The Bengals lead the Texans by a score of 16-3 at half time. They were able to force two turnovers and were able to capitalize on both of them, scoring a touchdown after one and a field goal after another. Also, for the first time in a long time, they looked their best in the second quarter.
This game is far from over but if the Bengals continue to do what they did in the first half throughout the rest of the game, there's no reason to think that they won't win this game and keep their playoff hopes alive.
Here is how the first half of the Bengals' Week 14 matchup against the Texans went down.
Even though the Texans struck first, the Bengals have the lead at half time. The Texans got the ball first and were forced into a three-and-out. The Bengals received the punt and gave the Texans the ball right back after going three-and-out themselves.
The Texans scored on their second possession. They drove 59 yards down the field on seven plays before the Bengals were able to stop them. It set the Texans up for a 49-yard field goal made by Niel Rackers. Houston took a 3-0 lead.
The Bengals answered right back, though. In nine plays, they were able to drive 71 yards and kick a field goal of their own. Mike Nugent kicked a 47-yard field goal to tie the game.
That's when the Texans started turning the ball over. T.J. Yates, the team's third-string quarterback threw a pass downfield for one of his receivers but instead it landed in the hands of Bengals safety Reggie Nelson, who returned the interception to the Bengals' 25-yard line. The Bengals weren't able to score a touchdown but they were able to take the lead with another Nugent field goal.
On the next drive, it looked like the Texans may score a touchdown. They had the ball on the Bengals' two-yard line with a first down. Yates handed the ball off to Ben Tate but before he could even think about where he was going to go, Bengals middle linebacker Rey Maualuga burst through the line and hit Tate in the backfield causing him to fumble. Somehow Maualuga was also able to come up with the ball as well. The Bengals had the ball back at their own three-yard line.
Even though they have had trouble in the second quarter, they proceded to march 97 yards down the field on 15 plays. Led by running back Cedric Benson, who already has 92 yards in the first half, the Bengals offense converted third downs and even a fourth down. The Bengals were on the 17-yard line when Andy Dalton threw a pass to Jerome Simpson in the end zone. Simpson came down with the ball despite taking a shot for the game's first touchdown. The Bengals scored their 13th consecutive point and their second straight score coming off a Texans turnover.
They gave the Texans the ball back with just over two minutes left in the half. The Texans were able to move the ball into Bengals territory but the Bengals pass rush stepped up and didn't give Yates enough time to find a target down field. He was sacked twice and forced to throw the ball out of bounds or throw a poor pass on more than one occasion. The Texans were stopped on a third-and-12 play at the Bengals' 37-yard line. Rackers came out to attempt a 47-yard field goal but missed wide right.
The Bengals took over with under a minute to play. Dalton flipped the ball to Andrew Hawkins on a shovel pass that went back into Texans territory. The Bengals took a timeout and then Dalton hit tight end Jermaine Gresham, who was able to get out of bounds, for another first down. After an incompletion, the Bengals decided to let Nugent try for a 49-yard field goal to end the half. Nugent put the ball through the uprights to give the Bengals a 16-3 lead at half time.
The Texans have lost to every team that has scored more than 14 points so far this season. Hopefully the Bengals continue to do what they did in the first half to make sure it happens again.