- Paul Kuharsky, ESPN Staff Writer
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HOUSTON -- Thoughts on the Texans' 31-10 wild-card victory over the Bengals at Reliant Stadium:
What it means: The Texans won the first playoff game in franchise history. Houston came in reliant on its defense and running game, and while it got strong work from both, rookie quarterback T. J. Yates also made a major contribution with a 40-yard touchdown pass to Andre Johnson.
What I liked: The Texans settled in and showed the poise they exhibited much of the season. The stars shined, with Arian Foster gaining more than 100 yards on the ground, Johnson breaking free for the big scoring catch and stud rookie J.J. Watt making a remarkable short-range interception and taking it for a 29-yard score.
What I wonder: Why didn’t Gary Kubiak challenge Jermaine Gresham’s third-quarter “catch” rather than calling a timeout that allowed the Bengals to change their mind about punting? And why did cornerback Johnathan Joseph then selfishly intercept Andy Dalton’s desperation pass rather than knocking it down to save yardage?
Better for a day: Yates certainly had a better team around him. But on this day the fifth-round rookie out of North Carolina wound up outperforming the second-round rookie from TCU. Yates efficiently supplemented the Texans' primary weapons with the touchdown to Johnson and no turnovers. Dalton, meanwhile, threw three picks.
What’s next: Houston advances to a divisional-round game at Baltimore on Jan. 15 at 1 p.m. The Texans lost to the Ravens in Baltimore 29-14 on Oct. 16. More on that matchup to come.