HOUSTON: Andy Dalton was three-years old the last time Cincinnati won a playoff game. Madonna was kinda still like a virgin. The DVR was a twinkle in the VCR's eye. It's been a tremendous 21-year drought and it was thought that maybe the Bengals' fabulous rookie could end it against Houston.
The Texans were down to their third string quarterback. They were vulnerable. The problem for the Bengals was this: Dalton was more vulnerable.
After an initial flurry of accuracy and guts, Dalton fell apart, and that's putting it kindly. The Bengals placed the weight of the playoffs on Dalton's shoulders, and like a thousand other rookies, on a thousand past NFL fields, he melted. It happens. It happens to the best. Houston 31 Bengals 10...and reality for Dalton set in like a kick to the sternum.
The Bengals won mainly because Dalton was intercepted three times -- once for a gut-destroying pick-six at the end of the first half. Dalton fell apart but so did the entire Bengals team. Dalton was also sacked four times and the Bengals defense was picked apart in the second half. A 17-10 Houston lead was soon out of hand.
Dalton will learn from this. He's talented. He's smart. Most of all, he's just plain good. The Bengals playoff win drought will end one day, too.
Just not now.