In one of the fastest first halves of football in front of a thinning orange and blue sideline, the Denver Broncos have opened up a 10-3 lead on the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Broncos started the game by taking the ball 80 yards down the field in 15 plays (9 run, 6 pass). The 8 minute 30 second drive was capped off by Willis McGahee who powered his way into the endzone from the 1-yard line. Between Lance Ball and McGahee, they carried the Broncos 36 yards on that drive. That’s just two yards shy of the Broncos rushing total from the Raiders game.
To open the game defensively, the Bengals had the same idea – run the ball. Cedric Benson had a couple of big runs, snaking around to the outside, but the Broncos walked away with a big stop when they halted a Benson run on 3rd and 1. In fact, the Broncos stopped the Bengals twice on 3rd and 1.
In one of the weirdest halves, Eddie Royal went down with a groin injury and his return is questionable. That has left the Broncos with two true wide receivers. Just after the injury, on 3rd and 7, the Broncos needed to at least fake a pass play. That’s why they lined Tim Tebow out wide. The crowd went wild and now there’s some kind of wide receiver controversy in Denver. Tebow also came in with less than two minutes in the half on a 3rd and 8 situation. All kidding aside, could you imagine? Kyle Orton to Tebow for a first down on Tebow’s first play of the year? That would have put any other first half headlines to shame. Where is Ed McCaffrey when you need him?
Eric Decker has had a rough first half, first being called for an offensive pass interference and then making what would have been a 19-yard reception had he not fumbled the ball. That momentum shift allowed the Bengals to put 3 points up on the board with a 45-yard field goal by Mike Nugent.
The half ended with the Broncos on the 8-yard line. After a failed fade route, a caught ball just out of bounds by Matthew Willis, and a sack, the Broncos had to bring out Matt Prater for the 34-yard field goal.