Instant Replay: Texans beat Bengals in playoffs

Instant Replay: Texans beat Bengals in playoffs
January 5, 2013, 7:30 pm
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Cody goes 1-on-1 after the Texans' win

So much for momentum.

Despite coming into Saturday afternoon’s game having lost three of four to drop to the third seed in the AFC, the Texans took care of business, beating the red-hot Bengals at Reliant Stadium, 19-13.

For most of the afternoon, the offense had trouble getting going but the Bulls on Parade suffocated the Cincinnati offense. By halftime the Texans’ defense had allowed just 53 yards. They let up just 198 in the entire game.

With the clock winding down, the Bengals had a chance to take a late lead but after a couple first downs, were stopped. On third down, with about three minutes left, Andy Dalton overthrew A.J. Green in the end zone. On fourth down, he completed the pass but the Texans’ defense stopped him well short to seal the win.

This is the second straight season the Texans beat the Bengals in the wild card round of the playoffs. This was the Texans’ second-ever playoff win. The win sends the Texans on the road next weekend to take on the Patriots in the divisional round of the playoffs.

The only offensive touchdown came from Arian Foster in the third quarter. Foster had a monster game and led that drive, which came after the biggest stop all game on defense.

The turning point
 
The Texans’ defensive line flushed Andy Dalton out of the pocket on third down. He eventually found an open man, Andrew Hawkins, on 3rd-and-11. But instead of completing the pass for what would have been a first down, cornerback Brandon Harris made a diving play in front of him to break up the pass.

On the next drive, with great field possession, the Texans took the ball 51 yards and punched it in from the one-yard line on a Foster carry.

What it means
 
The Texans, despite losing three of their last four games of the regular season, are still alive. They’ll head to New England next week to face the Patriots at 3:30 p.m. CT at Foxboro Stadium.

Offensive hero
 
Arian Foster was great all game. He had 84 yards … in the first half. He finished with 140 yards on 32 carries with a touchdown.

Foster also became the first player in NFL history to rush for over 100 yards in each of his first three playoff games.

Offensive zero
 
Andy Dalton didn’t have a good day. He threw for 127 yards and an interception. He completed just 47 percent of his passes and didn’t complete one to A.J. Green until the third quarter.

Defensive hero
 
J.J. Watt continued to be J.J. Watt. Other players played well, but Watt had a sack, he was a constant force up front. He batted down two pass. A typical J.J. Watt game.

Defensive zero
 
Bengals’ defensive tackle Geno Atkins started off as a headache for the Texans but eventually the offensive line found a way to stop him. Rookie Brandon Brooks did better on him than Ben Jones at right guard and left guard Wade Smith was able to do a nice job too. OK, maybe Atkins wasn’t exactly a zero. They used double-teamed him plenty but they didn’t let him do what he wanted.

Key stat
 
Owen Daniels caught nine passes for 91 yards. That’s more catches and more yards than in any single regular season game all year. He had just two catches in each of the two playoff games last season.

Did you know?
 
When Watt sacked Andy Dalton for a nine-yard loss in the fourth quarter, he raised his career postseason sack total to 4.5. He has had at least one sack in all three of his postseason games.

Who's next?

Drum roll please … the Patriots. Uh oh.

We know how this went the last time. The Texans went to New England (wearing those spiffy letterman jackets) and were absolutely crushed 42-14 on Monday night football. The Texans will head back to the Foxboro to face a devastating New England offense led by Tom Brady. The game will be in New England at 3:30 p.m. CT next Sunday.

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