The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are leading the Cincinnati Bengals 10-7 at half time, based on a dominant defensive effort -- including forcing three Andy Dalton interceptions.
After a first quarter dominated by the Bucs defense, Tampa Bay came out of it with just a 3-0 lead. Two minutes into the second quarter, Doug Martin capped a solid drive with a touchdown run. Martin's having his best game of the season with 55 yards and a touchdown on just 12 carries.
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As has been the case consistently in recent weeks, the Bucs' lead was built on dominant defensive play. Gerald McCoy keyed a strong pass rush, while Johnthan Banks and Brandon Dixon benefited from just doing their jobs and taking advantage of Andy Dalton's poor throws and decisions. Unfortunately, as has also been the case in recent weeks, Josh McCown has struggled to take advantage of the proffered opportunities.
And then the Bengals drove straight down the field to get a touchdown and within three points, despite being easily the worst team on the field for the entire first half. Consecutive Josh McCown and Andy Dalton interception then ended the half.
The Bucs were in the same situation last week, having dominated the first half with only a small lead to show for it, and they promptly collapsed in the third quarter. They can't afford to do the same thing this week.