HOUSTON — — "The offense didn't play as well as it could have," Dalton said. "You can always look back and say, 'What if?'"
Dalton's 45-yard pass to Green got Cincinnati moving in the third quarter and set up Josh Brown's 34-yard field goal. When Dalton tried to go to Green again, Joseph intercepted and got the Texans in scoring range again as the quarter ended.
In last year's playoffs, the Texans routed the Bengals 31-10, with Dalton throwing three interceptions.
The main difference in this one: Schaub was back in charge for Houston. Rookie T.J. Yates filled in for Schaub, got the Texans a win in their first playoff game, but couldn't take them any further.
On their second possession, Schaub completed an 18-yard pass, Foster had a 17-yard run and Keshawn Martin went 16 yards on a reverse, setting up Graham's field goal.
It became a pattern — move the ball down the field, settle for three points. The fans started booing.
And then Schaub did the one thing he wanted to avoid — he let Cincinnati's defense get its hands on the ball. Hall anticipated Schaub's throw, stepped in front and returned it untouched, high-stepping the last few yards, for the defense's fourth touchdown in the last four games.
"It's disappointing. I mean, we had a good year, but it didn't end how we wanted it to and how we planned it to," Hall said. "At the end of the day, they made the plays that won the game for them."
Hall also ran back an interception 17 yards for the only Bengals touchdown in a 13-10 win over Pittsburgh that clinched a playoff spot. It was the first interception return for a touchdown against the Texans this season.