Dec 27, 2020; Houston, Texas, USA; Cincinnati Bengals running back Giovani Bernard (25) runs the ball against Houston Texans cornerback Keion Crossen (35) during the first quarter at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

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Bengals prevail in shootout versus Texans

Samaje Perine capped a 75-yard drive with a 3-yard touchdown run with 1:57 remaining and the Cincinnati Bengals turned the first sack of the game into a 37-31 victory over the Houston Texans on Sunday.

Bengals quarterback Brandon Allen passed for a career-high 371 yards and also threw two touchdown passes and engineered the scoring march that lifted the Bengals (4-10-1) to their second consecutive victory. Cincinnati last won back-to-back games in Weeks 4 and 5 in 2018.

The Bengals racked up 540 yards, while the Texans had 488. Houston lost its fourth straight game.

Houston (4-11) had taken its first lead at 31-27 when Deshaun Watson found Darren Fells for a 22-yard touchdown with 6:15 left. Watson, who passed for 324 yards and three touchdowns, set a franchise record with his 30th scoring pass this season. But with 1:28 left, Sam Hubbard recorded a strip-sack of Watson and Margus Hunt recovered the fumble to seal the win for Cincinnati.

David Johnson posted his first 100-yard rushing game for Houston with 128 yards while Brandon Cooks had his second 100-yard receiving game with seven catches and 141 yards.

The third quarter was an offensive showcase with Cincinnati compiling two 75-yard touchdown drives while the Texans did the same. Perine rumbled 46 yards through a series of broken tackles for a touchdown and a 17-10 lead before Johnson pulled the Texans even with 9:05 left in the third on his 4-yard scoring run.

Allen responded with a series of exceptional passing precision, completing 4 of 4 attempts for 83 yards, including a perfect 20-yard touchdown pass to Tee Higgins. Watson and Johnson followed by combining on a 2-yard scoring pass that tied the score at 24 with 55 seconds left in the third.

Allen got off to a hot start, going 5 of 5 for 65 yards on the Bengals’ opening possession, a drive capped by his 8-yard scoring pass to Drew Sample — the first career touchdown for Sample.

The Texans attempted to match but stumbled in the red zone following a 50-yard Watson-to-Cooks pass play, settling for a 21-yard Ka’imi Fairbairn field goal and 7-3 deficit. The Bengals squandered opportunities to extend to a commanding lead by failing to convert on fourth down in Texans territory and by also misfiring on a 49-yard Austin Seibert field goal.

Cincinnati amassed 229 yards in the first half with a 20:02 time of possession yet went into the intermission tied at 10-10 after Watson hit Cooks for a 25-yard touchdown at the 1:54 mark of the second period. For Watson, it was his 13th touchdown outside of the red zone, an NFL-best.

–Field Level Media

Field Level Media
Sport Writer & Editor
FLM has a North American focus while tying into regional and hyper-local resources – providing the ability to distribute compelling content through the writing of professional journalists. As the U.S. sports content provider to dozens of digital and print media publishers through strategic partnerships with the likes of Reuters and Nielsen Sports, FLM covers the nuts and bolts with a breaking news desk and game event coverage.

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