The Cincinnati Bengals won the coin toss and elected to give the Denver Broncos offense the ball first knowing Denver has been outscored 55-9 in the first quarter during their five-game losing streak.
Brock Osweiler lined up for a quick count for an inside hand off to C.J. Anderson for a nice gain, which was immediately wiped out by Allen Barbre holding call. On first and 20, Osweiler handed off to Anderson again for a seven yard gain. On second down, Osweiler hit Emmanuel Sanders for a quick five yard gain.
Faced with a third and eight, Osweiler tried to take off up the middle and was tackled by Geno Atkins for a one yard gain and a punt.
The mistakes keep the Broncos from getting anywhere.
The #Broncos offered an immediate mistake to open the game. Drive ends in a three and out. Here we go again!— MileHighReport (@MileHighReport) November 19, 2017
The Broncos vaunted run defense has become a thing of distant memories as Joe Mixon ripped off a five yard run to open the Bengals drive. However, Domata Peko came up big on an attempt screen pass to force a third down and six.
Andy Dalton looked inside and hesitated. He was flushed out of the pocket and forced to throw the ball away as the teams trade three and outs to open the game.
Shaquil Barrett blocked the punt attempt for a huge special teams play in the first quarter giving the Broncos offense a scoring opportunity at the Bengals 29-yard line.
After an incomplete pass to Demaryius Thomas, Anderson took a handoff to the right side for a seven yard gain. On third and three, Osweiler took off with the ball for a ten yard gain and a first down at the Bengals fourteen.
Devontae Booker got involved on the next play for no gain on first down. Osweiler went right back to Booker who took it for six yards. On third down and four, Osweiler threw it up to Cody Latimer who was hit early and the ball intercepted by Dre Kirkpatrick who returned it over 100 yards to the Broncos one yard line.
Somehow, Dre Kirkpatrick's 100-yard interception return didn't end with a touchdown. pic.twitter.com/c3zsalux4h— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) November 19, 2017
After two goal line stands against Joe Mixon, Dalton easily found Tyler Kroft wide open on play action for the touchdown. A missed extra point gave the Broncos a bit of reprieve for an otherwise disheartening five minutes of football.
Bengals 6, Broncos 0.
Anderson and Osweiler quickly moved the Broncos out past midfield on their next drive. On first down from the Bengals 49-yard line, Osweiler hit Bennie Fowler who broke a tackle for a big 18-yard gain.
After a short run from Booker, Thomas had an Osweiler pass bounce off his hands for a critical drop. On third and eight, Osweiler tucked and ran it for seven yards.
On fourth and a long one, the Broncos elected to go for it. Anderson was nearly tackled for a big loss but jumped over the would be tackle and burst through the line for the first down at the Bengals 19-yard line.
A quick five-yard gain from Booker on first down and another three-yards on second down setup a long third and two. The Broncos stuck with Booker on another carry who just barely got the first down at the Bengals 9-yard line.
After a “WTF” throw from Osweiler on first down, he handed off to Anderson inside who took it up the middle for six yards. On third and goal from the three, Osweiler handed off to Anderson out of the shotgun who burst through the middle for the touchdown.
Broncos 7, Bengals 6.
Nice job by C.J. Anderson carrying Carlos Dunlap into the end zone … Anderson has 29 yards on 6 carries today (4.8 YPC average) … Broncos lead, 7-6.— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) November 19, 2017
If the Broncos hold the lead for another 41 seconds, it will be their first lead at the end of the first quarter since Week 4.
The unthinkable would happen. The first quarter would end with the Broncos leading for the first time since Week 4. They won that game by the way.