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Dalton helps Bengals to 22-13 win over Texans

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HOUSTON (AP) The Cincinnati Bengals aren't getting too excited about winning two straight games to remain atop the standings in the rugged AFC North.

They still have work to do.

Andy Dalton threw for 233 yards and a touchdown, and A.J. Green had 121 yards receiving to give the Bengals a 22-13 victory over the Houston Texans on Sunday.

Green was asked what their recent success says about the team.

''It doesn't say anything until you get that playoff spot,'' he said.

Dalton agreed and said the team has a singular focus.

''Regardless of what's happened before, it's what's up next,'' Dalton said. ''What we did (Sunday) and what we have done previously doesn't really matter. We kind of control everything.''

Dalton again relied on Green, who is healthy after dealing with a toe injury. Green finished with a career-high 12 receptions against a secondary playing without cornerback Kareem Jackson (knee).

The Bengals (7-3-1) led throughout, but Houston (5-6) cut the lead to three late in the third quarter before Cincinnati tacked on two field goals in the fourth to secure the win.

Rookie Jeremy Hill scored on a 2-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter after an interception by Ryan Mallett for Cincinnati's only touchdown of the second half.

Mallett struggled in his second career start, finishing with 189 yards passing and often overthrowing open receivers. He wasn't sure why he was so off-target on Sunday after a solid outing in a win over Cleveland last week.

''I didn't play well,'' Mallett said. ''I couldn't hit the broad side of the barn from 5 yards away.''

Houston's only touchdown came on a 60-yard interception return by Johnathan Joseph in the third quarter.

Dalton threw two incompletions in a row to bring out Mike Nugent for a 31-yard field goal to push the lead to 19-13 with about 9 minutes left. Nugent added a 49-yard field goal with less than 2 minutes remaining.

Bengals right tackle Andre Smith injured his left biceps in the first quarter and didn't return. Smith said he'll get an MRI, but didn't provide any other details on the injury.

Here are some things to know about the Bengals-Texans game:

ERASING BAD MEMORIES: The Bengals' last two trips to play the Texans ended in playoff losses. The Texans beat them in the postseason in both 2011 and 2012.

''This is a great win all-around,'' Cincinnati offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth said. ''This is a personal game for us. This team's robbed us probably in seasons where we felt we were better than them.''

CLOWNEY'S COMING ALONG: Top overall pick Jadeveon Clowney saw his most extensive action since injuring his knee in Week 1. Houston's outside linebacker played in two other games since the injury, but his snaps have been limited. He had three tackles, including one for a loss on Sunday.

He said he still doesn't feel like he did before his injury.

''Some things are holding me back still, but I'm just out here trying to do what I can do,'' he said.

HILL'S NOT GOING ANYWHERE: Hill, a second-round pick in this year's draft, has been carrying the load while starter Giovani Bernard has been out for three games with an injured shoulder and hip. Bernard was back on Sunday, but Hill still got plenty of carries.

He led the team with 87 yards rushing on 18 carries. Bernard had 17 carries for 45 yards.

SINGING THE BLUES: Houston rookie running back Alfred Blue ran for 46 yards filling in for Arian Foster (groin) for the second straight game. Blue wasn't able to build on the success he had last week, when he ran a franchise-record 36 times and tied a team single-game rookie rushing mark with 156 yards.

''We got to improve on some things,'' Blue said. ''We need to correct the mistakes that we made.''

GREEN IS FEELING GOOD: Green had his second straight 100-yard game after missing three games with his toe injury and being limited in two others because of it. He said he felt pretty good last week, but that he was pain free on Sunday.

He exhaled and shook his head when asked how it felt to have two big games after struggling with the injury for so long.

''It felt good just to get back into the groove of things,'' he said.


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