Favored Cincinnati Bengals Defeat Denver Broncos In Tim Tebow’s Debut

August 16, 2010- By Jonathan Lowell

The Denver Broncos introduced their star draft pick to the NFL Sunday night, but couldn’t earn the victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in their first pre-season game. By the end of the fourth quarter the Bengals were on top 33-24, but they paid the price when Tebow showed a flash of his college days.

The Cincinnati offense had stars of their own to introduce Sunday night. Terrell Owens was a factor early in the Bengals’ offense, but no Cincinnati receiver caught a touchdown. That didn’t matter as the backfield stepped up, and late field goals proved to be the difference between the two teams.

Kyle Orton took the field for the Broncos on the first drive of the game and hit Jabar Gaffney, Bruce Hall and Eddie Royal on a series of short passes. A roughing the passer penalty put them down on the Bengals 12-yard line. Orton delivered a touchdown pass to Eddie Royal, making the Bengals’ defense look suspect. Carson Palmer and Cedric Benson took the team down the field for most of the team’s first drive, but Dave Rayner missed a 44-yard field goal. The Broncos scored again at the end of the first half when Orton hit Brandon Lloyd for the six-yard score.

The Bengals began their comeback immediately in the second quarter with a 78-yard drive all the way down to the Denver one-yard line. Benson punched the ball into the end zone and Mike Nugent’s extra point brought the Bengals within one touchdown. The next few drives stalled for both teams, but J.T. O’Sullivan came in to lead Cincinnati down to the Denver 18 for a 36-yard field goal. O’Sullivan is listed just behind Palmer on the quarterback depth chart according to the 2010 Cincinnati Bengals season preview. The Bengals went ahead on the next play from scrimmage when David Jones picked off a Brady Quinn pass and took it 24 yards to pay dirt. At the end of the half, Matt Prater kicked a 28-yard field goal to even the score at 17 a piece.

Rookie Jordan Shipley contributed with two of his five receptions on the first drive of the third quarter for the Bengals that led to a Rayner 27-yard field goal. James Johnson came in at running back, but didn’t prove effective on his first drive. The Bengals got a break when Parrish Cox fumbled a punt, and it resulted in another three points for Cincinnati. The biggest attention getter was Tebow making his first appearance on an NFL field. The 2010 Denver Broncos season preview lists Tebow third on the depth chart.

The Broncos couldn’t seem to get anything going behind Tebow, and the Bengals took advantage by driving down to the Denver one-yard line. James  Johnson took the ball in for the score. Rayner hit another field goal to push the score to 33-17 in the Bengals’ favor. Tebow did his best to bring the Broncos back in the fourth quarter, but failed to convert a 4th-and-11 from the Denver 42. The former Florida Gator made one final push towards the endzone, and delivered a punishing hit to three-year veteran Kyries Hebert on his way to his first rushing touchdown of his career.

Bodog sportsbook had set the Bengals as the betting favorite by three points over the Broncos at home, and Cincinnati covered the spread easily. The over/under of 33 1/2 was well over as the game finished 33-24. USA sports gambling sites have set the Bengals’ chances of winning the AFC championship at +1200, and the Broncos’ odds at +2500.

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