CINCINNATI – The Texans were the perfect team to give the Bengals their first loss — on their home field in a big Monday night game, no less. They have a way of doing this to them — especially if T.J. Yates is running the offense.
Yates took over in the third quarter after Brian Hoyer sustained a concussion and led Houston to a 10-6 victory on Monday night, throwing the touchdown pass that knocked the Bengals out of the ranks of the NFL's unbeaten.
The Bengals (8-1) were trying to make NFL history and join New England and Carolina at 9-0 — there's never been such a trio. A backup quarterback with a history of beating them got in the way.
Yates beat them twice as a rookie during the 2011 season, including a first-round playoff victory that was the Texans' first ever in the postseason. That experience helped get him through his impromptu performance on Monday night.
"It's a little nostalgic," said Yates, who went 5-for-11 for 69 yards. "I have a lot of good memories in Cincinnati."
And now, another one.
The Texans (4-5) made Andy Dalton look bad during first-round playoff wins over the Bengals during the 2011 and 2012 seasons.
The Texans were all over Dalton again on Monday night.
"I feel like it's 2011," said J.J. Watt, who had one of the three sacks of Dalton. "I'm pretty excited. This is an incredible team."
And no longer an unbeaten team.
"It was embarrassing," Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert said. "Losing is never good, but maybe this will help us refocus. Maybe it will recharge us."
Yates ended his first drive with a 22-yard touchdown pass to DeAndre Hopkins, who made a one-handed catch in the end zone for the game's only TD.
Dalton had another tough time against a Texans defense, going 21-for-37 for 187 yards with an interception. Cincinnati's final chance slipped away when A.J. Green made a catch for what would have been a first down at the Texans 23-yard line, then was stripped of the ball by Quintin Demps with 40 seconds left.
"I had both hands on the ball and I took one off to break my fall and he ripped it out," Green said. "I was trying to break my fall.
"We'll be all right. It's tough to lose. Not everything is going to be pretty."