After suffering through four weeks of disappointment, frustration, and painfully crushing defeats that left the Bengals at 3-5 with playoff hopes on life-support and a season on the brink of being labeled a waste, it was “put up” or “shut up” time for Cincinnati as they played host to the defending Super Bowl Champion New York Giants.
The Bengals came out and took control of this game from the opening kick-off, marching 79 yards in just 5 plays before Andy Dalton hit a wide-open A.J. Green for a 56-yard touchdown. After forcing the giants into a three-and-out, Adam Jones returned the punt 68 yards to the Giants 11-yard line, and the Bengals scored again on an Andrew Hawkins 11-yard pass from Dalton to take a 14-0 lead.
After stopping the Giants on their second possession, Brandon Tate fumbled the second punt of the game, but the Giants converted the turnover into just 3 points off a Lawrence Tynes field goal. The Bengals got those points back after a 15 play, 60-yard drive led to a Mike Nugent field goal to put Cincy up 17-3 lead.
To that point, the Giants had mustered just 63 yards of offense, but with 4:27 left in the first-half, Eli Manning led the Giants on their most productive drive of the first-half, highlighted by the Giants going for it on 4th-and-6 from CIN 41 and getting 16-yd completion to Hakeem Nicks to the CIN-25 with 1:08 left in the half. The Bengals defense would stiffen and hold the Giants to a 31-yd field goal, and the score at halftime was 17-6.