It was a feeling of helplessness.
The Bengals offense possessed the ball four times in the first half in the first round of the '12 playoffs (played on Jan. 5, 2013), generating as many punts (4) as they did first downs (4). A.J. Green was forgotten. A Leon Hall pick-six kept the game respectable but the offense just didn't have it. Houston wasn't particularly overwhelming either, but they sustained drives. Three of them went ten plays or more. By the end of the second quarter, the Texans dominated time of possession 22:53.
Unable to sustain possessions and the Texans wearing Cincinnati's defense into a crawl, the Bengals went into full-fledged panic mode to open the third quarter. They lost a yard and punted after three plays. As beautiful as our defense is, they weren't saviors either. Houston nickle-and-dimed Cincinnati all afternoon, running 77 plays compared to Cincinnati's 48.
Yet the Bengals had the football with six minutes remaining, down by six points. Play after play, the Bengals inched closer to their first playoff win in twenty-plus years, reaching the Texans 36-yard line. It's fourth and 11 with 2:51 remaining. Dalton finds Marvin Jones, but the pass falls three yards short of a first down. After the Bengals exhaust both time outs, the Texans picked up two more first downs and took a knee to end the game.
Close. So close. This was the Cincinnati Bengals playing well below par and falling 36 yards shy of a touchdown to win the game. Of course that presumes that more time expires with the fourth down conversion and Houston has no time left and the Bengals score a touchdown on offense which they didn't do all day... OK, they were close based on my faith, not really observation. It actually never did feel close.
The Bo Jackson curse continues.
...and at least the Texans suck now.