And that’s what happens when you don’t stop Houston’s running game.
You get “Schaub’d”
Arian Foster ran the ball 32 times for 140 yards and the game’s only offensive touchdown, and Cornerback Jonathan Joseph registered an interception as the Texans plodded their way to an uninspiring 19-13 win over the Cincinnati Bengals in a Wildcard Playoff game Saturday Night.
Houston Quarterback Matt Schaub threw for 262 yards on a 29 of 38 performance while directing a balanced Texan’s offensive attack that had trouble finishing drives. He was able to stay in rhythm as Foster was breaking off four and a half yards each time he touched the ball.
Teams that were successful against the Texans this season held the powerful Foster to under 100 yards, forcing Schaub to shoulder the load, often with disastrous results. When teams allowed the Houston ground game to get going, Schaub was able to get into a rhythm and pick defenses apart.
That was exactly what Cincinnati allowed to happen.
Cincinnati Quarterback Andy Dalton had a horrific game completing just 14 of 30 for 127 yards and an interception when Pro Bowl Wide Receiver A.J. Green quit on a slant route and Joseph stepped in front of Green for the interception.
Curiously, the Bengals gave up on the run, though they never trailed by more than 9 points. Running Back Ben Jarvus Green-Ellis ran for 63 yards on just 11 attempts as Cincinnati became one dimensional, allowing Houston’s defense to tee off on Dalton who was under duress all game.
Things looked good for the Bengals early, as the defense was able to produce stops to limit Houston to Field goals, giving up just 9 points in the first half while scoring a touchdown when cornerback Leon Hall picked off a late Schaub throw to the outside and glided into the end zone to trail by 2 at the half.
Houston scored their only touchdown early in the third quarter on Foster’s short run for a 16-7 lead before Cincinnati had their best drive of the game. Dalton shook loose to loft a 45 yard completion to Green and looked to be gaining a little momentum but had to settle for 3.
The teams traded field goals and with the Texans leading by six points, Dalton got loose again and lofted a deep ball toward Green, the ball just out of his reach in the end zone with just under three minutes remaining in the game that could have given the Bengals the lead.
Instead, the Bengals turned the ball over on downs inside the Houston 25 and then allowed Foster and Shaub to run the clock out.
Houston earns a trip to Foxboro next Sunday for a rematch with the New England Patriots, who pasted them 42-14 just five weeks ago and will be coming off a 1st round bye.
It’s going to be a tall task for the Texans, who faded down the stretch, themselves missing out on a top seed in the conference by losing 3 of their last 4 games, beginning with the lopsided loss at New England.
The Patriots will be healthy and rested and waiting for a Houston team that knows they can’t play against the Patriots the way they did against Cincinnati and expect to come away with anything except their second divisional round loss in as many seasons.