Despite an impressive offensive performance, the Houston Texans fell, 37-31, to the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 16.
Deshaun Watson threw three touchdown passes and became the Texans' all-time franchise leader with 30 passing touchdowns in a season. He completed 24-of-33 passes for 324 yards and a 133.9 passer rating while rushing for 38 yards on five carries. Houston had both a 100-yard receiver and 100-yard rusher in the loss. Brandin Cooks caught seven passes for 141 yards and a touchdown. David Johnson finished with 12 carries for a season-high 128 yards rushing and one rushing touchdown. Johnson also had three catches for 11 yards and a receiving touchdown.
"Well, I still have that mentality of I always feel like I could do better," Johnson said. "I left some yards on the field. Should have did a lot better. Guys were blocking so well for me, all-around, linemen, tight ends and receivers. And, you know, I felt like it was a good game, but I could have done a lot more."
Zach Cunningham led the defense with 14 tackles (nine solo) while Keion Crossen had eight tackles and a team-high four passes defensed.
"I feel good about those guys on the offensive side of the ball being able to gain yards, in passing and running and able to put points on the board," interim head coach Romeo Crennel said. "That's a positive. And the negative is that we weren't able to stop those other guys."
Bengals quarterback Brandon Allen completed 29-of-37 passes for 371 yards and two touchdowns. Samaje Perine rushed for 95 yards and two touchdowns.
"Yeah, it was horrendous," J.J. Watt said. "I mean, we gave up 540 total yards. Twenty-nine of thirty-eight passing. I mean, screens, quick passes, balls out to open guys. We cannot, you can't do that, and it's very frustrating."
The Texans offensive line was without right tackle Tytus Howard, who was placed on injured reserve last week. On the same drive of the second quarter, both Laremy Tunsil and Brent Qvale went down with injuries. Roderick Johnson, starting for the injured Howard, moved to left tackle while rookie Charlie Heck took over at right tackle. Max Scharping stepped in for Qvale, evaluated for a concussion, at left guard.
On the opening drive, Allen threw an eight-yard touchdown pass to tight end Drew Sample to take an early 7-0 lead for Cincinnati.
After stopping the Bengals on fourth-and-2 on their next possession, the Texans took over at their own 43-yard line. Watson threw a 50-yard completion to Cooks to get the offense in 1st-and-goal. The Texans would settle for a 21-yard field goal.
Two drives later, Houston put together a touchdown drive. Watson connected on back-to-back passes to Cooks before finding him in the endzone. Cooks' 25-yard touchdown capped off a five-play, 75-yard scoring drive with 2:00 remaining in the first half. The defense forced a three-and-out and the Texans headed into halftime tied 10-10.
On the opening drive of the second half, the Bengals quickly regained their lead after a 46-yard touchdown run by Samaje Perine.
David Johnson ran for 38 yards to get deep into Bengals territory. Jordan Akins added a 14-yard catch-and-run before Johnson ran up the middle for a four-yard touchdown run.
Allen then threw his second touchdown of the day to rookie Tee Higgins.
After that, David Johnson gashed the Bengals defense with another 48-yard run.
On third-and-13, Watson scrambled 14 yards to extend the drive. Three plays later, he threw a two-yard touchdown pass to Johnson.
The Texans and Bengals headed into the fourth quarter, tied 24-24.
Houston finally took its first lead of the game after Darren Fells scored on a 22-yard catch-and-run. Earlier on the drive, fellow tight end Pharaoh Brown extended the drive with a 29-yard catch.
Houston, however, fell into a 34-31 hole after a 10-0 run by the Bengals. Perine scored his second touchdown run with 1:57 left in the game. On their next possession, the Texans gave up their only sack of the day. However, the sack on Watson proved costly, resulting in a fumble. The Bengals recovered and added another field goal for a final score of 37-31.
Watson was checked out for injuries to his arm, but did not miss a play.
"We were Just checking it out, just being cautious, but I'm I'm pretty fine now," Watson said.
With the loss, the Texans are now 4-11 on the season and will host the Tennessee Titans in their final game of the 2020 season in Week 17.