For fans of the big-play offenses, this game right here was boring. However, if you are into defensive battles then this one is right up your alley. Anyways, despite what the score would indicate, Houston dominated this game. They were selfish with the ball and did not let Cincy have a ton of time to formulate a plan on offense (since Jay Gruden’s unit spent a good majority of the game watching Matt Schaub and Arian Foster go to work). The one Cincinnati touchdown came on a Leon Hall pick-six. Other than that, the Bengals managed a measly six points.
Houston was staying on the field because they were converting third downs. Their positive production on first and second downs made the short conversions relatively easy. Owen Daniels had a nice game; hauling in nine grabs for nearly 100 yards. The Houston o-line held up pretty well against the NFL’s leading team in the sack department. Matt Schaub was afforded great time for almost all of his third down plays. Arian Foster had yet another big postseason game. He was also quite the work-horse with a total of 40 touches. Through all of this, the player that had the best day on the field was Johnathan Joseph. He completely blanketed AJ Green in the first half; Dalton did not even target him. In the second half, Green did explode for one big play, but Joseph held his ground and did not let up a touchdown. Had Dalton been able to connect with #18 a little bit more, this game could have had a much different outcome.
Besides the fact that Andy Dalton’s weapons were taken away from him, it was nearly impossible for the Bengals to move the ball because of the Houston pass-rush. Obviously JJ Watt was a big factor, but other than him there was pressure put on by Conner Barwin, Bradie James, and Brooks Reed (just to name a few). Andrew Whitworth had an off-game and was beat by Watt a couple of times. The whole left side of the offensive line had trouble sealing the back door and Dalton took a pounding. Luckily for Cincy, their quarterback has strong hands because he took a couple of shots and miraculously hung on to the ball. There is not much any passer can do with constant pressure in their face and riding their back.
Simply put, the Texans dominated the Bengals in every phase of the game. Their defense was dominant and their offense moved the ball very well. Even special teams gave them an advantage; Shayne Graham kicked four field goals. Despite a solid victory, Houston fans should feel very nervous about going into Foxboro next week. Their offense has only posted two offensive touchdowns in the past three weeks; a feat much more puzzling considering how they moved the ball pretty well. The Texans could not score touchdowns when they got into the red-zone. They had to keep on settling for short field goals. Three-pointers are not going to cut it against Tom Brady and the prolific New England offense. Gary Kubiak and company will need to work hard this week on red-zone offense. They will probably need at least four touchdowns if they hope to beat the Pats next Sunday.