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The Houston Texans clinched the franchises’ first play of berth.
But the Texans had to do it the hard way, coming back from behind on the road and defeating the Cincinnati Bengals 20-19 when rookie quarterback T.J. Yates fired a six-yard touchdown pass to receiver Kevin Walter with two seconds remaining at Paul Brown Stadium on Sunday.
Yates’ brilliant last-minute drive in just his second game as a starter and his first road start combined with a New Orleans Saints 22-17 win over Tennessee that gave the Texans (10-3) their first AFC South title and playoff berth.
The Texans had to outscore the Bengals 10-0 in the fourth quarter and 17-3 in the second half in order to erase a 16-3 halftime deficit.
The win wasn’t secured however until a pass interference call on Pacman Jones defending Texans receiver Jacoby Jones moved the ball down to the Cincinnati 6. That’s when Yates stepped up and made the biggest throw of his three-game career with a dart in the middle to Walter to tie the game. Kicker Neil Rackers sealed it the extra point kick.
The Texans have now won seven straight games as they now turn their focus to improving their playoff seeding for home field advantage. They finish the season with home games against Carolina and Tennessee with a road game at Indianapolis in between.