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Cincinnati Bengals come up empty in playoff cameo


The Cincinnati Bengals were shoved out of the playoff picture by the Houston Texans for the second consecutive year. Saturday's 19-13 loss will be hard to digest for a franchise that must assume its January fate is preordained at this point.

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The Texans dominated in time of possession and total yardage, but Houston's inability to get the ball in the end zone -- in addition to a first-half pick six by Bengals cornerback Leon Hall -- kept Cincinnati in striking distance.

The Bengals' offense just couldn't find a way to break through. The Bengals went 0 of 9 on third-down conversions, and Andy Dalton continued a month-long trend with a down performance that included two misses on potential touchdown hook-ups with A.J. Green.

The second opportunity will sting for some time. With 2:51 remaining and the Bengals facing a third-and-11 from Houston's 36-yard line, Green slipped past Texans cornerback Johnathan Joseph and away from safety Danieal Manning, late in coverage. If Dalton hits Green on the throw, the Bengals are an extra-point conversion away from a 20-19 lead. Instead, Dalton's ball was well overthrown.

"I have to do a better job of making sure A.J. get his catches," Dalton said, via The Cincinnati Enquirer.

Marvin Lewis falls to 0-4 in the playoffs, including three wild-card losses in the past four years. Lewis deserves credit for building the Bengals into a consistently competitive team, but these January losses eventually will take their toll.

Taking a step back, the Bengals now have gone 22 seasons without a playoff win. That's an NFL record you want no part of.

Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @DanHanzus.