Texans Tame Bengals In Playoff Opener

by
Reuters
The Houston Texans used a stifling defensive performance to defeat the visiting Cincinnati Bengals 19-13 in a wild-card game that kicked off the National Football League postseason.

* Lone offensive touchdown in game powers Texans

* Victory puts Houston into second round against Patriots

The Houston Texans used a stifling defensive performance to defeat the visiting Cincinnati Bengals 19-13 in a wild-card game that kicked off the National Football League postseason.

The Texans reversed a late-season slide of three losses from their last four games by stopping the Bengals' attack cold and used a blend of the run and pass to dominate a game that had six field goals, four by Houston.

Running back Arian Foster ran for 140 yards and a touchdown and quarterback Matt Schaub completed 29-of-38 passes for 261 yards as Houston reprised their first-round success last year over Cincinnati, who have gone 22 years without a playoff win.

With the victory, the AFC South champion Texans earned a second-round road showdown against the AFC East-winning New England Patriots on Jan. 13.

Houston controlled the ball on offense for nearly two thirds of the game but had trouble finding the end zone and settled for field goals that kept Cincinnati in the game.

The Bengals, who were held to minus-six yards in the passing game, trailed 9-7 at halftime thanks to a 21-yard interception return for a touchdown by Leon Hall, who undercut a sideline route run by James Casey and ran unimpeded to the end zone.

Foster, who also caught eight passes for 34 yards, bulled in from one yard out on Houston's first possession of the second half for the only touchdown the winners would score.

Kicker Shayne Graham connected from 48 yards in the first quarter and added three more from 27, 22 and 24 yards while Houston outgained the Bengals in total yards by 420-207.

Cincinnati had a chance pull ahead late in the game but a fourth-and-11 pass to Marvin Jones came up three yards short at the Houston 28-yard line with under three minutes to play.