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.