Jan 5, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green (18) on the bench against the Houston Texans during the fourth quarter of the AFC Wild Card playoff game at Reliant Stadium. The Texans defeated the Bengals 19-13. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

AFC Wild Card: Arian Foster, Matt Schaub Lead Texans Past the Bengals, 19-13

Well, my fingernails are in a pile. My knuckles are red from grinding them against each other. And the television has been turned off until I can cope with my depression.

Did I mention my spirits were crushed?

A message to my readers: In advance, this article took a lot of willpower to write.

As Matt Schaub took the final kneel in Bengals territory, the 19-13 Houston victory was set in stone.

Ultimately, the game was a test of how long the Bengals defense could hold out against Arian Foster and the play-action attack of Houston’s offense. The Bengals stout defense showed grit as they protected their end zone, forcing three field goal in the red zone.

It could only last for so long. Most of the second half was spent in attempts to battle back from a two-score deficit.

Andy Dalton finished the first half with -6 passing yards. Yes, I typed that correctly.

The Houston secondary was relentless, especially early on in the game. Dalton had constant trouble as he tried to locate any open receivers downfield. Glover Quin and Jonathan Joseph made sure of that.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis gained 63 yards on eleven carries, and A.J. Green caught five passes for a total of 80 yards (all in the second half).

However, that was pretty much the extent of the Bengals offense. Dalton finished 14-for-30 for 127 yards and an interception that lead to the Texans lone touchdown of the game.

Believe me, I’d love to stop now. I know that Bengals fans reading this are only reliving the pain they felt during the game. As I write, Shattered by O.A.R. is playing from a shuffled play-list. The lyric “How many times can I break till I shatter?” is playing in the chorus now. How perfect.

Leon Hall would have to get the game ball for Cincinnati, as he returned an interception 21 yards for a touchdown in the first half. It marked the second time he had jumped a route and scored a pic-six in three weeks. The other one helped the Bengals’ earn a playoff berth against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The defensive touchdown accounted for over half of the Bengals total points on the scoreboard, as just two field goals by Josh Brown would be added over the game’s duration.

In the end, the loss will be an obstacle the Bengals will have to hurdle, as they have had a season to remember. Good teams are everywhere, but to overcome the toughest losses will only make a team better going forward. Next year will come sooner than we think.

 

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