by Patrick Imig (@patrickimig)
Cold Hard Football Facts' Angry Texan
Whatever was plaguing the Texans before Wild Card Weekend took a serious kick to the teeth Saturday afternoon in Houston. Here's what we learned in Game 1 of Wild Card Weekend.
THE TEXANS DEFENSE DOMINATED
Houston's defense held the Bengals to six points on offense. The Bengals were limited to 12 first downs and failed to convert a single third down. (0/9).
The Texans forced Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton into 14/30 passing for 127 yards and one interception. It was the worst passing performance by a QB with at least 30 pass attempts in a playoff game since Joe Flacco threw three interceptions on 13/30 passing in the 2008 AFC Championship against Pittsburgh. (Flacco can't escape criticism in non-Ravens articles).
More damning than Dalton's interception was a missed opportunity. In the fourth quarter with the Bengals trailing by six, Dalton overthrew A.J. Green on a deep ball in the end zone. An accurate throw would have tied the game with the extra point to kick.
J.J. Watt and Brooks Reid each tallied a sack for Houston. Watt played like a monster, with five tackles, two passes defensed and two QB hits. His play and the ability DB Johnathan Joseph to contain A.J. Green was a big reason the Texans controlled the game. Joseph hauled in the lone interception for Houston and tallied five tackles.
ARIAN FOSTER AND THE TEXANS HOGS DOMINATED ON OFFENSE
Foster's 140-yard performance make him the first running back in history with three straight 100-yard games in his postseason career. Foster's 425 yards over that time also ranks first.
It wasn't just Foster in the run game, either. Arian caught eight passes for 34 yards, calming the anxious play of Matt Schaub.
Schaub had the look of relief after the final whistle, even though he denied as much to NBC's Alex Flanagan after the game.
The Bengals failed to register a sack of Schaub all afternoon, who averaged a healthy 6.9 Yards Per Attempt.
SHAYNE GRAHAM HAUNTED HIS FORMER TEAM
Thanks in part to Houston's inability to finish off drives on offense, Graham connected on 4/4 FG, one from 48 yards out, the others 27, 22, and 24.
Graham is the most accurate kicker in Bengals history, where he played from 2003-2008. Graham's last game with the Bengals ended in the 2008 playoffs, where he missed two field goals in the team's 24-14 loss to the Jets.
At the time, Lewis said of his kicker, "It is a shame, and it killed us. Unfortunately kicking is mostly a one-man operation. I know Shayne feels worse about it than anyone. Those points obviously make a big difference."
Lewis later said Graham had "demons" of failed kicks. But if you can return punts and shoot guns at strip clubs, it's a-okay, right Marvin?
QUALITY STATS REPORT
Coming into the game, the Texans were better in 15 of our 20 Quality Stats. Consider the predicted 23-21 Texans victory over the Bengals a success.
TRIBUTE TO THE BENGALS
Cincinnati hasn't won a playoff game since 1990. That year, the team captured the AFC Central title with a 9-7 record. The team improved to 10-7 with a 41-14 rout of the Oilers in its Wild Card win, Jan. 6, 1991.
The following week, the Bengals lost to the Raiders.
To provide some context, when the Bengals last won in the postseason ...
Madonna had the number one song with "Justify My Love".
Home Alone was the number one movie in America (rightly so).
and several weeks later, the Buffalo Bills lost their first of four straight Super Bowls in a 20-19 loss to the New York Giants. Not that Scott Norwood needs any reminding.