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Houston Texans Defeat Cincinnati Bengals 19-13

In the first wild card game of the weekend, the Houston Texans defeated the Cincinnati Bengals in a sloppy, error-riddled game. Each team only scored one offensive touchdown, and the Texans’ only TD did not come until a one-yard touchdown run by Arian Foster in the third quarter. “The whole stadium knew we had to line up and run the ball and boy, he was at his best there at the end,” coach Gary Kubiak said. “He’s become a fine, fine player, and it just seems like the bigger it gets, the better Arian gets.”

The Texans never seemed able to find an offensive rhythm, even after Foster’s touchdown. Matt Schaub was shaky at best all day, completing 29 of 38 passes for 262 yards and one interception that was returned for a touchdown.

“It was never easy,” Schaub said. “Cincinnati is a great team. I made a turnover and gave them points. We just had to rally around each other and we did that.”

The Texans have to be careful going forward with how they handle Arian Foster’s carries; he ran the ball 32 times for 144 yards and one touchdown. He has shown serious signs of wear and tear this season, and the Texans must manage his workload better. Simply put, they need to get more out of their passing game.

The Texans were 4.5 point favorites in this game, but the Bengals were by far the most popular bet. The Texans had been slumping prior to this game while the Bengals were trending upward. However, the Bengals made a few too many mistakes, and the Texans capitalized. Houston will now travel to New England next weekend, and they know that they can’t settle for chip shot field goals in that match.

“It was our Achilles’ heel today,” Foster said. “When you get in the red zone, especially against a team like New England, you have to score touchdowns, you can’t kick field goals, because they like to put up points and they like to put up points in a hurry. I’ve got a lot of faith in our defense, but that man behind center over there is a great player. You have to keep him off the field and you have to capitalize any time you get the opportunity.”

Despite the Texans finishing the season 12-4 and winning their first playoff game, we could be due for one of the largest lines in divisional round playoff history next week with the Patriots. Houston’s win over the Bengals was anything but impressive, and the last time the Pats and Texans played in Foxboro, New England blew out Houston to the tune of 42-14. “I sensed it from the coin toss. It was business, straight up, to them,” Texans’ defensive lineman Antonio Smith said after that game.  “You can see just how serious they were. They’ve been here before. I’m a movie buff, you know. It reminded me of that movie, ‘Troy,’ when Achilles told Hector, ‘Now you know what you’re dealing with.’ That’s what it was like. No love. ‘We’re coming in here to show y’all who the big dogs are.’”

The Texans may have beat the Bengals, but it was a win that did not inspire much confidence. If the Texans fail to come away with touchdowns in the red zone against the Patriots, they could be in for a repeat of their earlier clunker in New England.

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