If one of our keys were, sustain a fourth quarter lead to win the game, the significant reaction would be a sense of obviousness. Little did those with a keen sense of obviousness realize, it would have actually been the one key that the Cincinnati Bengals would fail to achieve this weekend. Rather our weekly keys to the game addressed the more practical ideas for a game that we expected to see, which was run the football and defend the run – it’s the same basic football principle since our Great Grandfathers were watching football in its earliest stage of development. And for the most part, the Bengals did well enough to contain Houston and arguably put together their best rushing offense in the first half in years.
Another one of our keys was the hopeful assault on rookie quarterback T.J. Yates with one of the fiercest pass rushes he’d have ever seen, ruining years of innocence instilled by his parents within three hours. Though the pass rush was (again) well enough, it generated one of the biggest plays of the game.
Truth be told, Cincinnati’s defense T.J. Yates to the tune of five quarterback sacks, five quarterback hits and another six pressures. And those assaults came from all over, like Chris Crocker who generated a sack on two blitzes and Nate Clements, who delivered two shots on three pass rushes.
That being said the times that the Bengals desperately needed to bring Yates down, they couldn’t.
Case in point is when Houston was left with a third and 15 with 44 seconds remaining in the game, following Michael Johnson’s quarterback sack. Brandon Johnson came on a blitz up the middle, beating his guy and nearly taking Yates down. However Yates did the one thing that Johnson never accounted for. Considering that Yates is a rookie, we can’t blame Johnson for not accounting for this one thing. Yates avoided Johnson with a side-step to his left.
At this point Geno Atkins shed off his block and didn’t account for a rookie quarterback having a particular skill set – side-stepping to his right. It was more than enough to force Atkins into hesitation before doing an "aw, shucks" dive that most people do when they realize they’ve been badly on a play.
Nate Clements stepped up a yard (or two) short of the first down marker, breaking down like a dog foaming from the mouth. Yates stepped to his right and Clements, also known as "bricks in his cleats", takes a swipe at Yates feet and misses.
Following the 17-yard gain that converted a third and 15, Yates spiked the football on Cincinnati’s 23-yard line with 25 seconds remaining in the game. A pass interference later on Adam Jones (which he disputes), the Houston Texans won the game on a six-yard crossing pattern over the middle that Brandon Johnson recognized too late after he cleared out with Owen Daniels.