Both teams exchanged opening drive three-and-outs before Houston broke through with a first down conversion in the shadow of its own goal line on a third down pass to Owen Daniels. The Texans got a nice extended drive out of it, but eventually had to settle for a field goal. The Bengals got a 29-yard run from Law Firm on the next drive, but Cincy got into a 3rd and long, which ended with a J.J. Watt sack, giving Mike Mayock an opportunity to mention that Watt is having the best season by an interior defensive lineman in the history of the all-time annals of forever and ever.
Shayne Graham kicked a second field goal in the first few minutes of the second quarter when another Texans drive stalled. The Houston crowd began to grow anxious because their team was dominating but only up six points. And they were right to worry. Once the Texans got the ball back after Andy Dalton had a long interception turn on 3rd down into a long incompletion, Leon Hall jumped a late-arriving sideline throw by Matt Schaub and ran it back for a touchdown, giving the Bengals a thin lead even though they’d been thoroughly outplayed to that point.
The announcers pointed out that Andre Johnson and A.J. Green had yet to get any receptions in the first half. Wouldn’t you know it, Andre has a third-down pass go off his hands in the end zone, prompting the third sad Shayne Graham field goal of the half. Johnson did finally get a catch on the last Texans drive of the half, which couldn’t even end in another field goal attempt. So the Texans are doing that thing where they dominate, squander opportunities and let the competition hand around. if they blow the lead right at the end it would be a nice microcosm of their season.