The Patriots will be hosting Houston next week in the AFC Division playoff round after the Texans beat the Cincinnati Bengals, 19-13, on Saturday.
Here are some quick thoughts on how the Texans fared against the Bengals:
– Matt Schaub, who finished 29 of 38 for 261 yards and an interception, was at his best when he was targeting tight end Owen Daniels over the middle of the field. He was at his shakiest when he was throwing the ball toward the sideline. If you recall, when the Texans were in New England, the Patriots took away those throws to Daniels and forced Schaub to dink and dunk or attempt to go down field. He’s simply not a good quarterback outside of his comfort area and that’s why he needs the play-action.
– Schaub threw an interception returned for a touchdown in the second quarter. It was a throw to the sideline that was undercut by Bengals corner Leon Hall. It was exactly the kind of throw he needed to avoid after another disastrous interception against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 17.
– The Texans defense was able to shut the Bengals down on third down, thanks in large part to a porous outing by Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton. The Bengals were 0 for 9 on third down and 1 for 2 on fourth down. Dalton was 14 of 30 for 144 yards and an interception. He finished with a 44.7 quarterback rating. The Texans won’t be lucky enough to see that kind of effort from Tom Brady and the league’s No. 1 offense.
– Arian Foster, behind his stud offensive line, was on top of his game. He rushed for 140 yards on 32 carries with a touchdown. Not to compare apples to oranges here, but he had only 15 carries against the Patriots. Everyone knows the Texans need their running game going for their offense to work in general.
– The Texans appeared to do their best to put defensive lineman J.J. Watt in one-on-one situations. What was the result? Five tackles, a sack, and a pass defensed. Expect the Texans to do their best to free up Watt next week.