Shutdown Corner

Leon Hall scores first touchdown of the playoffs on pick-six of Matt Schaub throw

Doug Farrar
Shutdown Corner

The Houston Texans had dominated the Cincinnati Bengals through the first quarter-and-a-half of their wild-card matchup, at least in yardage. Starting their second drive of the second quarter, the home team at Houston Reliant Stadium had well over 100 total yards, while Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton was still in the negative yardage category -- he bottomed out at the start of the second quarter with minus-17 yard through the air.

But as they say, it's not about yards, it's about points -- and with all their moving up and down the field, the Texans could manage just two field goals against Cincinnati's defense. The first touchdown of this year's NFL playoffs was scored defensively, when Benagls cornerback Leon Hall returned a Matt Schaub throw 21 yards with 9:38 left in the first half.

It was a throw Schaub should have never made. He read across his body to fullback/tight end James Casey, telegraphed the throw all the way, and actually underthrew what should have been an easy screen. Hall, one of the better quick coverage cornerbacks in the NFL, jumped the route easily. Casey never had a chance because of the underthrow, and it was off to the races for Hall.

[Related: Infographic: NFL wild cards, inside the numbers]

The Texans had best right themselves on offense, Though productive in a yardage sense, Gary Kubiak's team has scored just two touchdowns in its last 12 quarters. Schaub has thrown just one touchdown pass in his last five games.

At the half, the Texans had a 9-7 lead despite dominating the Bengals in first downs (14-4), total plays (47-18), total yards (250-53), and time of possession (22:53 to 7:03).

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