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The Cincinnati Bengals (7-6) let a fourth quarter lead over the Houston Texans (10-3) slip, and fell to a 20-19 loss, in what was a crucial AFC matchup with the playoffs beckoning.
After a first quarter that boasted no touchdowns, but did see the home side take the lead with two field goals to one, quarterback Andy Dalton bounced back from a tough game against the Pittsburgh Steelers last week, by finding wide receiver Jerome Simpson with a 17-yard touchdown pass.
Mike Nugent then went on to add another field goal before halftime, giving the Bengals a 13 point lead heading into the third quarter. The Texans closed in on the Bengals with tight end Joel Dreessen collecting a 6-yard touchdown pass from rookie quarterback T. J. Yates, but conceded a field goal late in the third quarter, setting up Cincinnati with a nine point lead going into the fourth and final quarter.
A field goal early in the fourth quarter moved the Texans to within six points and made it a one possession game. With time running down, Yates showed a maturity which belied his status as a rookie, and moved the Texans down the field, eventually finding Kevin Walter for a 6-yard touchdown pass, and gave Houston the win thanks to a single point lead over the Bengals.
Cincinnati’s defense held strong for most of the game, with Rey Maualuga forcing two fumbles, and outside linebacker Thomas Howard connecting with nine solo tackles as he was a dominant force on defense.
Whilst Dalton may have been receiving the headlines so far this season as a potential Rookie of the Year, it was his opposite number who impressed today. Yates threw for 300 yards and two touchdowns, whilst also throwing one interception, as he led Houston admirably in the absence of Matt Schaub.
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