The Bengals started the game well and took the lead within two minutes as Andy Dalton fooled the Lions defense with a play-action pass and hit AJ Green deep down the right-hand sideline, he dodged the tackle of Chris Houston and ran the ball in for a 77-yard score.
Matt Stafford and his offense responded for the Lions with a methodical drive downfield using the running ability Reggie Bush before they got into the red zone where Stafford hit tight end Brandon Pettigrew for a three-yard touchdown to tie the scores.
David Akers kicked his side into the lead with a 36-yarder but later in the half had a field goal attempt blocked, which set up a scoring drive for the Bengals as Dalton found Marvin Jones in the end zone just before the break to give the visitors the advantage.
After the break, the Bengals extended their lead when Dalton fired deep down the left for tight end Tyler Eifert, who turned for the ball on a comeback route and brought the ball in to secure a touchdown for 32-yard score.
However, the Lions fought back immediately as Stafford moved his team downfield before finding Calvin Johnson in the end zone for a 27-yard score as he powered over his defensive back to get over the goalline.
Nugent kicked a field goal to give the Bengals a seven-point cushion with a 48-yard effort in the third quarter.
The Lions came back with the Stafford–Johnson combination again as the quarterback threw the ball to the end zone and the latter somehow went up and got it despite being covered by three defenders for the 50-yard score.
The two sides cancelled each other out just before the end of the game when Dalton moved his team into field goal range and with just five seconds left on clock Nugent fired a 54-yard field goal through the posts.