COIN TOSS: Orton, Decker, Dawkins, Bunkley, Kuper and Woodyard are out at midfield representing the Broncos for the coin toss. Cincinnati calls heads and wins it. The Bengals elect to defer, meaning the Broncos will receive to start the game.
KICKOFF: Matt Willis and Jeremiah Johnson are deep to receiver for Denver. But they watch as Mike Nugent sails the kick out of the back of the end zone for the touchback.
Q1 14:59: The Broncos offense comes out onto the field led by quarterback Kyle Orton. He’s accompanied by running back Willis McGahee, fullback Spencer Larsen, receivers Eric Decker and Eddie Royal, tight end Daniel Fells, left tackle Ryan Clady, left guard Zane Beadles, center J.D. Walton, right guard Chris Kuper and right tackle Orlando Franklin.
Q1 14:15: Orton starts off strong, rolling to his right and completing a 14-yard pass to Royal. McGahee then gets two carries in a row. The first one he bursts up the middle for 8 yards before being dropped in the backfield for a loss of one yard. Then on third-and-3, Orton finds Royal over the middle for a 4-yard completion and a first down at the Broncos 45-yard line.
Q1 12:00: On first down, Orton throws a swing pass to tight end Julius Thomas, who sidesteps a few tacklers and gains 5 yards on the play. However, the Broncos are flagged for a false start before the ensuing snap, bringing up second-and-10. Orton gives it to McGahee who rips off a 7-yard run to bring up another third-and-3. Out of the shotgun, Orton hands it to Lance Ball who runs left tackle for a 4-yard gain and a Broncos first down on the Bengals 44-yard line.
Q1 9:59: Ball gets his second carry in the row and breaks a tackle in the backfield before getting 4 yards. McGahee comes back in on second down and runs through a huge lane up the middle for 12 yards for a first down. On the next play, Orton has time and finds Matt Willis on the left sideline for a 15-yard pass to bring the Broncos down to the Bengals 13-yard line.
Q1 7:56: On first down, McGahee is stopped at the line of scrimmage for no gain. On the next play, Orton connects with Larsen out of the backfield, who takes the catch and runs for 10 yards before being pushed out of bounds but not before getting the first down.
INJURY UPDATE: Julius Thomas, ankle, is questionable to return.
Q1 7:13: On first down from Cincinnati’s 3-yard line, Orton throws it away to bring up second down. The team lines up in a jumbo set as Orton hands off to McGahee, who is stood up by most of the Bengals defense at the 1. McGahee gets it again at the next play and runs behind the right tackle for the 1-yard score. Prater tacks on the extra point. That completed an 15-play, 80-yard, 8:30-minute opening scoring drive for the Broncos. McGahee had seven carries for 29 yards and the touchdown.
BRONCOS 7, BENGALS 0
Q1 6:30: Prater kicks off and it sails out of the back of the end zone, hitting the back wall.
Q1 6:28: The Broncos defense appears on the field for the first time. The starters are defensive ends Robert Ayers and Jason Hunter, tackles Brodrick Bunkley and Kevin Vickerson, linebackers Joe Mays, Wesley Woodyard and Von Miller, cornerbacks Cassius Vaughn and Andre’ Goodman, and safeties Brian Dawkins and Rahim Moore.
Q1 6:20: Cedric Benson gets the handoff on first down and runs 6 yards. Quarterback Andy Dalton out of the shotgun then shovels it to Benson, to runs a sweep down the left sideline 14 yards for the first down. On the ensuing play, Dalton comes out in the shotgun again, completing a 5-yard pass to Jordan Shipley over the middle to bring up second down. Benson then rumbles up the middle for 4 yards, but it’s 1-yard short of the first down. The Bengals give it to Benson on third-and-1, but Mays comes off the right edge to stop the running back in the backfield, and Mays gets an excited chest bump from Woodyard. The Bengals are forced to punt and Royal makes the fair catch and his own 14-yard line.
Q1 3:12: On first down, Orton hands off to McGahee, who picks his way through the middle for 3 yards. Orton then throws to Decker 7 yards downfield, but there was some miscommunication as Decker was not prepared for the pass as he was blocking the cornerback. He’s flagged for pass interference, which the Bengals decline, to bring up third-and-7. On third down, Orton’s pass is tipped twice, first by a defensive linemen then a linebacker, before falling incomplete. Colquitt is brought on to punt, and Quinton Carter stones Brandon Tate after just a 3-yard return on a 57-yard punt.
Q1 2:12: The Bengals take over at their own 29-yard line. Bernard Scott gets the carry on first down and runs off the right side for 9 yards before Woodyard brings him down for his third tackle of the game. Dalton then finds rookie receiver A.J. Green sitting in a pocket in the middle of the field for a 5-yard pass and a first down.
Q1 0:50: Scott gets another first-down carry, but this time Dawkins takes him down for just a 1-yard gain. Dalton then finds Green again, this time on a quick release, but Vaughn was there to tackle him immediately after the catch. The Bengals will start the second quarter with third-and-1 from their own 48-yard line.
Q2 15:00: Defensive tackle Ryan McBean comes in for Vaughn on third and short as the Bengals line up in a jumbo package. There appears to be some miscommunication among the Bengals offense though, and Cincinnati takes its first timeout of the half.
Q2 14:59: The Bengals come out of the timeout in a big set again, and Dalton drops back on a play-action pass. He throws it deep to Green, but with tight coverage from Andre Goodman, the pass is long and falls incomplete. Kevin Huber is brought on to punt and Royal ducks the fair catch as the ball bounces into the end zone for a touchback.
