Houston hits a high as Cincinnati nears low

HOUSTON — The Houston Texans have rebounded from their worst loss with the best single-season stretch in franchise history.

The Texans blew a 17-point, fourth-quarter lead against the Colts four weeks ago and have won each game since, getting their third straight in a 35-6 victory over the winless Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.

It's the first time Houston (3-4) has won three consecutive games in a single season in franchise history. Cincinnati dropped to 0-8 for the fourth time. The Bengals are two losses away from their team-worst 0-10 start, which came in 1993.

"We're getting used to winning around here, and that's what we've been looking for," Texans linebacker DeMeco Ryans said.

Kevin Walter led the way with two touchdowns in his first meeting against his former team. Walter scored one touchdown in three seasons with Cincinnati, but he set a career high by scoring his fourth and fifth touchdowns of the year on Sunday.

Of course, Walter had help from his Texans teammates, led by Matt Schaub's three touchdown passes and Andre Johnson's fourth straight 100-yard game.

The Bengals seem to be getting worse by the week. The 29-point loss is their largest of the season, and they've allowed 73 points in the last two weeks.

"We played horrible," safety Dexter Jackson said. "We came in here, they put up 35 points on us, we put up six. The score speaks for itself. The scoreboard doesn't lie."

Walter's first score came on a 7-yard reception that made it 21-6 early in the third quarter. Johnson had four catches for 65 yards on that drive, including a short grab on third down he converted to a first down by bulling his way through a trio of defenders.

"We're just playing smarter as a team, and it just seems like everything is working out for us," Johnson said.

Johnson capped his fabulous October with 143 yards receiving and has 593 yards this month.

He easily outdid Cincinnati's much more outspoken receiver who once shared his last name, Chad Ocho Cinco. Ocho Cinco finished with five receptions for 44 yards.

"I'm not happy with the situation," Ocho Cinco said. "It's embarrassing. There's not much I can do except just keep working."

The Bengals were in the red zone late in the third quarter when Mario Williams picked up his seventh sack of the year and stripped the ball from Ryan Fitzpatrick. Amobi Okoye recovered, and Houston went on to score on a 20-yard run by rookie Steve Slaton that made it 35-6.

No decision has been made on QB Carson Palmer's injured throwing elbow. He said after the game that it will be re-evaluated after the Bengals' open date Nov. 9.