Wild Card Weekend: Texans Top Bengals in U.G.L.Y. Fashion
By: The Football Girl | Posted: January 05, 2013
U.G.L.Y. you ain’t got no alibi -- NBC Sports Analyst, Mike Mayock midway through Bengals-Texans game.
The Houston Texans squeezed out a narrow 19-13 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals, setting up a divisional matchup next week against the Patriots in Foxboro.
Both the Bengals and Texans defenses came to play and significantly limited any kind of offensive explosion from the other side. Both star receivers, Andre Johnson and A.J. Green were invisible in the first had, and other than a 35-yard precision pass from Andy Dalton to Green, neither team had success getting it down the field. Texans DE J.J. Watt, the league’s leader in sacks got to Dalton early in in the game, but Dalton’s escapability kept the Bengals out of a noteworthy number of 3rd and longs. But it was his missed opportunities to an open Green in the second half, as well as two interceptions that were key in catapulting the Texans to victory.
Matt Schaub let out a huge smile, and a sigh of relief as the Texans converted on 3rd down with 2:00 minutes left and the Bengals out of timeouts. But the pressure is nowhere off of Schaub.
As for the Bengals, their defense showed even more improvement under defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer this season. And the young receiving corps is one of the NFL’s most exciting, But today’s performance by Dalton just adds to building narrative that he’s good enough to get you to the playoffs but not good enough to get you to the second round.
If the Texans, who finished the regular season at 1-3, are to have any chance against the Patriots next week they will need to play significantly better than they did today. One Watt sack will not suffice against a Patriots explosive offense that scored 42 points on the Texans back on December 10th. They lost that game in shocking fashion, 42-14. It was a wakeup call to all NFL pundits who considered the Texans a top threat for a Super Bowl run at that point. To get back to that place and surprise the Pats, Arian Foster will need to have the kind of game he had this afternoon, rushing for 140 yards with a 4.4 yards per carry average. Back in December he only mustered 46 yards on the ground.
Perhaps the Texans' biggest issue, though, is the revelation by NBC sideline reporter Alex Flanagan that Watt attended a Justin Bieber concert this season. The story being that Watt received a raucous applause as well “the Biebs.” This cannot be good for Watt’s intimidation factor, not that Brady is generally impacted by these things.