Bengals slump to first defeat against Texans
LOS ANGELES: Relief quarterback T.J. Yates tossed the game-winning touchdown pass to DeAndre Hopkins in the fourth quarter as the Houston Texans handed the Cincinnati Bengals their first loss of the season with a sloppy 10-6 road victory on Monday.
Cincinnati (8-1) could not overcome numerous errors, with tight end Tyler Eifert suffering three key drops and quarterback Andy Dalton struggling to find his rhythm against relentless Texans pressure at Paul Brown Stadium. “This was a big game for us, especially when you beat a team like Cincinnati,” Texans coach Bill O’Brien told reporters. “Those guys in that locker room understand what we can do.” Houston (4-5) lost starting quarterback Brian Hoyer late in the third quarter due to a possible concussion and Yates came in to complete 5-of-11 passes for 69 yards. Cincinnati had one last chance when it took over at its own 19-yard line with 3:54 remaining.
Dalton converted a third-and-18 on a pass to receiver A.J. Green to keep the drive alive. Then, on fourth-and-six, Green appeared to make a first-down catch but fumbled and the ball was recovered by Texans safety Quintin Demps. “You play all the way to the whistle,” said Texans defensive end J.J. Watt, who had two tackles and a sack. “That’s the way you have to play against an 8-0 team. This was an incredible team win.” The game featured a sloppy first half in which there were six punts, nine penalties and both quarterbacks led their teams in rushing. The second half was not much better. Early in the third quarter, Dalton’s deep ball intended for receiver Marvin Jones was tipped and intercepted by Texans cornerback Johnathan Joseph.
Joseph, a former Bengal, has intercepted Dalton in four consecutive games between the teams. Hoyer was escorted to the locker with the Texans trailing 6-3 late in the third quarter. Yates subsequently orchestrated a nine-play, 79-yard drive, with his 22-yard pass to Hopkins putting Houston ahead for good.
Hopkins managed to get two feet down inbounds while falling backwards to make the score 10-6.”Hop’s a go-to guy for us,” O’Brien said. “That was a great catch and throw.” Dalton had another rough night under the prime-time lights, going 22-of38 for 197 yards and an interception. Punter Shane Lechler was a weapon for the Texans, helping them flip field position on several occasions. Lechler averaged 46.8 yards on eight punts, including one 64yarder. “We’ve got to clean those things up,” Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said. “A.J. won’t fumble the ball and Tyler Eifert won’t drop balls (like he did tonight). We’ll make plays and catches like we have been and continue to get better at it.” — Reuters