Houston-Cincinnati: Texans Tame Bengals
Texans quarterback Matt Schaub was an impressive 24-for-28, passing for 280 yards and three touchdowns. Rookie running back Steve Slaton led in rushing with 53 yards on 15 carries and one touchdown. Andre Johnson led the team in receptions with 11 for 143 yards.
The Texans’ victory was historic in more than one fashion. It was their largest margin of victory, beating their previous record of 21 against the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2004. In addition, the win gives the Texans (3-4) a three-game winning streak, the longest in franchise history.
The Bengals (0-8) are off to their worst start since 1994, when they also started 0-8. Ryan Fitzpatrick started his third straight game in place of the injured Carson Palmer. Fitzpatrick completed 20 passes out of 32, for 155 yards and two interceptions. Cedric Benson led the Bengals in rushing with 49 yards on 13 carries. T.J. Houshmandzadeh led the team in receiving with eight receptions for 54 yards.
The Texans’ defense, which has averaged just less than 30 points per game, did not allow the Bengals to get in the end zone. The last time Houston did not allow a touchdown was Sept. 9, 2007 against the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Texans took the lead immediately in the game. After the Texans’ defense forced a three and out, Jacoby Jones returned the punt 73 yards for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead.
The Bengals were able to answer back. On 3rd-and-9 from their own 21, Fitzpatrick found Houshmandzeh for an 11-yard gain. Houshmandzeh caught another third-down pass on 3rd-and-2 for eight yards. Benson picked up two first downs with a 12-yard run and a two-yard run. The Texans stopped the Bengals at the Houston 29, and Shane Graham hit a 43-yard field goal to cut the Texans lead to 7-3.
After both teams punted, Houston got the ball at their own nine. On 3rd-and-5 from the Texans’ 14, Schaub found David Anderson for a 22-yard gain. Ahman Green gained 11 yards on 2nd-and-5 from the Texans’ 41. On 2nd-and-10 from the Bengals’ 48, Johnson caught a 12-yard pass and caught an 11-yard pass on 2nd-and-8 from the Bengals’ 34. Schaub would connect with Anderson from six-yards to increase the Texans’ lead to 14-3.
Cincinnati would answer back only one more time. Starting at their own 21, Benson gained 14 yards on a pass. Tight end Reggie Kelly caught a 13-yard pass that moved the ball to the Houston 39. On 2nd-and-4 from the Houston 33, Fitzpatrick scrambled for 11-yards to the Houston 22. Again, the drive would only give the Bengals three points, as they cut Houston’s lead to 14-6 at halftime.
Kevin Walter would put the game away for the Texans’ in the second half. He caught two touchdown passes from seven and 39 yards, respectively. Walter had five receptions for 70 yards.
Next week, the Bengals will host the Jaguars (4-3) and the Texans will try to extend their winning streak at the Minnesota Vikings (3-4).
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