In a quarterback-driven world, neither one that started in this battle out-shined the other.
Andy Dalton threw for a hapless -6 yards in the first half. (Yes – that is a negative sign, not the en dash that I overuse). Matt Schaub misfired the ball and Leon Hall read the quarterback’s eyes like a comic strip and returned the ball for six points in the 2nd quarter.
Both defenses were relentless and limited each other’s offensive coordinators to settle for field goals all throughout. As unflattering as it was, there were a few things that stuck out:
1. Arian Foster carries team to victory
In the postseason, a running game could ultimately be the deciding factor of whether or not a team will continue their journey, or watch Lord of the Rings at home. 32 carries, 140 yards and a touchdown sounds like the Texans are headed in the right direction.
2. Matt Schaub’s sharp accuracy
Although he threw a costly interception (a touchdown), the first-time starter’s 76.3% (29/38) is respectable. Thanks for Foster’s solid performance, Schaub maneuvered in a cozy pocket to spread the ball around to six receivers.
3. Texans snouty defense
I’m not sure if stout is the right word to describe it. Snarky? Put the two together and you end up with…snouty. That’s perfect. Houston’s hard-nosed defense shut down the Red Rifle and exploited him in the first half. He passed the pigskin for a total of -6 yards. The Bengals couldn’t mustard* up enough firepower in the 2nd half and failed to ketchup* playing from behind.
This recipe is the bare minimum for a championship run, but we’ll see how the Texans react next week when they face the Patriots in Foxboro.