CINCINNATI (AP) -- The Houston Texans had a new offensive
coordinator and a new belief they could score more than one
touchdown a game.
But it was the same old story on Sunday as the Texans lost 16-10
to the Cincinnati Bengals.
While the Texans' offense ran smoother under new offensive
coordinator Joe Pendry, it could only muster a touchdown and field
The loss has the Texans at 0-3 for the first time since they
began playing four years ago. The Bengals improved to 4-0 for the
first time since 1988 -- the last time they made the Super Bowl.
Texans quarterback David Carr had another tough outing, going
17-of-26 for 174 yards with seven sacks.
"I thought our guys played with some passion," Carr said.
"They really wanted to win this football game. That's why it
hurts. But we'll be fine. I think our guys were full of confidence
out there through the entire game. We just came up a little
Texans Coach Dom Capers said his team accomplished its goal of
taking the game into the fourth quarter.
"I thought we looked more like a team today," he said. "We
had a little rhythm at times but we still made some errors that
knocked us out of sync."
The Texans defense held Cincinnati to one touchdown and the team
didn't commit a turnover until late in the fourth quarter.
Carr was hit by Justin Smith with 3:14 in the game while his arm
was cocked, and the ball slipped out of his hand as he started an
awkward throwing motion. John Thornton fell on the ball, and
referee Larry Nemmers upheld the call on review, costing the Texans
their final timeout.
Carr still disputes the call.
"The only thing I can say about it is I was throwing the
football, really," he said. "We can go back and forth with the
referees, and we can get into all that but all I can do is what I
try and do, which is try to throw it forward."
His teammates also thought his arm was going forward, meaning it
would have been an incomplete pass.
"We all thought it was going to be overturned," right tackle
Todd Wade said. "That's why we stayed on the field. Apparently,
they saw it otherwise."
The Bengals didn't come unscathed from the game.
Centers Rich Braham and Larry Moore went down with knee injuries
in the second quarter, forcing guard Eric Steinbach to peel off his
blocking gloves and snap the ball for the first time. The offense
was out of sync while it adjusted to a major line shuffle, and
never moved the ball consistently because of penalties.
The Bengals had 14 penalties for 117 yards -- one of them wiped
out T.J. Houshmandzadeh's touchdown catch.
But they absorbed the penalties, shuffled the line and gritted
"Everybody was going with some type of injury," said Willie
Anderson, a Pro Bowl right tackle who threw his back out before the
kickoff and hurt his nose during the game. "That's the type of
character this team has now."
Houshmandzadeh, who refuses to dance after a touchdown, kept the
Bengals in their best start since the days of the Ickey Shuffle. He
caught eight passes for 105 yards, steadying an offense that had to
grind it out for the first time all season.
Shayne Graham's 27-yard field goal with 5:04 left broke a 10-all
Taking advantage of Carr's fumble, Graham kicked another field
goal from 46 yards. Six plays later, Carr was sacked on what was
supposed to be a desperation throw from midfield as time ran out.
"We had some dumb mistakes," said Bengals quarterback Carson
Palmer, who went 25-of-34 for 276 yards and a touchdown. "We're
not always perfect."
Houshmandzadeh kept the offense moving on a day when the Texans
made sure that his showy teammate, Chad Johnson, didn't score and
thus wouldn't dance in the end zone. Johnson did a jig after his
touchdown a week earlier and promised a new end zone celebration
against the Texans.
"It was a tough game," Houshmandzadeh said. "But hey, we're
winning, man. I'm happy about that, just to be 4-0."
FB Moran Norris' 4-yard catch in the third quarter was the
first touchdown in his five-year career. ... Carr has been sacked
20 times in three games. He was sacked an NFL-record 76 times as a
rookie in 2002. ... CB Phillip Buchanon, who lost his starting job
during the bye week, took turns with Demarcus Faggins covering
Johnson. ... Braham was listed as questionable for next week, and
Moore is likely out. ... Steinbach had played center only once
before -- during a spring game at Iowa. ... Anderson, who had to
leave last week's game with spasms in his back, said it locked up
again during the game, requiring treatment. He made his 84th
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Colts quarterback Andrew Luck threw and took the majority of the snaps in practice Tuesday, giving the indication that he is on track to play in Thursday's game against the Texans.
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Lance Easley, the referee who made the infamous "Fail Mary" call in 2012, plans to contact back judge Gregory Wilson about Monday's controversial call to offer support.
The NFL has asked the Browns why Pro Bowl cornerback Joe Haden was inactive for Sunday's game vs. San Diego after being listed as probable on the injury report.