COIN TOSS: After a moment of silence in honor of former Bengal Icky Woods’ son, who recently passed away, and the National Anthem, the teams are ready for the coin toss. Daniel Graham, Kyle Orton, Champ Bailey and Wesley Woodyard are captains. The Broncos call tails, and it is tails. Denver elects to receive, and the game is about to get underway.
Q1 15:00: Perrish Cox is back deep to receive, and the rookie fields the kickoff at the 4-yard line. He finds some room and gets it out to the 28-yard line, where the offense will start the game. The starters are Orton at quarterback, Lance Ball at running back, Graham and Marquez Branson at tight end, Jabar Gaffney and Brandon Lloyd at receiver, D’Anthony Batiste, Zane Beadles, J.D. Walton, Russ Hochstein and Ryan Harris on the offensive line.
Q1 14:17: After a 31-yard gain on a pass from Orton to Lloyd on first down, the quarterback finds Ball out of the backfield for a four-yard gain. On second-and-6, Orton completes it to Branson for a first down on the Cincinnati 29-yard line.
Q1 13:07: Ball takes a handoff for a gain of four to the 25-yard line on first down before being taken down by Tank Johnson. Second down brings another pass from Orton, this one intended for Gaffney in the left side of the end zone, but the pass sails incomplete. On third-and-6, the crowd at Paul Brown Stadium gets loud, and Orton drops back intot he shotgun. Eddie Royal has entered the game, and Orton fires a pass toward Graham in the middle of the field. The pass was tipped and falls incomplete, but Ortonw as roughed by Tank Johnson on the play — a penalty good for half the distance to the goal and a first down at the 13-yard line.
Q1 12:19: The ensuing play is a pass from Orton to Royal, and the third-year receiver weaves his way through the defense before diving into the end zone for a 13-yard touchdown. Matt Prater knocks home the extra point, and Denver now leads Cincinnati by a score of 7-0.
DENVER 7, CINCINNATI 0
Q1 12:13: After a short kickoff to the 16-yard line, Bernard Scott returns the kickoff to the 26-yard line. The defensive starters are in — Justin Bannan, Jamal Williams, Ryan McBean, Mario Haggan, Wesley Woodyard, Akin Ayodele, Robert Ayers, Andre’ Goodman, Champ Bailey, Renaldo Hill and Darcel McBath. The first play of the Cincinnati drive is a run by Cedric Benson for no gain.
Q1 10:45: After a six-yard completion to Terrell Owens, Carson Palmer found Chad Ochocinco for a first down. The following play was a 3-yard completion to Jermaine Gresham, then a run by Cedric Benson for a first down at the Denver 40-yard line. It was a gain of 21. Ayers was assessed a 15-yard penalty on the play. Now the ball is at the Denver 25-yard line.
Q1 9:05: Cedric Benson picks up two yards on the ensuing first down. On second-and-8, Palmer hands off to the running back again, but Haggan is there to take him down in the backfield for a loss of three. On third-and-11, Palmer is in the shotgun. He drops back and nearly connects with Owens, but Goodman is there to ensure the pass falls incomplete.
Q1 7:38: Dave Rayner misses the 44-yard field goal attempt, and the Broncos offense will take back over at its own 34-yard line.
Q1 7:30: Orton looks deep on first down, launching toward Lloyd down the right sideline. The pass is batted down by Johnathan Joseph incomplete. On second down, Orton quickly gets it out to Gaffney for a 6-yard gain. Now third-and-4 at the 40-yard line, Orton lines up in the shotgun with Ball to his left. He fires to Lloyd’s back shoulder, but Adam “Pacman” Jones was in tight coverage and knocked the ball away at the last moment. Now Britton Colquitt is in to punt.
Q1 6:36: Jones was back deep to receive Colquitt’s punt. He fields the 44-yard punt, finds a seam and returns it 28 yards to the Cincinnati 44-yard line, where the Bengals offense will take over on the other side of a break.
Q1 6:30: On a pass intended for Owens, Bailey leaps and sticks his arm in the path of the ball to break up the connection. On second down, Palmer looks for Ochocinco, but Bailey is there again, diving to deflect the pass. Before the third down play, Ochocinco gives Bailey a high five at the line of scrimmage. Palmer drops back, firing the ball to Jermaine Gresham just past the coverage of McBath for a first down.
