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Houston beats Bengals 19-13 in wild-card playoff

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Houston beats Bengals 19-13 in wild-card playoff

HOUSTON (AP) Arian Foster ran for 140 yards and a touchdown, and the Houston Texans used a stifling defense for a 19-13 win over the Cincinnati Bengals on Saturday in an AFC wild-card playoff game.

The Texans will next play at New England on Jan. 13.

Foster became the first player in NFL history to have 100-yard games in each of his first three playoff games.

The Texans (13-4) had trouble finishing drives all day and mustered only three field goals by Shayne Graham in the first half. Houston struck first after the break, with Foster scoring the game's only offensive touchdown on a 1-yard run in the third quarter to make it 16-7.

In his first playoff start, Matt Schaub had an interception returned for a touchdown by Leon Hall before halftime.

Johnathan Joseph had an interception and J.J. Watt had a sack as the Texans beat the Bengals (10-7) in the wild-card round for the second straight year. Cincinnati hasn't won a playoff game since 1991, the league's longest current streak.

Foster's touchdown and another Graham field goal gave the Texans to 16-10 lead after three quarters. Even though Houston dominated, the game was up for grabs throughout because Pro Bowler Schaub made one bad mistake. His sideline pass was intercepted by Hall and returned for a 21-yard touchdown, the cornerback's second score in three games.

Houston piled up 351 yards and held the ball for 32 minutes through three quarters, but got into the end zone only once.

By contrast, Cincinnati's Andy Dalton had a horrid time. He completed 4 of 10 passes for 3 yards in the first half. With Watt's sack added in, the Bengals had minus-6 yards passing and only 53 yards overall.

His 45-yard pass to A.J. Green got Cincinnati moving in the third quarter and set up Josh Brown's 34-yard field goal. When Dalton tried to go to Green again, Joseph intercepted and got the Texans in scoring range again as the quarter ended.

After swatting down one of Dalton's passes at the line, Watt wagged his finger at the quarterback.

Nothing was going to come easy.

For the second season in a row, the Bengals opened the playoffs at Houston looking for their first playoff win since the 1990 season, a 21-year drought that was tied for ninth-longest in NFL history. They lost 31-10 last season, with the then-rookie Dalton throwing three interceptions.

The main difference in this one: Schaub was back in charge for Houston. Rookie T.J. Yates filled in after Schaub hurt his foot last season, got the Texans a win in their first-ever playoff game, but couldn't take then any farther.

Their franchise quarterback started a playoff game for the first time in his career. He came into the game in a slump, with the Texans losing three of their last four games while the offense sputtered.

The second time the Texans got the ball, they got going. Schaub completed an 18-yard pass, Foster had a 17-yard run and Keshawn Martin went 16 yards on a reverse, setting up Graham's field goal.

It became a pattern - move the ball down the field, settle for three points. The fans started booing the familiar, come-up-short endings.

And Schaub did the one thing he wanted to avoid: Let Cincinnati's high-scoring defense get its hands on the ball. Hall anticipated Schaub's throw, stepped in front and returned it untouched for the defense's fourth touchdown in the last four games.

Hall also ran back an interception 17 yards for the only Bengals touchdown in a 13-10 win over Pittsburgh that clinched a playoff spot. It was the first interception return for a touchdown against the Texans this season.

Like the Texans, the Bengals ended the season by hitting a wall on offense - one touchdown in the last two games.

A lot was on Dalton, who grew up in suburban Katy and had a dreadful playoff debut as a rookie last year in his hometown. He threw three interceptions, including one that Watt returned for a game-turning touchdown just before halftime.

He had to be better if the Bengals were going to end their notable playoff drought. Through three quarters, it wasn't even close.

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We're still amazed by Michael Jordan's historic scoring night vs. New Jersey, days after turning 40-years-old

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We're still amazed by Michael Jordan's historic scoring night vs. New Jersey, days after turning 40-years-old

Sixteen years ago Michael Jordan delivered one of the most memorable performances of his two-year stint with the Washington Wizards. 

