The game against the Houston Texans on Saturday was disappointing to say the least. The Bengals came into the game having won 7 of 8 while Houston lost 3 of their 4. While Houston was the #3 seed, even some of the media had Cincinnati pulling the upset and ending their playoff drought that started all the way back in 1991. The last team that Cincinnati beat in the playoffs? The Houston Oilers.
If you’re trying to be positive, they lost 19-13 instead of 31-10 like last years contest. But even thinking that way makes me sick. This is a game Cincinnati should have won in my opinion
I know everyone noticed that A.J. Green wasn’t even targeted, let alone thrown to in the first half of the ball game. I don’t understand what Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden was thinking not throwing to Green at all until the 3rd quarter.
Enough of my opinion. Time to look at some stats and plays from the game.
Time of possession: Cincinnati only had the ball for 21:11 while Houston had possession for 38:49. Having the ball for less than 25 minutes? Yeah, it’s going to be hard to win a ball game that way. It’s surprising to me that Cincinnati only lost by 6 points when Houston dominated possession the whole game.
Total plays and total yards: Cincinnati had 48 plays for 198 yards. Houston had 77 plays (29 more than Cincinnati) and had a whopping 420 yards.
The passing game: Andy Dalton threw for 127 yards passing and completed only 14 of his 30 attempts. He was also sacked 2 times for 9 yards. On the flip side, Houston quarterback Matt Schaub threw for 262 yards with 29 completed passes on 38 attempts in his first playoff start. Schaub wasn’t sacked the whole day by the normally dangerous Cincinnati defense. Both qurterbacks threw for one interception.
Running game: BenJarvus Green-Ellis led the Bengals rushing attack with 63 yards on only 11 carries. He averaged 5.7 yards per rush in the game. I’m not sure why they didn’t use the Law Firm more when he was running the way he was. He had a long carry of 29 yards in the game. Houston Texans running back Arian Foster was a workhorse in the Texans win and carried the ball 32 times for 140 yards and a touchdown.
Missed play of the game: My missed play of the game was in the 4th quarter. Cincinnati was losing 19-13 and was facing a 3rd and 11 at the Houston 36 with less than 3 minutes remaining. On the play, Green beat former Bengals corner Jonathan Joseph and was in the perfect spot to catch the potential go ahead touchdown. If only Dalton could connect. Dalton overthrew Green by about 3 steps and Green didn’t have a chance to make the catch. On the following play, a 4th and 11, Dalton threw short to rookie receiver Marvin Jones. The play was only good for 8 yards and the Bengals turned the ball over on downs. That would prove to be the last possession on the day for Cincinnati.
Favorite play of the game: My favorite play of the game came in the 2nd quarter. Houston had the ball on their own 19 when it was 3rd and 3. Schaub drops back to pass and is picked off by Bengals cornerback Leon Hall. Hall returns the ball 21 yards for the games first touchdown that put Cincinnati up 7-6.
What I think: The game is over, and yes, Cincinnati lost. While I was expecting a win for the Bengals, I’m excited for the future of the franchise. They have made the playoffs 2 of the past 3 years and I think they will get back to the postseason for a 3rd year in a row.