Q1 5:01: After a 1-yard gain by Benson, Palmer connects with Owens underneath the Broncos coverage, but the receiver is brought down by Baraka Atkins after a gain of 8, bringing up third-and-1 at the Denver 31-yard line. On third down, Benson takes the handoff, but Bannan is right there to put an end to the Cincinnati drive, stuffing the run in the backfield for a loss of 1. On fourth-and-2, Mike Nugent is in to attempt the field goal this time around. Cincinnati had the wrong personnel group on the field, however, so the Bengals burn their first timeout.
Q1 3:34: After the timeout, the Bengals have elected to go for it on fourth-and-2 at the Denver 32-yard line, drawing a cheer from the crowd. The fourth-down play is a pass from Palmer to Owens, but he’s brought down by Bailey short of the line of scrimmage — turnover on downs. Denver ball at its own 32, up 7-0.
Q1 3:15: An incomplete pass intended for Gaffney followed by an attempted screen pass that also resulted in an incompletion brings up third-and-10 for the Broncos. Orton steps up in the pocket and fires deep for Gaffney, but the pass falls incomplete. However, Leon Hall got there too early, drawing a pass interference penalty and giving the Broncos a first down at the spot of the foul — a 40-yard penalty to the Cincinnati 28-yard line.
Q1 3:01: Ball picks up three yards on first down, and Orton fires complete to Lloyd for another first down at the 15-yard line. The ensuing first down brings a quick pass to Lloyd, who dives forward after the completion for a 6-yard gain. On second down, Ball takes a handoff and gets close to the first-down marker, bringing up third-and-1 at the 6-yard line. On the next play, Orton quickly fires left to Lloyd, who makes his man miss and jogs into the end zone for the team’s second touchdown of the day. Prater’s extra point makes the score 14-0.
DENVER 14, CINCINNATI 0
Q1 0:59: Prater’s kickoff was returned by Bernard Scott to the 22-yard line. On first down, Benson picked up four yards. On second down, Palmer found Gresham for a 19-yard gain to set up a first down at the Cincinnati 45-yard line as the first quarter comes to a close.
Q2 15:00: Palmer finds Owens for a gain of 8 before the receiver is brought down by Alphonso Smith. After a gain of one by Scott, the running back takes another handoff on third down for a first down.
Q2 13:20: More and more players are subbing in for both teams. On Denver, Joe Mays, Marcus Thomas, Le Kevin Smith, Perrish Cox, Alphonso Smith, Nate Jones and Kevin Alexander are a few of the defensive subs.
Q2 12:18: Akin Ayodele makes the tackle on first down, and Jones and Thomas are there for the stop on second down. Both plays go for a gain of 2 yards, setting up third-and-6. Palmer finds Jordan Shipley for a 17-yard gain on the ensuing play. More backups have come in for Denver, including Cassius Vaughn, while the Bengals still have their first-teamers in.
Q2 8:55: The Bengals have a first-and-goal on the Denver 6-yard line, and Benson fights his way forward to the 1-yard line before being brought down by Nate Jones. On the next play, Benson dives into the end zone for Cincinnati’s first score of the night, waiving his hands in the air to incite the crowd at Paul Brown Stadium. The Nugent extra point is good, and the Bengals pull to within a touchdown.
DENVER 14, CINCINNATI 7
Q2 8:03: Cox is back deep to receive the kickoff. The rookie fields it inside the 5-yard line, finds the sideline and gets to the 24-yard line. Brady Quinn is now in at quarterback, as are a few more offensive subs, including Stanley Daniels at right guard, Tyler Polumbus at left tackle and Brandon Stokley, Britt Davis and Matthew Willis at receiver.
Q2 7:52: Quinn’s first pass is intended for Willis, but it’s batted away. His second pass is intended for Branson, but it is also batted down incomplete. On third-and-10, the quarterback lines up in the shotgun. He drops back and fires for Willis, but it looks like there might have been some miscommunication, and the pass flies out of bounds incomplete. Colquitt is in to punt, with Quan Cosby deep to receive. He gets it at his own 16-yard line before being taken down by Cox at the 33-yard line. It was a 60-yard punt with a 17-yard return.
Q2 7:29: More Bengals backups have entered the game, including quarterback J.T. O’Sullivan.
Q2 7:18: A 3-yard run by Scott on first down is followed by an incomplete pass intended for the running back out of the backfield. On third-and-7, O’Sullivan lines up in the shotgun — but there’s a false start, pushing the Bengals back five yards. The next play has the quarterback dropping back, but with no one open downfield, he takes off running, before being brought down by Mays after a gain of 6. Kevin Huber is back to punt, with Cox once again deep to receive. The rookie waives away his teammates after a short punt, and it’s downed at the Denver 31-yard line — a 33-yard punt.
