When the Texans prepared to play the Bengals in the '11 playoffs, we discussed on Texans Radio how that might be the beginning of a rivalry as both teams were on the rise. The Texans were a few weeks removed from their come-from-behind division clinching thriller at Paul Brown Stadium and there was great familiarity between the two clubs.
That matchup featured two rookie quarterbacks with T.J. Yates getting the best of Andy Dalton. J.J. Watt's pick six of the former Katy and TCU stand out is the stuff of a legend.
Editors Note – Hey Vandermeer! How dare you bring up TCU without mentioning they're in theMercari Texas Bowlagainst Arkansas Dec 31 (Tickets are available at Tickermaster.com here).
That wasn't really the editor. I just hear their voice in my head. It's a good match up. Check it out on ESPN and Sports Radio 610.
I digress (which should probably be the name of anything I write).
The next year, 2012, Houston and Cincinnati met in the playoffs again. The Bengals came in hot while the Texans were struggling, having lost three of their last four. Houston won again.
There have been many big days against the Bengals. The 2015 Monday Night showdown at then-8-0 Cincinnati will live forever in Texans lore. Houston clawed to 3-5 the game before with a win over Tennessee after a 2-5 start that featured blowout losses to Atlanta and Miami. Brian Hoyer started but left the game with a concussion and T.J. Yates had to come in and rescue the team.
Yates was barely back in the building two weeks and managed to get the Texans in the endzone throwing to a well-covered DeAndre Hopkins who came up with what I still think is the biggest catch of his career.
The 10-6 victory propelled the team on a run that would win the division. The following year, on Christmas Eve, Houston could clinch the AFC South with a victory and got it when former Texan Randy Bullock missed a field goal at the buzzer.
In '17, Deshaun Watson would make his first ever start in a week 2 Thursday night showcase on his birthday. His 51 yard TD run was the difference in the game.
The Texans defense has been stellar in the wins. The last three games have not seen the Bengals eclipse 10 points. But the Texans haven't scored more than 13. Houston leads the all time series 6-4. The first three outings were all losses until things started to turn around in 2008.
As for the future. The Bengals have Joe Burrow, but he's out for the season. It kind of reminds you of the Texans when Watson got hurt in 2017. Sunday will be interesting as the Texans get back from a two game road swing and want to show out at home. The Bengals are coming off a stunning upset of Pittsburgh. But both teams are looking forward to much brighter days ahead.
Check out some photos from previous Texans vs. Bengals matchups.