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Saturday, January 7, 2012

Houston Texans and Cincinnati Bengals Playoffs

We have waited for a decade for this game to come. At 3:30 today, the moment will be here for the first Houston Texans playoff game. The Houston Texans turned to their kids, then to their stars to win the first playoff appearance in franchise history, a 31-10 rout of the bungling Cincinnati Bengals. Rookie J.J. Watt's leaping interception return for a touchdown late in the first half propelled the Texans in Saturday's AFC wild-card game. Third-string quarterback T.J. Yates, another rookie pressed into action, then threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to Andre Johnson in the third quarter and Arian Foster followed with his second touchdown of the game, a 42-yard run in the fourth quarter, to finish off the Bengals.The Bengals lit up the scoreboard first as Benson scored from a yard out, a drive set up by a 52-yard pass interference call on Houston's Glover Quin.

Foster evened the score on the ensuing Texans' drive, scoring from eight yards out. The teams' exchanged field goals, knotting the game at 10, before Watt, a former Wisconsin Badger came up with a pick with 1:48 remaining in the half.

NOTES: Texans DE J.J. Watt became the third defensive end in NFL playoffs history to return an INT for a TD and the sixth defensive lineman (not including the Super Bowl). ... During their regular season matchup, Texans QB T.J Yates led Houston on a late game-winning drive against the Bengals, which clinched the AFC South title for the first time in team history. Houston lost three straight games after that victory. ... A record 71,725 fans turned out to Reliant Stadium for the Texans first postseason game. With Connor Barwin picking up the slack for Williams, with 11.5 sacks, and rookies J.J. Watt and Brooks Reed playing significant roles on defense, the Texans finished fourth in the NFL in rush defense, third in pass defense and fourth in scoring defense (17.4 points allowed per game).

Many of the Ravens, who were anxious to learn who their opponent would be in the Divisional Round, said they would be watching Saturday's game. And those who turned in saw Foster run all over the Bengals, Watt return an interception for a touchdown and Yates throw a 40-yard touchdown strike to Johnson. The Texans sacked Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton four times and forced three turnovers.

Now that the Ravens know that it is the Texans who will be coming to M&T Bank Stadium next weekend, they will begin preparing for them Sunday morning — if they haven't started already.

"Once we do see who we're playing, that's when you really start to kick it up," Joe Flacco said.


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