The Houston Texans beat the Cincinnati Bengals on Wildcard weekend for the second year in a row. The Bengals were never able to get the ball moving, with Andy Dalton completing a mere four of ten passes for three yards in the first half. Dalton ended up finishing with a more respectable (though certainly not playoff caliber) 14 of 30 for 127 yards and pick. The Bengals simply could not move the ball against the Texans defense. The Texans were able to do what they wanted and managed an interception to go with sacks from J.J. Watt and Brooks Reed.
The Texans offense was clicking as well. Matt Schaub, starting for the first time in the postseason, finished with a decent 29 of 38 for 262 yards and an interception. The interception was returned for a touchdown, which brought the game much closer than it should have been. Arian Foster was the primary reason the Texans were able to hang on and win. While kicking four field goals, the Texans needed clock management on their side. Foster delivered with a 140 yard performance on 32 carries with the lone offensive touchdown of the game.
The Texans finished the day with a 19 to 13 home playoff victory.
The Indianapolis Colts struggled much more than their AFC South counterpart in their improbable playoff appearance. While being bounced from the postseason by the Baltimore Ravens is tough, it would have been a ridiculous improbability for the team to continue to beat the odds. Despite a decent showing from Andrew Luck (much more decent than Andy Dalton!) of 28/54 for 288 and pick, the Colts were not able to keep pace with the Ravens as Baltimore consistently found ways to exploit the Colts defense. Despite the game being 10-6 at halftime, the Ravens were able to limit the Colts to only one more field goal while marching down the field for two more 70+ yard touchdown drives.
The Colts offense did not click as well as it could have. Luck was not as strong as he had been during the regular season and the game plan was pass heavy despite 91 yards on the ground from Vick Ballard. Reggie Wayne’s nine receptions for 114 yards was not enough of a balance to Anquan Boldin’s 145 yards on five grabs and the time management offense of the Colts simply did not produce enough points to compete against the more explosive Ravens. The Ravens were able to eat up more yardage on the ground (175) than the Colts (151) with only two more carries in the game.
The Colts finished the day losing 9-24.
With two teams representing the AFC South again in the playoffs, it’s nice to see at least the division champion continuing to play.
– Luke N. Sims
You can also find me on Twitter @LukeNSims