Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 1/5/13
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 for a second consecutive year, winning 19-13 in an AFC Wild Card Game on Saturday at Reliant Stadium. The Texans (13-4) amassed 420 yards, including 140 yards on 32 carries from running back Arian Foster, yet settled for four Shayne Graham field goals. Quarterback Matt Schaub earned his first postseason despite an uneven performance, passing for 262 yards. However, the Texans' defense performed exceptionally throughout, limiting the Bengals to 198 yards and a pair of field goals. Andy Dalton completed 14 of 30 passes for 127 yards and an interception as Cincinnati (10-7) did not convert any of their nine third downs. Texans defensive end J.J. Watt, a Defensive Player of the Year candidate, posted five tackles, including one sack, and deflected one pass. The Texans could not reverse the trend of their sagging offense, a unit that produced twice as many field goals (10) as touchdowns during a 1-3 stretch that followed an 11-1 run to the best record in the league. Houston settled for field goals on its first three scoring drives, including following red-zone penetrations early in the second quarter and after the Bengals grabbed a 7-6 lead when Leon Hall turned a poorly thrown Schaub pass intended for James Casey into a 21-yard interception return for a touchdown. The Texans responded immediately to the deficit, covering 76 yards in 13 plays to set up Graham for a 22-yarder. But after bogging down at the Cincinnati 9-yard line en route to doubling their 3-0 lead, the Texans stalled at the Bengals 4 prior to surging ahead 9-7. It wasn't until Foster plunged in from the 1-yard line with 10:31 left in the third quarter that the Texans found the end zone. That proved to be their lone touchdown on the afternoon. NOTES: With his 48-yard field goal in the first quarter, Texans kicker Shayne Graham set a personal postseason mark. His previous long was a 35-yard field goal against the Jets as a member of the Patriots in the AFC Divisional Playoff on Jan. 16, 2011. ... Bengals tailback BenJarvus Green-Ellis and his Texans counterpart, Arian Foster, ranked 1-2 in third-and-1 rushing conversions this season. Green-Ellis converted 14 of 15 such third downs while Foster converted 13 in 19 attempts. ... With his 140 rushing yards, Foster became the first player in NFL history to eclipse 100 yards in his first three postseason games.
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