Texans-Bengals postgame notebook

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For the first time in franchise history, the Texans won three consecutive games, beating the Cincinnati Bengals 35-6. It was a banner day for the Texans' offense. Quarterback Matt Schaub completed 24-of-28 passes for 280 yards and three touchdowns.
'Dre leading the way: Andre Johnson capped his fabulous October with 143 receiving yards to give him 593 yards for the month. His 41 catches this month were the second-most by an NFL receiver in October since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970. Eric Moulds caught 42 in October, 2000. Johnson's 593 yards were the fifth-most by an NFL receiver in October since 1970.

Against Cincinnati, 'Dre took several hard hits to the head, but that didn't stop him from making spectacular catches over the middle and up the sidelines.

"He's playing tough," Kubiak said. "They knocked the heck out of him four or five times. He's leading the team.

"He's special, and we're not even halfway there yet. I'm just very proud of him. He started leading this team the minute we walked out of Tennessee with his play and he hasn't stopped."

In the last five games, the Texans are averaging 410 yards of total offense.

"I think it's the best football we've played since I've been here," Johnson said. "It's fun. It's a lot of fun because we know what we can be."

Walter shows 'em what their missing: Wide receiver Kevin Walter showed the Bengals what they've missed out on since he left Cincinnati in 2006 to sign with Houston. In his first game against his former team, Walter grabbed five passes for 70 yards and two touchdowns.

"I was in Cincinnati for three years and I still have good relationships with all those guys," Walter said. "It was good to see those guys today, but most of all it was good to get a win."

Walter entered the game with extra motivation and perhaps a little too much adrenaline, getting called for a false start on the first play of the Texans' first series.

"He was really pumped before the game," wide receiver Andre Johnson. "That's why he had that offsides, probably. I was telling him to calm down, and he goes, 'Oh, whatever. I'll look out for you.'"

Walter's first score came on a seven-yard grab that made it 21-6 early in the third quarter. Walter got in the end zone again as he dove to the ground for a reception, popped up and ran for a 39-yard score. Bengals cornerback Johnathan Joseph was covering Walter when he caught the pass but didn't touch him until he gave a light push after Walter was back on his feet.

The two scores gave Walter five touchdowns for the season, and he proved to everyone on the field how valuable he has become as a Texans starter.

"I'm excited for him," coach Gary Kubiak said. "Here's a kid that (former general manager) Charley (Casserly) and I were able to get a couple of years back. He didn't ask for anything.

"We probably should have started him that first year, and now he played against his old team and made some big plays like that. I know that's special. I saw some of their players go up to him after the game. I can imagine how much they respect him of the way he goes about his business."

'D' with an ID: The Texans' defense came into Sunday's game without an identity. The unit ranked 22nd in league, allowing 338.8 yards per game. Aside from defensive end Mario Williams, the front seven hadn't been stout against the run, and the secondary had been getting beat on deep balls. That all changed against Cincy.

{QUOTE}The defense excelled in every facet of the game. The Texans allowed only 105 yards rushing and 148 yards through the air. The defense did not give up a touchdown for the first time this season, and Cincinnati was 0-for-2 in the red zone.

"As a defense, that's what you look for, a shutout," linebacker DeMeco Ryans said. "We'd love to see zero up there. That would be even better. Not to let get into the end zone with the big-time playmakers that they have, that was huge for our defense."

In fact, the Bengals' Pro Bowl receivers, T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Chad Ocho Cinco, combined for just 99 yards. Keeping them in check was a secondary led by cornerback Dunta Robinson, who recorded his 12th career interception, making him the franchise's all-time interceptions leader.

"I don't know how many plays he played today, but his presence is making us better," Kubiak said of Robinson. "The thing we did on defense today is we were very sound and tackled well and made good plays."

To give the secondary more stability, Kubiak started free safety Nick Ferguson, a ninth-year pro, for Will Demps. Ferguson played opposite of Eugene Wilson for a majority of the game.

"It was good with Ferg and Eugene back there, two experienced guys," Ryans said. "They know how to play ball and they know how to play the coverages well, and they do a good job of that."

Wilson recorded his second interception of the season, which he returned for 17 yards.

"He's got a lot of confidence," Kubiak said. "He's cheating in situations where he recognizes a formation or a tendency. That's how he makes plays."

Also making plays were Travis Johnson and Williams, who both notched a sack. Super Mario has recorded seven sacks this season, making him the sack leader for defensive ends in the AFC.

Also noteworthy: The Texans won the turnover battle for the first time this season. They held on to the ball the entire game and forced a fumble on a Williams' sack.

Wide receiver Jacoby Jones returned a punt 73 yards for a touchdown following Cincinnati's opening drive. It was Jones' second punt return for touchdown of the year, tying him with New Orleans running back Reggie Bush for the most punt returns for a touchdown this season.

Steve Slaton scored his fifth rushing touchdown of the season when he scored from 20 yards out in the fourth quarter. The running back has scored six touchdowns this season, which puts him in second place all-time among Texans rookies. Running back Domanick Williams scored eight touchdowns as a rookie in 2003.

Pro Bowler Ahman Green, who finished with 41 yards on the ground, tweaked his hamstring during the game.

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