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Sunday, December 11, 2011
Rapid Reaction: Texans 20, Bengals 19

By Jamison Hensley


CINCINNATI -- Thoughts on the Bengals-Texans game:

What it means: The Bengals’ playoff hopes took a major hit with a disastrous collapse. Cincinnati failed to hold onto a 13-point halftime lead and allowed the game-winning touchdown with two seconds remaining. The Bengals drop to 7-6, losing four out of their past five games. The Texans have won seven straight games.

Defense folds: If the Bengals miss the playoffs, they’ll look back at how their defense allowed a former third-string quarterback (T.J. Yates) to drive 80 yards for a touchdown in the final minutes of the game. The key play was a pass interference penalty on Adam Jones, which gave the Texans first-and-goal at the Cincinnati 6. Houston’s game-winning touchdown was a 6-yard completion to an uncovered Kevin Walter over the middle.

Offense disappears: The Bengals' defense can’t shoulder all of the blame. Cincinnati’s offense was shut out in the fourth quarter and was held to 22 yards.

Rough homecoming: Texans cornerback Johnathan Joseph, who left Cincinnati as a free agent before the season, had a frustrating first game back at Paul Brown Stadium. He dropped an interception at the 1-yard line with no one between him and the 99 yards to the end zone. Then, on the same drive in the third quarter, Joseph had a 25-yard pass interference penalty (defending A.J. Green) and gave up a 36-yard pass to Green.

Empty feeling: There were only 41,202 at today's game, which is the second-smallest crowd in the 11-year history of Paul Brown Stadium. That means there were 24,333 empty seats.

What's next: The Bengals look for their first road win since Nov. 6 when they travel to St. Louis (2-10).