On February 21, 2003, Jordan dropped 43 points four days after his 40th birthday. The mark made the Jordan the first player older than 40 to record 40 points or more in a contest. 

It was also the fifth-most points he ever scored in a Wizards uniform. 

The record was made against the then-New Jersey Nets. Throughout the entire game the two teams went back-and-forth with 13 ties and 17 lead changes. That was until the Hall of Famer put the game away for Washington with the final go-ahead basket with 34 seconds to go. 

The Wizards won 89-86. 

"We hadn't really been playing well and coach has been really disappointed in the way we play and I had to take the leadership. I had to do everything I had to do to get this team to understand what winning is all about," Jordan said.

The 43 points was scored on 18-for-30 shooting, all within the 3pt arc. In the third quarter alone he scored 14 of the team's 25 points. He also grabbed 10 rebounds for the double-double in the contest with four steals, three assists and a block.

All 13 seasons of Jordan's career he had incredible feats. The season prior he recorded his final 50-point game at 38 years of age, which is also the oldest anyone's ever been to reach 50 points. And that came two months after he returned from retirement. 

The 2002-03 season was his last and this display was an attempt for Jordan to return to the postseason one final time. He had not been there since he was with the Chicago Bulls in 1998. 

"I've only got 28 games left in my career. I do whatever I've got to do to get into the playoffs."

Ultimately the Wizards did not make it to the playoffs with Jordan, but he sure left his mark on the organization. 

MORE WIZARDS NEWS: 

America East Tournament Bracket 2019, How to watch, Dates, Preview, Location

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USA TODAY Sports

America East Tournament Bracket 2019, How to watch, Dates, Preview, Location

Last year's America East tournament allowed us to witness the greatest upset in NCAA Tournament history when the No. 16 UMBC Retrivers upset the No. 1 overall seed, the Virginia Cavaliers. 

The 2019 America East tournament will likely have more eyeballs on it as a result. 

Once again this conference likely remains a single-bid league. After several seasons of the Vermont Catatmounts running away with the league and having at-large bid potential, their resume this season is lacking a quality win. That is not to say that Vermont is not good. To the contrary they are still the class of the America East conference. 

They do have one conference loss though... to UMBC on their home court. 

The Retrivers are also good again. So are the Stony Brook Seawolves, who may even be in line for an NIT at-large bid if they cannot get the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. 

Unlike last season, there are question marks in Vermont's ability to make it to March Madness.

Oh and we're due for some fireworks. That memorable UMBC tournament upset would not have happened without another Retriver upset. Jarius Lyles nailed a miracle buzzer-beater to knock off the top seeded Vermont Catamounts for the 2018 championship and the automatic bid. 

AMERICA EAST TOURNAMENT 2019 INFORMATION:

When is the 2019 America East Tournament?

The America East Tournament is March 9, 12, and 16. The America East Championship game is on Saturday, March 16.

Where is the 2019 America East Tournament?
The America East Tournament is hosted at the higher seed of each match-up. The No. 1 seed has homecourt advantage throughout the tournament.

How to watch the 2019 America East Tournament?

The America East Tournament has not announced where there tournament will be broadcast or streamed. 

Who is the defending 2018 America East Champion?

The UMBC Retreivers won the 2018 America East Tournament championship. They advanced to the NCAA Tournament and upset No. 1 seed Virginia.

AMERICA EAST TOURNAMENT 2019 BRACKET:

America East Tournament Quarterfinals (3/9)
 - No. 1 seed vs. No. 8 seed
 - No. 2 seed vs. No. 7 seed
 - No. 3 seed vs. No. 6 seed
 - No. 4 seed vs. No. 5 seed

America East Tournament Semifinals (3/12)
 - Highest remaing seed vs. lowest remaining seed
 - Second highest remaining seed vs. second lowest remaining seed

America East Tournament Championship (3/16)
 - Semifinal winner vs. semifinal winner

AMERICA EAST TOURNAMENT 2019 PREVIEW:

Preview will be released upon the completion of the 2019 regular season.

PICK: TBD

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