Houston Texans advance in AFC playoffs | NFL
Arian Foster rushed for 140 yards as host Houston beat Cincinnati 19-13 in an AFC wild-card playoff game.
The Associated Press
HOUSTON — J.J. Watt swatted away passes, Arian Foster ran away from tacklers and the Houston Texans did just enough to knock Cincinnati out of the playoffs for the second consecutive season.
Matt Schaub made his first postseason start a successful one when Foster's 1-yard touchdown in the third quarter helped the Texans to a 19-13 AFC wild-card victory over the Bengals on Saturday.
"The whole stadium knew we had to line up and run the ball," said Houston coach Gary Kubiak.
Foster finished with 140 yards and became the first NFL player to have 100-yard games in each of his first three playoff appearances.
"He's become a fine, fine player, and it just seems like the bigger it gets, the better Arian gets," Kubiak said.
There is a big test next Sunday, when the Texans (13-4) visit the New England Patriots, who beat them 42-14 in Week 14.
"It's one step," Watt said of the playoff victory. "We know what it means, and we have bigger goals than that."
He is glad the team got back on track, but knows Houston will have to play better to beat the Patriots.
"They know what they're doing in the playoffs," Watt said. "They've been here many times before. They know what it takes, so it's going to take everything we have and we're really excited about the challenge."
Foster said he isn't planning to watch too much film of Houston's loss to New England.
"They're a new team, we're a new team," Foster said. "Anytime you play a team twice in a season ... you have to attack it differently. It's a different mentality. Different things are at stake."
Shayne Graham kicked four field goals for the Texans.
Watt finished with a sack and swatted away two of Andy Dalton's pass attempts, once wagging his finger at the Bengals' quarterback after the play.
"I think it was a full defensive effort, everybody was flying around and we were getting off the field on third downs," Watt said.
Houston's defense smothered Dalton and the Bengals early. The Texans had the ball for almost 39 minutes as they got a season-high 32 carries from Foster.
"We controlled the line of scrimmage, and anytime we do that it's going to be hard to beat us," Foster said.
The Texans had trouble finishing drives and managed three field goals in the first half against the Bengals (10-7).
Houston struck first after the break, with Foster scoring the game's only offensive touchdown to make the score 16-7.
Schaub, who missed last year's playoffs with a foot injury, had an interception returned 21 yards for a touchdown by Leon Hall before halftime.
"It was never easy," Schaub said. "Cincinnati is a great team. I made a turnover and gave them points. We just had to rally around each other, and we did that."