times.

Last week it was an incomplete pass on second down from their own nine-yard with less than a minute remaining in the first half that allowed Chicago to score an eventual field goal -- which was the difference in the game.

This week against the Steelers, it felt like Cincinnati just didn't know what to do.

From their own 15-yard line with 1:49 remaining in the second quarter, Dalton hits A.J. Green on a quick seven-yard pass. While the clock ticks, Dalton hands off to BenJarvus Green-Ellis for a three-yard gain. It generated a first down but the clock continued to roll.

Green-Ellis ran again from their own 25-yard line with :55 seconds remaining, which at this point indicates that Cincinnati wants to call it quits for the half -- considering that they will be on offense to open the second half, it's a good plan.

Then the Bengals called a timeout.


Now Cincinnati decided to get points on the board with a series of short throws to Jermaine Gresham, A.J. Green and Tyler Eifert, reaching the Steelers 48-yard line with :23 remaining in the first half.

Andy Dalton attempted multiple throws down field, all incomplete, before a five yard gain to the Steelers 43-yard line with the Bengals calling using their final timeout with five seconds remaining. Since the attempt would have required 61 yards of Mike Nugent's manly leg, the offense returned to the field for a hail mary. It was actually close with Mohamed Sanu putting his fingers on the football, however it was knocked out right away.

But again, Cincinnati's play-calling to close the first half continues to befuddle us simple folk.