With a strong defense and an All-Pro performance from running back Arian Foster, the Houston Texans defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 31-10 at Reliant Stadium in the AFC Wild Card Playoffs.

The Bengals grabbed the first lead of the game with a 1 yard Cedric Benson touchdown run halfway through the first quarter.  However, the Texans countered with their own rushing touchdown from Arian Foster.  The first quarter ended in a tie at 7.

The second quarter's first score was a Mike Nugent field goal that gave the Bengals a 10-7 lead at the 7:09 mark.  During the drive, Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis used the first of his two replay challenges.  He was unsuccessful on challenging the spot of a 2nd down run which made it 3rd & 1.

On the game's next drive, the Texans were able to tie the game again with a 39 year-old Neil Rackers field goal with 1:49 left. However, the most significant play of the drive wasn't the field goal, but a 3rd & 4 on the Texans 37 yard line.  T.J. Yates completed an 8-yard pass to Owen Daniels for the first down.  After he was ruled down on the play, linebacker Thomas Howard ripped the ball out of Daniels' hands.  Marvin Lewis decided to challenge the play and he lost.  So, before the Two Minute Warning in the first half, the Bengals had used both of their replay challenges for the game, and lost two timeouts.

The final score of the second quarter was an unexpected one from the Texans defense. Rookie defensive lineman J.J. Watt jumped into the air on an Andy Dalton pass and intercepted the ball in mid-air.  Watt was able to keep his balance as he came down with ball and ran 29 yards into the end zone for a touchdown.  The defensive score gave the Texans a 17-10 lead and took their air out of the Bengals' sail.

Dalton finished the game 27/42 passing for 247 yards with no touchdowns and 3 interceptions.

Nothing positive happened for Cincinnati in the second half as Houston coasted to the win.  In the third quarter the Bengals punted twice before the Texans added another touchdown to their tally.  Quarterback T.J. Yates connected on a 40 yard touchdown pass to Andre Johnson with 1:08 left in the quarter.  On the play, Johnson beat Adam "Pacman" Jones on a double-move down the near sideline.


Now trailing 24-10, the Bengals next drive ended badly as Dalton was intercepted by Jonathan Joseph. From then on Houston kept the ball on the ground, grinding out yards with Foster and Ben Tate.

Late in the fourth quarter, Houston put one more score on the board, a 42 yard run by Arian Foster with 5:15 left. Foster had 153 yards on the ground with 2 rushing touchdowns and 3 catches for 29 yards.

Texans quarterback T.J. Yates was 11/20 passing for 159 yards and 1 touchdown.

Next week, the Texans with play the Baltimore Ravens in an AFC Divisional match-up.