Third-and-4 from the Denver 26: Peyton Manning and the Broncos offense set the tone early, converting their first third-down attempt of the game on a 5-yard pass to Demaryius Thomas. The team would also convert its next third-down attempt with a 7-yard completion from Manning to Lance Ball. That drive culminated in a 43-yard field goal by Matt Prater.
Third-and-2 from the Denver 28: Tied 3-3, the Broncos were looking to get some momentum on offense on their first drive of the second quarter. Manning delivered a strike to Thomas and the third-year wideout fought off Bengals defenders to gain three yards for the first down.
Second-and-7 from the Denver 34: Manning dialed up his first deep ball of the day and found Thomas streaking open down the left sideline. Forty-five yards later, the Broncos were in business and ended up taking a 10-3 lead later in the drive when wide receiver Eric Decker caught a 13-yard touchdown pass from Manning.
First-and-10 from the Cincinnati 23: With Cincinnati looking to cut into Denver’s 10-3 lead with a two-minute drive at the end of the first half, linebacker Von Miller sacked Andy Dalton for a 3-yard loss. The play kept the clock ticking and stopped the Bengals from getting momentum going to end the half. Kicker Mike Nugent missed a 46-yard field goal attempt as time expired to keep the score 10-3 in favor of the Broncos at the intermission.
Second-and-7 from the Cincinnati 9: Denver’s offense drove down the field hoping to extend its lead to 14. After driving inside the 10-yard line, Manning’s pass was intercepted by Bengals cornerback Terence Newman in the end zone. Instead of a possible Broncos touchdown, Cincinnati then responded with a drive of its own, resulting in a 49-yard field goal to cut Denver’s lead to 4.
Third-and-8 from the Denver 3: Backed up to start the ensuing drive, Denver quickly found itself facing a third-and-8 after a pair of runs yielded just 2 yards. Newman came up with his second interception of the day, picking off Manning’s pass at the Denver 27-yard line. That strong field position turned into a 2-yard touchdown run by BenJarvus Green-Ellis that gave Cincinnati its first lead of the game.
Third-and-3 from the Denver 27: After the Bengals claimed the lead, Denver was faced with a crucial third down. Manning hit Decker across the middle and the third-year wideout did the rest, shedding tacklers for a 30-yard gain to set the Broncos up in Bengals territory. Two plays later, Manning connected with tight end Joel Dreessen for a 1-yard scoring strike and Denver re-took the lead for good.
Third-and-25 from the Cincinnati 18: Forced into a third-and-long, Andy Dalton took a shot down the field, looking for his leading receiver, A.J. Green. Cornerback Champ Bailey stepped in front of the pass, and intercepted it to end any chance of a Bengals comeback. Denver scored a game-sealing touchdown on the ensuing drive and the Broncos improved to 5-3 with a 31-23 victory.