i. So enter the Texans. With their dual-headed running game. Against a Bengal run defense that resembles American border control in the eyes of a Republican—it looks impressive, but people keep slipping through. Not on Sunday; fantasy football’s number one stud fumbled twice and couldn’t break a hundred yards.
ii. So enter the Texans. With their strategic and successful aversion to turnovers. Against a Bengal secondary notably lacking in (healthy) playmakers. Not on Sunday, inspired by Rey Maualuga all three phases of the Bengals defense forced turnovers.
iii. So enter the Texans. With a defense that simply won’t allow running backs first half yardage. Not Sunday, as Cedric Benson gashed them for 97 in the first two quarters, including a 42-yard beauty.
iv. So enter the Texans. With their star defender ripped from Bengal hearts and ready to clamp down on the record-pace setting rookie QB-WR combo. Not Sunday, as A.J. Green routinely had Johnathan Joseph beaten deep, much to the joy of the home crowd.
v. So enter the Texans. With their sack-machine defense attacking our porous and depleted O-line guaranteed to make Andy Dalton’s life hell. Not Sunday, when the NFL’s best and most aggressive defense hit Dalton all of one time.
vi. So enter the Texans. Having taken care of points one through five, the last thing we needed to worry about was a no-name, late-round, third-string rookie QB, T.J. Yates, with a name like a bad chain of Irish wine bars, playing without the NFL’s best receiver.
No. For 55 minutes on Sunday the Bengals took care of business and put this young team in pole position for a play-off spot. And then in the final five they came up shorter than a German tourist’s trousers.
The positives: middle linebacker Rey Maualuga’s crunching tackle on Ben Tate that forced a fumble on our one yard line; Rome Simpson’s spectacular score; the aggressive—and successful—decision to go for an extra three final points at the end of the half; Benson’s 97 first half yards; Maualuga’s forced fumble to seal the game with five minutes to play, snapped up by Geno Atkins.
The negatives: Geno Atkins then fumbling said fumble so that the Texans were awarded a brand new first down and a shot at recovering; Benson’s negative one second half yard; back up guard Mike McGlynn (who I’m pretty sure was a minor character from Gangs Of New York) fouling at a game-winning 4th and one; Bobbie Williams doing likewise on the Texans one yard line; multi-millionaire athletes losing the game because they couldn’t run 10 yards without falling over; the Adam Jones pass interference penalty that could have gone either way.
It didn’t matter. All that matters, of course, is the result. That’s what sticks. The Bengals now need a huge, helping, self-destructive hand from the Jets—who most likely would have to lose to coach-less Miami, whilst the Bengals beat the Ravens—to make the play-offs. With two second left, it looked as though we had them in the bag.
Instead, a young QB led two last minute drives, to recover a two score game, scrambling with his feet and riding his luck, to turn a 19-10 deficit into a 20-19 victory with less than two seconds left on the clock.
And it wasn’t even Tim bloody Tebow.
Bengals 19, Texans 20