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Bengals Prove Again Why They're Most Frustrating Team in NFL

HOUSTON, TX - JANUARY 05:  Arian Foster #23 of the Houston Texans reacts against Vontaze Burfict (R) #55 of the Cincinnati Bengals during their AFC Wild Card Playoff Game at Reliant Stadium on January 5, 2013 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images
Jamal CollierAnalyst IIIJanuary 6, 2013

An apt summary of the Cincinnati Bengals’ 2012 campaign is that they have been equal parts promising and frustrating. Cincinnati has a young core with a defense that was playing at a high level entering the postseason, but it flopped against the Houston Texans for the second time in two years.

Bengals have the best scoring defense & 2nd-best total defense since Week 10. Texans rank 17th & 23rd in those categories during that span.

— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 5, 2013

Since a four-game losing streak that covered the entire month of October and first week of November, Cincinnati has given up just 12.8 points per game. It scored 13 on Wild Card Saturday against Houston, but that’s not going to cut it when the Texans put 19 on the board.

The offense didn’t register a touchdown, which was a disappointing development as the Bengals have one of the best wide receivers in the game—already—in sophomore A.J. Green. Against Houston, however, it almost appeared as though they had forgotten that they had him at their disposal.

A.J. Green had 0 targets in the 1st half for the 1st time in his career.

— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 5, 2013

A.J. Green held without a 1st-half reception for only 2nd time in career. Only other time was 1st game of his career in Week 1 of 2011.

— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 5, 2013

Of course, ignoring its No. 1 option resulted in a sub-zero passing game for a Cincinnati team entering the locker room at the half:

Bengals have -6 pass yds in 1st half, fewest 1st-half pass yds in a postseason game since Chiefs had -8 vs Colts in 2006 Wild Card Playoffs.

— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 5, 2013

Green was targeted 11 times in the second half, but caught fewer than half the passes thrown his way: He finished with five receptions for 80 yards. Andy Dalton completed less than half of his attempts—the sophomore QB completed 14-of-30 passes for a modest 127 yards and an interception. At Houston last year in the playoffs, Dalton completed 27-of-42 balls for 257 yards and three picks.

Cincinnati will undoubtedly look to find the balance between continuing a streak while breaking another. The Bengals have now made the playoffs in two consecutive seasons, but they’ll be fighting a couple of nasty losing streaks should they make it again in 2013:

Bengals have 0 playoff wins since 1990. Every other NFL team has a playoff win since then. The streak extends.

— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 6, 2013

It may be surprising enough that bottom-dwellers like the Detroit Lions and Cleveland Browns have won playoff games more frequently than the Bengals. But their head coach has yet to walk away victorious from a postseason matchup, as well.

Marvin Lewis is 0-4 in postseason games. Jim Mora is the only coach (0-6) with more postseason losses without a win.

— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 6, 2013

 

For more NFL analysis, follow Jamal on TwitterFollow @StatManJ

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