All week, people predicted a low-scoring, defensive grind and the Houston Texans and Cincinnati Bengals delivered just that on Saturday afternoon. In the end, the Bulls on Parade regained their swagger and Arian Foster ran for 140 yards and a touchdown to lead the Texans to a 19-13 victory over the Bengals and onto the AFC Divisional Playoffs for the second straight season.
The pre-game talk was about the lack of momentum, the pressure getting to the Texans, and how this team did not look like the Houston Texans over the past month. On this day, the defense created a lot of chaos for Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton and the much-maligned offensive line helped open holes for Foster to the tune of 4.4 yards per rush. In other words, the Texans played their brand of football: shut down defense and run-heavy offense.
The game's score was closer than the play on the field. The Texans outgained Cincinnati 420 to 198 yards, had 11 more first downs, and held the Bengals to 0-9 on third down conversions. The Bengals only converted a third down due to a Shiloh Keo pass interference. The time of possession battle, a Kubiak Key, was 38:49 to 21:11 advantage for the Texans. Credit Geno Atkins and the Bengals defense for holding on because they easily could have been gassed in the second half.
Despite a Leon Hall pick-six, Houston quarterback Matt Schaub got through his first postseason game relatively okay. He did not take any sacks, or big hits, completed 76.3-percent of his passes, and threw for 262 yards. Tight end Owen Daniels, as Brett predicted, blew up for a nine catch, 91 yard effort, but it was his backup, Garrett Graham, who made a man's catch on third down to seal the game late in the fourth quarter.
The Texans have advanced again. Like last season, they move on to a team that thumped them in the regular season. Houston plays New England at 3:30 pm Houston Time next Sunday. Celebrate the Wild Card win below and stay tuned to Battle Red Blog for more on next weekend's rematch.
Bengals vs Texans coverage | Cincy Jungle