Saturday, January 7, 2012
Halftime: Dalton's pick deflates Bengals
By Jamison Hensley
HOUSTON — Andy Dalton has played extremely well in his first playoff game. That is, until his late interception in the first half.
Dalton's throw was snatched out of the air by Texans rookie defensive lineman J.J. Watt, who ran 29 yards for the touchdown to put Houston up 17-10 at halftime of Saturday's wild-card game. This was only Dalton's second interception in his past seven games.
Before that turnover, Dalton was 13 of 17 for 120 yards and looked poised moving away from pressure. He also picked up first downs with a two-yard quarterback sneak and a 15-yard scramble. It will be interesting to see how Dalton responds to this adversity.
Here are other halftime observations:
- Bengals coach Marvin Lewis made a very questionable decision of using up both of his replay challenges in the first half. It was only made worse by the fact both challenges failed. His last challenge was on a third-down catch with 4:33 left in the second quarter.
- Bengals kicker Mike Nugent missed wide right on his first field-goal attempt, which was nine yards longer because of a third-down sack. He sliced it wide right just like he did last week against Baltimore. This was his fourth miss in the past three weeks.
- The Bengals' run defense gave up 70 yards to Arian Foster in the first half, but it hasn't been that bad. Cincinnati allowed 44 yards to Foster on the scoring drive and 26 yards the rest of the first half.
- Bengals receiver A.J. Green has made an impact in his first playoff game after being nonexistent the previous two weeks. He had four catches for 42 yards and drew a 52-yard pass interference penalty. The first-round pick only had two catches in each of his last two games.