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NFL Playoffs 2012: Bengals Lose To Texans, Saints Advance On Wild Card Weekend

The first two NFL wild card games offered plenty of big plays and entertaining football to begin the playoffs.

The NFL playoffs kicked on with a pair of entertaining wild card games on Saturday as the Houston Texans and New Orleans Saints put up big numbers to advance to the next round in the playoffs.

The Cincinnati Bengals may take issue with their game being described as entertaining after the Texans found a way to shut down the Bengals' offense and run away with a 31-10 win. Cincinnati started the game strong, taking a first quarter lead after Cedric Benson punched the ball in the end zone for a 7-0 lead.

After a Neil Rackers field goal tied the game at 10-10 with less than two minutes to play in the half, the game swung in Houston's favor for good when J.J. Watt intercepted Andy Dalton and returned the pick for six points with less than a minute to play in the half.

Houston running back Arian Foster took it from there, finishing the game with 153 yards on 23 carries including a signature 42-yard run down the right sideline through several Cincinnati defenders that put the game away.

In the NFC wild card game, Drew Brees aired it up early and often to lead the New Orleans Saints over the Detroit Lions, 45-28. Like the Bengals, the Lions started strong scoring first and taking a 14-10 lead to halftime.

But after the break it was all New Orleans as Drew Brees jump started things early in the third quarter with a 41-yard touchdown pass to Devery Henderson. Brees finished the game with 466 passing yard while the New Orleans ground attack added 167 yards.

Photographs by spatulated, Triple Tri, and chrischappelear used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.