CINCINNATI—After a great first drive, the Browns went back into their offensive shell and find themselves down 10-7 at the half.
Near the end of the first half, the Browns had a chance to try a field goal from about 48 yards, but a sack by Carlos Dunlap on Colt McCoy moved the Browns back to the 39. A short pass to Brian Robiskie moved them to the 34, but the Browns elected to go for the first down with 16 seconds to play, rather than attempt the field goal.
However, after a false start by John St. Clair, the Browns punted.
The Browns took the opening kickoff and marched 75 yards for a touchdown as McCoy capped his first drive with a beautifully thrown 20-yard pass to Robert Royal and a 7-0 lead with 12:08 to play in the first quarter.
McCoy hit Ben Watson for 18 yards to the 43 and then a 17 yard pass to Brian Robiskie moved the ball to the Bengals 38. After a near miss interception by Keith Rivers, Dhani Jones hit McCoy in the helmet drawing the personal foul to the 20. On the next play, McCoy hit a diving Royal in the back of the end zone. On the score, tackle John St. Clair was lined up wide on the right side and Joe Thomas was wide out to the left side.
The Bengals tied the game at 7-7 with 12:52 to play in the first half as Cedric Benson broke loose around left end for a 18-yard score. The Bengals moved 91 yards in 10 plays, taking 6:15 off the clock.
Carson Palmer hit Jerome Simpson for 15 yards to the 37 and then a six-yard pass to Andre Caldwell on third-and-3 moved the ball to the 50. A 12-yard run by Benson and a six-yard pass to Jermaine Gresham set up Benson's run.
After stopping the Browns, the Bengals moved the ball again and took the lead 10-7 on a 25-yard field goal by Clint Stitser with 4:19 to play in the first half.
Palmer hit Chad Ochocinco for 16 yards to the 43 and then a 12-yard pass to Quan Cosby moved the ball to the Browns' 46. A 21-yard pass to Ochocinco put the ball on the 12. Two short runs by Benson put the Bengals on the five, but an offensive pass interference penalty on Jermaine Gresham was refused by the Browns to set up the field goal. The Bengals had the ball for 7:27 and 13 plays as they moved 68 yards.
The Browns moved into field goal position to the Bengals' 31 near halftime, but McCoy was sacked by Carlos Dunlap back to the 39. After a pass to Robiskie to the 34, the Browns elected to not try the field goal and tried to go for the first down, but a penalty on each team forced a second try. However, after St. Clair had a false start, the Browns punted.
Colt's Day: In his first action after being sidelined for three games with a sprained ankle, McCoy was 11 –of-16 for 108 yards in the first half with a touchdown. He was sacked once. He led the Browns down the field for a touchdown on his first possession and threw a 20-yard pass to TE Robert Royal for the score. He threw three passes each to WR Brian Robiskie for 31 yards and TE Ben Watson
Key on Peyton: RB Peyton HIllis was held to 26 yards on seven carries in the first half. He caught one pass for 11 yards.
Creative Formation: On the Browns first touchdown, both tackles were lined up near the opposite sideline. RT John St. Clair was near the Browns' side line and LT Joe Thomas was near the Bengals' side line. The Browns used the formation near the end of the first half, but an offsetting penalty was called.
No Confidence: The Bengals were at the Browns' 28 and had a fourth-and-10 on their first possession, but elected to go for it rather than attempt a 45-yard field goal by K Clint Stitser, who is the third Bengals' kicker of the season. QB Carson Palmer threw an incomplete pass attempted to WR Jordan Shipley.
Royal Catch: TE Robert Royal had just three receptions on the season and had two in the first half, including a 20-yard touchdown grab.
TO Down: WR Terrell Owens injured his knee in the first quarter and did not return. Owens had 10 receptions for 222 yards and one touchdown in the team's first meeting of the season
Demetrius Sighting: WR Demetrius Williams was used often in passing formations after being inactive for most of his time with the Browns.
From One to Three: QB Jake Delhomme, who has started the last three games, was designated the third quarterback, meaning he can only play in the fourth quarter or if QB Colt McCoy or QB Seneca Wallace are injured. Earlier this week, Mangini said if McCoy wasn't able to play, Delhomme would start over Wallace.