Chargers picked up a first down then Rivers sacked on the next third down. Bengals got a few first down of their own before being backed into a 3rd and 13. Andy Dalton hit Marvin Jones short on one of those plays where he’d have to break five tackles to get the first down. He didn’t, so the Bengals were punting.
The running game started getting traction for the Chargers. Geno Atkins absence has hurt the Bengals but it seemed more pronounced than usual during that drive. River avoided the rush to make the super float you see above. That set up a Danny Woodhead touchdown and PTC Commenter rejoiced.
San Diego regained possession deep on their end of the field with a chance to expand their lead but Rivers missed Keenan Allen on a third down. The Bengals took over near midfield and Giovani Bernard was smartly turned loose. A couple Gio runs and screens got Cincy inside the 5 and the Bengals tied it with a Dalton touchdown pass to Jermaine Gresham. That was Dalton’s first postseason touchdown in now three starts, so he’s still a ways to go for elititude status.
The Chargers got to the ball near their own 40 when Rivers scrambled on a third down, going down less than a yard short of the marker. Despite the Bengals losing Rey Maualuga and generally being susceptible to the run, the Chargers decided to punt. It looked like Cincy would make them pay, as Dalton hit Marvin Jones for 49 yards deep along the sideline. Just as they were about to go up two scores, Gio caught a pass over the middle and was stripped by Donald Butler.
San Diego, though, went three-and-out and had to punt back to the Bengals with a minute and a half left in the half. With no timeouts, the Bengals got the back in field goal range, but it forced a review when the receiver was contacted going out of bounds. The review allowed Cincinnati to line up for a 46-yard Mike Nugent field goal, which he hit to make it 10-7 at half.