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A collection of stories around the web to touch on for this weekend's game against the Houston Texans.
+ Joe Reedy with the Cincinnati Enquirer offers empirical evidence from recent postseason losses that if the Cincinnati Bengals can't stop the Houston Texans rushing offense, it's going to be a long afternoon.
In the last two playoff losses – 2009 to the Jets and last season to the Texans – running backs have had a field day. Foster’s total was the second-highest against the Bengals in a playoff game. Three seasons ago, Shonn Greene had 135 yards and a touchdown.
Over the past three seasons, Foster has rushed for over 100 yards in 24 games, including seven this year. The Texans are 17-7 and unbeaten this season when that happens.
After struggling the first half of the season, when they were allowing 117 rushing yards per game, the Bengals have been more disciplined and effective in shutting down running games. Teams are averaging only 97.4 yards over the past eight games, and the Bengals have not allowed a 100-yard back in nine games.
From week 12-16 the Bengals didn't even allow teams to generate 100 yards rushing until the regular season finale when a mixture of regulars and backup players allowed 206 yards rushing to the Baltimore Ravens, 65 of which came from backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor.
+ Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton is happy to play at home... again. Dalton, who grew up in Katy, Texas, never lost a game at Reliant Stadium prior to last year's loss, winning twice in High School and once at TCU.
"It'll be fun," Dalton said. "There's a lot of family and (friends) around the Houston area and in Texas in general. It's definitely cool to come back and play where I'm from."
+ The last playoff game for recently signed awarded AFC Special Teams Player of the Month Josh Brown? Facing the Green Bay Packers with the Seattle Seahawks...
Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck famously proclaimed "We want the ball and we’re going to score," when the Seahawks won the overtime coin flip.
Hasselbeck instead threw an interception that Packers cornerback Al Harris returned 52 yards for a game-winning touchdown, leaving Brown to walk off the field dejectedly like the rest of his teammates.
+ From Bengals.com:
Some quick math by left tackle Andrew Whitworth. Only three current starting AFC tackles have been to the playoffs four times with their club and they're all from the AFC North: Whitworth, the Ravens' Michael Oher, and the Steelers Max Starks.
+ The defensive X-factor by most Bengals players? Pat Sims.
To Dunlap and tackle Domata Peko, he is "The X Factor." To defensive line coach Jay Hayes, he's the enforcer up front, giving Atkins and Domata Peko valuable time to rest inside without his vaunted seven-man rotation falling off. To Sims, he's a guy that has had an agonizing wait to make his first playoff appearance after missing his first two shots in 2009 and 2011 with injuries.
In the 13 games he's missed the past two years, the Bengals have allowed 4.5 yards per rush. In the 19 games Sims has played, they've allowed 3.6. In the last two playoff games without him, they've been buried by the Jets and Texans with 171 and 188 rushing yards, respectively.