Q2 14:45: The Broncos come out on first down with Orton handing the ball off to McGahee, who runs a counter and picks up 2 yards. Under center, Orton throws a quick slant on second down to Royal. The ball is deflected by the Bengals are called for pass interference and the Broncos get a first down.
Q2 14:09: On first down, Orton looks deep to Royal, but the receiver stops his route halfway and limps as he falls down. The medical staff is attending to him along the right sideline.
Q2 14:04: After Royal is helped off by the trainers, McGahee gets a carry and goes 3 yards. Tim Tebow comes out on third-and-7 and lines up in the slot as the Broncos are down to just two receivers in Decker and Willis. Out of the shotgun, Orton hands it to Ball, who is stopped for a loss of 7 yards. Colquitt comes on to punt, and after an illegal block above the waist, the Bengals take over on their own 11-yard line.
Q2 12:28: Dalton fires an incomplete pass on first down, looking for Simpson on a slant route. On second down, Dalton throws to Green on a type of wide receiver screen, and Green runs 10 yards for the first down.
*INJURY UPDATE*: Eddie Royal, groin, is questionable to return.
Q2 11:14: On first down, Benson gets the carry, but Mays is right there to stand him up for no gain. Dalton throws a 9-yard pass to Simpson on the left side to bring up third-and-1. Benson gets the third down carry, and for the third consecutive third-and-1, the Broncos stop the Bengals, with Dawkins making the tackle. Huber is brought on to punt, and his kick goes out of bounds at the 25-yard line.
Q2 9:53: On first down, Orton finds Decker over the middle for a 19-yard gain, but the receiver fumbles it on the tackle and the Bengals recover, with Leon Hall returning it 9 yards to the Broncos 41 yard line.
Q2 9:06: Benson got the first-down carry for Cincinnati, going 9 yards. On the ensuing play, Dalton throws it to Caldwell for another 9-yard gain and a first down. Dalton throws it again on first down, but his pass goes off his receiver’s hands and is almost picked off.
Q2 8:09: On second down, Benson runs it, but Ayers is held on the play, pushing the Bengals back to second-and-20 from the Broncos 33-yard line. Afterwards, Dalton throws a short pass to Benson, who gets a 10-yard gain before Mays comes up awith another big hit.
Q2 7:10: Dalton comes out of the shotgun on third down, but the Broncos bring some pressure and Dalton is flushed out of the pocket. Just before he is tackled, he throws to Brian Leonard on the right side, but the Broncos bring him down for a 4-yard loss. Nugent comes on to kick a 45-yard field goal and it is good.
BRONCOS 7, BENGALS 3
Q2 6:33: Nugent’s kick sails through the end zone for a touchback. There still has yet to be a kick return at Sports Authority Field at Mile High this season.
Q2 6:32: The Broncos offense comes out onto the field, and Orton hands it off to McGahee on first down. McGahee runs right for a 2-yard gain before being tackled by Rey Maualuga. McGahee gets the carry again on second down, and the running back goes left before cutting right and picking his way for 8 yards and a first down.
Q2 5:10: On first-and-10 from the Broncos 30-yard line, Orton throws to Larsen out of the backfield, who is up-ended after a 7-yard completion. The Broncos go right back to the fullback on second down, who runs right up the middle for 4 yards and a first down at the Bengals 41-yard line.
Q2 3:57: McGahee gets the first down carry and runs up the middle before being tackled for a two-yard gain. McGahee is injured on the play, but walks off under his own power.
Q2 3:44: On second-and-8, Orton finds Decker for a quick completion over the middle, who runs a bit for a 14-yard completion. McGahee jogs back on the field, but Denver takes its first timeout.
Q2 2:41: After the 30-second timeout, the Broncos break the huddle. Orton hands it off to McGahee, who cuts back into the middle for a 2-yard gain. That brings us to the two-minute warning. The Broncos will have second-and-8 on the Bengals 41-yard line when play resumes.
Q2 2:00: Tight end Virgil Green comes in for Larsen on second down, giving the Broncos a two tight end set with Fells lining up wide. Orton throws a short pass to Decker, but Lawson breaks up the pass.
Q2 1:56: Tebow comes back into the game and lines up as the wide receiver in a four-receiver set. However, Orton calls the Broncos second timeout.
Q2 1:55: Tebow remains in the game, and runs a deep route, but Orton finds Fells short across the middle for a 9-yard gain and first down.
Q2 1:16: McGahee gets the first down carry, and finds a big lane down the middle, running for 9 yards. He gets the carry again on second down, but is downed for a two-yard loss. Tebow comes in as a wide receiver again on third down. Lance Ball gets the carry, and runs around the left side for 17 yards, down to the Bengals 8-yard line.
Q2 0:33: On first-and-goal, Orton looks for Decker in the back corner, but the pass is long and incomplete. Orton goes to Willis on second down, who makes a diving catch by the front cone, but falls out-of-bounds to bring up third-and-goal at the 8 with 24 seconds left.
Q2 0:24: On third-and-goal, Orton is sacked by Geno Atkins. Prater comes on for a 34-yard field goal after the Bengals call timeout with 12 seconds left, and drills it.
BRONCOS 10, BENGALS 3
Q2 0:12: Prater’s kick sails out of the end zone and the Bengals take over at the 20-yard line with 12 seconds left. Dalton takes a knee, bringing the first half to a close.
HALFTIME CEREMONY: Stay tuned for the halftime ceremony, as the Broncos honor newly enshrined Hall-of-Famer Shannon Sharpe. The organization will present the Broncos legend with his Hall of Fame ring during the ceremony.