The Houston Texans showed the world that they can be winners this past Saturday. The Texans, who’ve struggled as of late, out played the Cincinnati Bengals in every faze of the game. It was not a perfect game however.
Texans quarterback Matt Schaub could be defined as a game manger in his last contest. He completes 76% of his passes (29/38) for 262 yards and one interception returned for six. This was mostly due to his tight ends, with Owen Daniels leading the pack, as well as running back Arian Foster forcing defenses to be more honest. Schaub also showed a glaring hole for the team as his top 4 pass catchers only include one wide receivers. Only two wide outs caught passes while the rest were tight ends and a running back.
Andy Dalton on the other hand had a horrible game. Dalton had a net of -6 yards in the first half; as well as not being to convert a single third down under his own power. In fact the only third down came in 4th quarter with 4 minutes left from a pass interference on Shiloh Keo. Dalton finished the day going 14/30 (47%) with 127 yards and an interception.
Arian Foster is the first running back to have 100 yard games in his first three playoff games. He was able to run hard all day and even scored a short yardage touchdown in the 3rd quarter. He was able to move the chains effectively for 140 yards and eight receptions for 32 yards. He will be heavily leaned on going forward.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis saw only 11 carries with 63 yards for the day. This stat is a bit inflated as he had one great run for 29 yards. Cutting that carry out, he only had 10 carries for 34 yards as well as 2 receptions for – 9. Green-Ellis was unable to set up the passing game for Dalton nor move the chains. His ineffectiveness contributed to a Bengals loss.
Schaub continues to show how unproductive the Texans receivers are this season. Andre Johnson is a beast, coming back from two knee scopes from last season; as well as tight end Owen Daniels showcasing how often he can find separation. While wideouts Johnson and Kevin Walter were able to contribute, the Texans need to address the position soon to be perennial Superbowl contenders.
The Bengals hit on A.J. Green last year in the first round, but every other receiver on the team was unable to be productive. Part of the reason was how effective the Texans defense was at stopping Green-Ellis and disrupting Andy Dalton. Only a few quarterbacks are able to have a great second half performance after a net -6 passing yards in the first half.
Defense and Special Teams
Johnathan Joesph, J.J. Watt and Brooks Reed lead the team in amazing come back performance. Combined, they had 2 sacks, 1 interception and 13 tackles. However, they were able to disrupt the offense more than any stat sheet could ever tell. Physiologically, the Bengals were defeated after the first half. Kicker Shayne Graham also showed how automatic/reliable he was converting 4/4 with a long of 48 yards.
If you want to know why the Bengals lost, look who lead their team in tackles, 3 defensive backs. The Bengals defense were able to score a touchdown, too bad the offense couldn’t. While praise should go to the defense, they didn’t do much better than the offense as they allowed the Texans to dominate them on all levels. While the Bengals were known for leading the league in sacks this season, they were unable to record a single sack Saturday.
Both teams were ineffective in the retuning game outside of a 34 yard kickoff return by Adam Jones in the Bengals.
The Texans will get a week 14 rematch at Gillette Stadium on January 13th. The Patriots were able to dominate the Texans that week, and what better way to show how great the Texans can be by returning the favor in the playoffs.
– Antonio Furgiuele