Cincinnati — The Texans were the perfect team to give the Bengals their first loss — on their home field in a big Monday night game, no less. They have a way of doing this to them — especially if T.J. Yates is running the offense.
Yates took over in the third quarter after Brian Hoyer (Michigan State) sustained a concussion and led Houston to a 10-6 victory on Monday night, throwing the touchdown pass that knocked the Bengals out of the ranks of the NFL’s unbeaten.
The Bengals (8-1) were trying to make NFL history and join New England and Carolina at 9-0 — there’s never been such a trio. A backup quarterback with a history of beating them got in the way.
Yates beat them twice as a rookie during the 2011 season, including a first-round playoff win that was the Texans’ first-ever in the postseason. That experience helped get him through his impromptu performance on Monday night.
“It’s a little nostalgic,” said Yates, who went 5 of 11 for 69 yards. “I have a lot of good memories in Cincinnati.”
And now, another one.
Cincinnati contained some of the NFL’s top quarterbacks while getting off to the best start in club history. Yates was something else. And so was the Texans’ defense, which looked awfully familiar as well.
The Texans (4-5) made Andy Dalton look bad during first-round playoff wins over the Bengals during the 2011 and 2012 seasons. J.J. Watt returned an interception for a touchdown in that breakthrough playoff win in 2011.
The Texans were all over Dalton again on Monday night.
“I feel like it’s 2011,” said Watt, who had one of the three sacks of Dalton. “I’m pretty excited. This is an incredible team.”
And no longer an unbeaten team, thanks in large measure to Yates.
Yates ended his first drive with a 22-yard touchdown pass to DeAndre Hopkins, who made a one-handed catch in the end zone for the game’s only TD.
“I can’t say enough about T.J. doing what he did,” Watt said. “I think every time we come into this stadium, he should be our quarterback.”
Dalton had another tough time against a Texans defense, going 21 of 37 for 187 yards with an interception and three sacks. Cincinnati’s final chance slipped away when A.J. Green made a catch for what would have been a first down at the Texan 23-yard line, then was stripped of the ball by Quintin Demps with 40 seconds left.
“I had both hands on the ball and I took one off to break my fall and he ripped it out,” Green said. “I was trying to break my fall.
“We’ll be all right. It’s tough to lose. Not everything is going to be pretty.”
Yates’ touchdown pass decided a lackluster game by both offenses.
The Bengals led 6-3 after a first half that was filled with penalties and missed plays. Telling statistics: The quarterbacks led their teams in rushing. Hoyer had 15 yards on one scramble, and Dalton had 30 yards on five carries.
That was especially bad for the Texans, who have been trying unsuccessfully to get one of the league’s worst running games going with Arian Foster sidelined by an Achilles tendon injury. The Texans’ running backs managed only 25 yards in the first half.
It got more foreboding when Hoyer walked off the field to get examined for a concussion after the second series of the second half. Yates hadn’t thrown a pass in a game since he was signed on Oct. 28 to replace Ryan Mallett.
On his third completion — the touchdown — Yates added to his legacy of beating the Bengals.
Peyton Manning out
Peyton Manning won’t suit up against the Chicago Bears on Sunday.
Broncos coach Gary Kubiak is going with backup Brock Osweiler as he tries to get his 39-year-old quarterback healthy.
“I’m disappointed that I’m injured,” a somber Manning said at his locker. “I’m disappointed in the game yesterday. I will try to take advantage of this week and try to get to feeling better and getting healthy.”
Kubiak said he met with Manning for an hour Monday morning and told him of his decision — which Manning didn’t like.
“I’ve never met a player who agreed to that,” Kubiak said. “I mean, no, he’s up there today and he wants to go, he wants to do everything he can for his football team and I knew that and I expected that.
“I tried to express to him my concern to getting him back to himself and feeling better and I think he understands the position I’m in and I sure as hell understand the type of person he is and the player he is.”
Manning won’t practice this week nor will he suit up against the Bears, when rookie Trevor Siemian will be Osweiler’s backup, Kubiak said.
Manning will spend lots of time with team athletic trainer Steve Antonopulos this week.
Kubiak wouldn’t speculate how long Manning might be out. The only time Manning ever missed a start in his 18-year career came when he sat out the entire 2011 season following a series of neck surgeries that ultimately led to his departure from Indianapolis and his signing with the Broncos.
Manning is dealing with a variety of ailments, including a torn plantar fascia in his foot, the Associated Press reported. He also has a sore right shoulder and a ribcage injury.
Manziel remains backup
Johnny Manziel’s best performance in two NFL seasons earned him positive praise and rave reviews.
And a starting job? Not quite.
Browns coach Mike Pettine, whose future might hinge on his team’s performance over the final six games, said he’s not ready to select Manziel as his starter for the remainder of another unraveling season in Cleveland.
“I’m not prepared to say that, but that’s a conversation that certainly will be had,” Pettine said as his team staggers into its bye week.
Making his fifth career start, Manziel passed for 372 yards in Cleveland’s 30-9 loss at Pittsburgh.
Titans wide receiver Justin Hunter (fractured right ankle) and cornerback Jason McCourty (groin) were placed on injured reserve.
... Browns wide receiver Andrew Hawkins was released from University of Pittsburgh Medical Center after being hospitalized overnight after sustaining his second concussion in three weeks against the Steelers on Sunday.
... Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz announced he will require season-ending surgery on his left calf. Cruz has not played in a game since tearing a patellar tendon against Philadelphia in October 2014.
Case Keenum will replace Nick Foles as Rams starting quarterback, coach Jeff Fisher said.