Arian Foster ran for 153 yards and more importantly two touchdown runs, including a fourth quarter TD after a 42 yard run, leading the Texans impressive run offense to a 31-10 win over the Cincinnati Bengals, the Texans’ first ever playoff win in their first ever postseason appearance.
It seemed like the Bengals had a slight edge before entering the game. Both teams had very good defensive numbers, and despite the 20-19 in week 14, Andrew Dalton looked like the better quarterback entering the game. Not just that, but Foster ran for only 41 yards against the Bengals on that day. Well, it didn’t really matter after four quarters.
T.J. Yates didn’t play any legendary football, but he didn’t turn the ball over, finishing with 11-20, 159 yards and one 40 yard touchdown pass to Andre Johnson. Johnson was probably the happiest man on the field, playing with the organization since 2003, drafted in the first round out of Miami. He’s been through a lot of losses, but has put himself among the best WR in the NFL if not the best in recent season. Now, finally, individual success came with postseason success.
Both teams struggled offensively, but just chased each other in scoring. Cedric Benson opened the first quarter with a touchdown, Arian Foster entered the end zone on the next drive. Second quarter – Mike Nugent puts the Bengals up 10-7, Neil Rackers ties it at 10-10 shortly after. Then came the moment that changed the game.
Andrew Dalton did look like the better quarterback out of the two rookies at QB during the first half, but an incredible interception by another rookie, J.J. Watt, making an incredible short range grab off of Dalton’s pass, bringing it back for a touchdown to end the half. The Bengals lost that moment.
They started the second half and Dalton just wasn’t the same guy. He finished the game with three interceptions, 0 touchdowns. A rough experience for the rookie who got so many praises this season for the job he’s done in guiding the Bengals back into the playoffs. The Houston Texans running game but even more, the Brian Cushing and Daniel Manning led defense, was just all over the place in the second half, leaving Marvin Lewis’ team no chance.
It was a great game for the city of Houston, for Bob McNair, Gary Kubiak, T.J. Yates and Andre Johnson. But maybe even more for Arian Foster, who has been arguably the best running back in the NFL the last two years. From an undrafted player to Houston’s hero. Things change quickly.