Q2 5:48: Nate Jones was penalized for blocking his man out of bounds, pushing the spot of the ball back 15 yards to the Denver 15-yard line. On first down, Quinn hands off to Ball for a gain of a yard. Second down brings another handoff to Ball, and this time the running back finds a huge hole in the middle of the line for a 10-yard gain and a first down.
Q2 4:36: The ensuing first down is another run by Ball for a gain of 6. On second down, Quinn fumbles the snap but recovers his own fumble for a loss of 3 yards. On third down, Quinn is in the shotgun. He fires over the head of Stokley to bring up fourth down.
Q2 2:55: After a fair catch by Cosby on the 34-yard line after a 37-yard punt by Colquitt, Scott takes a handoff and sprints down the sideline for a 48-yard gain to the Denver 18-yard line. Two O’Sullivan incompletions later, the Bengals are faced with a third-and-10. An incomplete pass on third down brings out Rayner to attempt a field goal. He knocks home the 36-yarder to narrow the Denver lead.
DENVER 14, CINCINNATI 10
Q2 2:26: Cox is back deep to return the kickoff, and he makes it to the 20-yard line after not much of a hole opened up. On first down, Quinn lines up in the shotgun. He drops back and throws an interception to cornerback David Jones, who jumped in front of the route and runs the 20 yards back to the end zone for a pick-6. That gives the Bengals the lead, and Nugent’s extra point increases the lead to three.
CINCINNATI 17, DENVER 14
Q2 2:15: This time, Willis is back deep to field the kickoff. He leaps to grab it off a bounce near the goal line, sprinting down the sideline to the 28-yard line. Quinn is in the shotgun on first down, quickly firing the ball to Stokley. The receiver sprints forward for a gain of 6 as the clock runs down to the two-minute warning. Adam “Pacman” Jones walks off the field accompanied by trainers after the play.
Q2 2:00: On second down, Quinn fires a pass toward Willis, but it falls incomplete. On third down, Quinn is back in the shotgun. He drops back and lofts a pass toward Willis, who goes up and leaps to grab the completion as a flag is thrown. It turns out the referees call the pass incomplete, but cornerback Johnny Sears was penalized for pass interference, giving the Broncos a first down at the Cincinnati 45-yard line.
Q2 1:35: Quinn completes a pass to Bruce Hall, but the running back is tackled for a loss of 1 yard. On second down, Quinn once again lofts a pass toward Willis, who once again goes up and gets it. Yet again, a flag is thrown for pass interference, but this time it’s declined and Willis’ catch counts, giving the Broncos a first-and-10 at the 22-yard line. As the clock runs down to about one minute remaining in the first half, Quinn connects with Branson for 5 yards then Hall for 4 yards, setting up third-and-1 at the 13-yard line. Denver calls its first timeout.
Q2 0:47: Quinn takes the snap and runs up the middle for 3 yards on the quarterback sneak for a first down. Denver calls its second timeout. After the break, Quinn lines up in the shotgun on first down. He drops back and fires a pass that is tipped at the line and nearly intercepted, but falls incomplete to set up second-and-10 at the 11-yard line. On the next play, Quinn drops back from under center and tries to find Willis inside the 5-yard line, but it is defended by Abdul Hodge and Morgan Trent, and the pass falls incomplete. On third-and-10, Quinn lines up in the shotgun — but not before Denver uses its third and final timeout with 32 seconds remaining in the half.
Q2 0:32: Quinn lines up in the shotgun but he’s chased out of the pocket. He rolls to his right and buys time near the sideline, finally firing a pass toward Hall. After several players tip it in the air, including Hall, it finally falls incomplete. Prater jogs onto the field to attempt a field goal — and he kicks home the 28-yarder to tie the score with 19 seconds remaining in the half.
DENVER 17, CINCINNATI 17
Q2 0:19: Prater kicks off to the 2-yard line, and Jordan Shipley returns it to the 24-yard line. On first down, O’Sullivan is in the shotgun, and he hands off to Scott on a draw play. The running back is tackled by Baraka Atkins and Devin Bishop to bring the first half to a close with the score tied. See you in the Second Half Live Blog.
-Gray Caldwell, DenverBroncos.com