Posted January 05, 2013 on
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Couldn't stop Arian Foster. Couldn't make that one big play when it was right at their fingertips. And, in an ending so sickeningly familiar, the Bengals couldn't break one of the NFL's longest streaks of playoff futility.
Plenty of blame to go around for this one.
Andy Dalton overthrew an open A.J. Green in the end zone in the closing minutes, and the Houston Texans held on for a 19-13 victory Saturday in a wild-card rematch from last season.
With its second straight postseason loss in Houston, the Bengals extended one of the NFL's longest playoff droughts. They haven't won a playoff game since the 1990 season, a 22-year stretch that equals the seventh-longest in league history, according to STATS LLC.
''It hurts when you lose, particularly when you lose in the playoffs,'' coach Marvin Lewis said.
Nobody knows that exquisite pain more than the Bengals. Their postseason streak is the longest current one in the league.
What hurt most? That they came up inches short this time.
Despite being outplayed all game, they had one final shot at the end. They got the ball back at their 20-yard line with 6:15 left, and Dalton had his chance for a memorable comeback in his hometown. He's used to playing at Reliant Stadium - he grew up in suburban Katy and had high school games there - and now had a chance for an 80-yard drive that would get the Bengals the first playoff road win in their history.
''I was telling everybody we're going to drive down, going to win this game,'' Dalton said. ''Everybody felt that.''
They had their chance. Green got behind the coverage on a double move and Dalton saw him running free. He overthrew him on third-and-11 from the Houston 36-yard line with 2:57 to go, sailing his pass too deep into the end zone.
''I just threw it a little too far,'' Dalton said. ''That's a play that if we make it, obviously the game's a lot different.''
Green dived and stretched as far as he could but couldn't even get his fingertips on the ball.
''Inches away,'' offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth said. ''We had A.J. on that one play. Inches away.''
Dalton threw a quick pass to Marvin Jones on fourth down, but he was tackled 3 yards shy of the first down. The Texans then ran out the clock.
And the postseason misery goes on.
Since their last playoff win, the Bengals have been through five coaches, had 21 different quarterbacks throw a pass, and lost all four of their first-round chances.
Their last playoff win came against a team that no longer exists, at a stadium that no longer stands. They beat the Houston Oilers 41-14 at Riverfront Stadium in a first-round game in January 1991.
This represented their best chance to break through. They'd won seven of eight to close the season, matching the best finish in franchise history. They were playing in the same place where the lost 31-10 in the opening round last year, giving them some familiarity.
In the end, it didn't matter for much.
Houston's Matt Schaub gave the Bengals a chance to stay in a lopsided game by making one bad mistake. His sideline pass was intercepted by Leon Hall and returned for a 21-yard touchdown, the cornerback's second score in three games.
''It was never easy,'' Schaub said. ''Cincinnati is a great team. I made a turnover and gave them points. We just had to rally around each other and we did that.''
Given how much the Texans dominated, the Bengals were fortunate to be so close.
Dalton had a horrid time. He was 4 of 10 for 3 yards in the first half. With J.J. Watt's sack added in, the Bengals had minus-6 yards passing and only 53 yards overall.
''I think it was a full defensive effort,'' Watt said. ''Everybody was flying around, everybody was having fun. We got off the field on third down. That was a big key for us.''
Dalton was a rookie last season when he threw three interceptions in the playoff loss. He had a bad homecoming again, going 14 of 30 for 127 yards with two sacks and an interception. The back-to-back playoff showings will raise questions about the second-round draft pick, who faded down the stretch.
Dalton threw for four touchdowns and six interceptions in the last six games, which the Bengals won with defense. The defense scored three touchdowns in the last three games, while the offense managed only one.
''The offense didn't play as well as it could have,'' Dalton said. ''You can always look back and say, `What if?'''
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BEST OF MAXIM
Just in case the Houston Texans needed any more fuel for this weekend's upcoming AFC Divisional playoff game, Boston sports writer Dan Shaughnessy provided them with some.
Houston Texans running back Arian Foster recently changed his Twitter avatar to this quote taken from a Shaughnessy article written on Sunday bashing the Texans after their Wild Card win over the Bengals...
Houston Texans running back Arian Foster used what Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe wrote as bulletin board material by posting it as a his Twitter profile picture as they get ready to play the Patriots this week. I’m sure this will fire the Texans up a little more. After getting dismantled by the Patriots earlier in the season, it will be interesting to see how they play...
The above is what Texans running back Arian Foster is now using for his Twitter avatar. It is a cut and paste job from the article Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe wrote yesterday in advance of next weekend's AFC playoff game between the Patriots and Texans. Shaughnessy is known for two things: being a troll while offending pretty much everyone, and making grandiose and hyperbolic...
Many NFL pundits aren’t giving the Texans much of a chance in their return trip to New England this weekend, not after stumbling to a 42-14 loss less than a month ago. Texans running back Arian Foster is soaking in all the doubt, though, and using it as motivation for his rematch with the Patriots.
Foster, who is very active on social media, changed his Twitter avatar to a photo...
Texans running back Arian Foster bulldozed his way to 140 yards rushing Saturday in a first round win over Cincinnati.Fantasy Spin:The 32 carries Foster received were a season-high. Foster and the Texans play New England a week from Sunday. Foster was held to 46 yards on 15 rushes when he played against the Patriots earlier in the season.
Arian Foster of the Texans has a new Twitter avatar.
From Shaughnessy’s column yesterday.
Shaughnessy’s Column Used As Bulletin Board Material by @ArianFoster is a post from: Boston Sports Media Watch
HOUSTON (AP) -- Arian Foster ran for 140 yards and a touchdown, and the Houston Texans used a stifling defensive effort for a 19-13 win over the Cincinnati Bengals on Saturday in an AFC wild-card playoff game.
The Texans will next play at New England on Jan. 13.
Foster became the first player in NFL history to have 100-yard games in each of his first three playoff games.
After beating the Bengals 19-13 to open wildcard weekend for the second straight year, the Houston Texans (13-4) head into the divisional round as pretty heavy underdogs to the New England Patriots (12-4).
Though head coach Bill Belichick is inevitably sending a message that the 42-14 win in Week 14 means nothing now, Dan Shaughnessy has a different outlook in his column in the...
Arian Foster could be the player with the most on his shoulders this weekend
Cincinnati Bengals at Houston Texans 4:30 p.m.
@ Reliant Stadium in Houston
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J.J. Watt swatted away passes, Arian Foster ran away from tacklers and the Houston Texans did just enough to knock Cincinnati out of the playoffs for the second straight year.
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THE GOOD: Houston's OffenseThe Texans scored just one touchdown in Saturday's game, but scored on five different possessions. That tells us that Houston moved the ball consistently all day, and stuck to its game plan: giving the ball to #23. Arian Foster ran for 140 yards on 32 carries, and scored the only offensive touchdown in the game. He also added eight grabs for...
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HOUSTON -- With positive momentum long since departed and home-field advantage lost during a forgettable December, the Texans sought a fresh start Saturday, something to erase the stench of their collapse. While their offense, led by six Pro Bowl selections, failed to deliver convincingly, the Texans welcomed the timely return of their dominating defense and outlasted the Bengals...