CINCINNATI (AP) — Texans cornerback Charles James stopped in a corner of the tiger-striped end zone and cupped a hand to his right ear, seeing what the crowd had to say about this outcome.
Not much. They’d seen it before.
T.J. Yates came off the bench in the second half and rallied Houston to a 10-6 victory on Monday night that knocked the Bengals from the ranks of unbeaten and added to the Texans’ legacy of tormenting the team from Cincinnati.
“Yes, it was a little nostalgic,” said Yates, who threw a 22-yard pass to DeAndre Hopkins in the fourth quarter for the game’s only touchdown.
Nostalgic for the Texans (4-6). Miserable for the Bengals (8-1), who struggled on offense all game and then let a chance to pull it out slip away in the end.
Andy Dalton had another subpar game against J.J. Watt and a Texans defense that has often made him look bad. He completed 22 of 38 for 197 yards with an interception and three sacks, including one by Watt.
The Bengals had pulled out three games in the fourth quarter to stay unbeaten, and got a chance to win this one at the end, too. Dalton completed a pass to A.J. Green for what would have been a first down at the Texans 23-yard line with 40 seconds left, but safety Quintin Demps stripped him of the ball and recovered the fumble.
“I had both hands on the ball and I took one off to break my fall and he ripped it out,” Green said. “I was trying to break my fall.
“We’ll be all right. It’s tough to lose. Not everything is going to be pretty.”
Some things to take away from the Texans’ high-profile win:
TEXANS HAVE DALTON’S NUMBER: Dalton’s hometown team made him look very bad while beating the Bengals in first-round playoff games in the 2011 and 2012 seasons. He finally beat them last season, but looked bad again on Monday night. Dalton repeatedly sailed his long throws out of bounds and missed open receivers.
“They did a good job of taking throws away down the field,” Dalton said. “And in the end, we didn’t make enough plays. We had a lot of opportunities.”
FINALLY A CLUNKER: After playing well overall for eight weeks, the Bengals had their worst game all-around. The offense managed a season-low 256 yards. They had nine penalties for 70 yards. Punter Kevin Huber had one kick travel only 22 yards. Tight end Tyler Eifert dropped two passes. Green fumbled it away.
And on and on …
“We just didn’t play well,” Eifert said. “I played awful. It was embarrassing.”
HOYER’S STATUS: Hoyer was sent to the locker room to be examined for a concussion after the second series of the second half. It’s unclear whether he’ll be able to play at home against the Jets next Sunday.
“It’s probably a concussion,” coach Bill O’Brien said. “I asked him on the sideline and he just said, ‘Look, there’s just something a little off with me right now,’ and that’s not like him to be like that. And that’s when we made the decision with our medical staff to go with T.J.”
YATES MAKES THE MOST OF IT: Yates was signed on Oct. 28 to replace Ryan Mallett. Even though he had only a couple of weeks to learn the offense, a lot of it was familiar from his earlier years in Houston. As a rookie in 2011, he took over because of injuries and led the Texans to a win in Cincinnati and then that win over the Bengals in the playoffs, the franchise’s first in the postseason.
“I’ve had a lot of good memories in Cincinnati,” said Yates, who was 5 of 11 for 69 yards.
WATT GETS IN DALTON’S HEAD: Watt’s sack gave him 66 1/2 in his career. That moved him ahead of Hall of Famer Derrick Thomas into second place for the most sacks during a player’s first five seasons since it became an official stat in 1982. He also got into Dalton’s head by joking postgame that the Texans wanted to turn Dalton — dubbed the “Red Rifle” — into a “Red Ryder B.B. Gun.”
“There are a lot of kids and people who look up to him,” Dalton said. “And for him to make comments like that, he’s just showing that it’s acceptable to say that kind of stuff. It’s disappointing for one of the best players in this league to come out and say something like that.”
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