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The Houston Texans enjoyed a successful debut in the playoffs, defeating the Cincinnati Bengals 31-10 at Reliant Stadium, and setting themselves up for a clash with the Baltimore Ravens in the next round. This was the Texans first appearance in the playoffs in their 10-year history, and fans are now eagerly awaiting the team’s trip to Baltimore next week to play the Ravens.
The Texans didn’t get off to the greatest start, with Glover Quin being called for pass interference on rookie wide receiver A. J. Green, which gave the Bengals 52 yards on a drive, culminating in Cedric Benson going for a touchdown from the 1-yard line. The Texans struck back quickly however, with Arian Foster moving the chains for Houston with a display of intelligent running, and the tailback finishing off the drive with a touchdown on an 8-yard run, leaving the Bengals and Texans all tied up at the end of the first quarter.
Despite retaking the lead momentarily through a field goal from Mike Nugent, the Bengals struggled with the well-tuned offense of the Texans, and couldn’t make any decisive plays on the defensive side of the ball. A field goal from Neil Rackers tied the game before rookie defensive end J. J. Watt showed great hands and athleticism by grabbing a pass thrown by Andy Dalton at the line of scrimmage, and returned it for a 29-yard touchdown.
Although close on the scoreboard, the Texans never looked to lose their lead, and soon began to add to it. Andre Johnson, who was also making his first appearance in the playoffs, caught a 40-yard touchdown pass from rookie T. J. Yates in the third quarter and extending their lead. This was just before Foster finished the game for the Texans with a 42-yard rushing touchdown, capping an excellent game for his team and himself.
The Texans will be pleased with how their offensive stars performed, Foster racking up 153 yards on just 24 carries, and Johnson registering 90 yards on five receptions, with the pair contributing three touchdowns between them. Yates also performed notably, if not spectacularly, but a game manager is all that is needed in this Texans offense, and Houston will need all three performing their best if the team is to beat the Ravens next week. They have already lost to them once this season.
This result brings the Bengals season to an end, but there is plenty to be optimistic about if you are a Cincinnati fan. The losing seasons and dressing room controversies seem done with, and the addition of rookies Green and Dalton give the franchise a great base to build around in the coming years. Throw into the mix that the Bengals have two first round picks this year, and two second round picks next year, the future looks very healthy indeed. Baltimore and Pittsburgh fans will need to keep an eye on the previously unsung franchise.
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