HOUSTON (AP) Cincinnati's A.J. Green wanted to play on Saturday night against the Houston Texans.
When the team decided otherwise, the star receiver decided to fly home for Christmas Eve rather than watch the game from the sidelines.
Randy Bullock missed a 43-yard field goal attempt as time expired and the Texans held on for the 12-10 win.
Green had missed the last four games with a hamstring injury but said earlier this week that he planned to play against Houston.
''He just had further testing during the week, and I conferred with the doctors and so forth, and they just thought the best thing for A.J. to have a full recovery was not to risk him this week,'' coach Marvin Lewis said.
Lewis was asked why the team didn't make the decision before allowing Green to fly to Houston with the team.
''We had a lot of discussions and so forth, and A.J. hoped to play,'' Lewis said. ''We ended up flying here and made the decision, and he asked for the opportunity to go home.''
Green has 964 yards receiving this season despite missing five games. Quarterback Andy Dalton was disappointed that he didn't get to have his best receiver on Saturday night.
''Would I love to have him out there? Absolutely. But the decision was made,'' Dalton said.
Dalton appreciated that Green wanted to play with the Bengals already eliminated from playoff contention and raved about his character.
''A.J.'s obviously the type of person that was going to do everything he could to get back for this team,'' Dalton said. ''I think that's one thing he said from the beginning was, `Regardless of the scenario, regardless of the position that we're in, I'm going to do everything I can to come back and play this year.' That's just the type of guy he is, the type of guy you want on your team, the type of teammate he is. He did that. He felt like he was in that position and the ownership made a decision.''
With Green and tight end Tyler Eifert out with injuries, Dalton looked to Brandon LaFell. The pair connected for an 86-yard catch-and-run touchdown that made it 10-6 with about 11 minutes left. LaFell finished with 130 yards receiving.
A 24-yard touchdown run by Alfred Blue put the Texans back on top with about nine minutes left, but the extra point was blocked to leave Houston up 12-10. That score was set up by a 21-yard reception by DeAndre Hopkins.
Dalton was 28 of 41 for 268 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
For the Bengals (6-8-1) this was yet another disappointment in a difficult season that will end a streak of five straight postseason appearances.
''These close games like this, we haven't been able to get that one play or that one score to help us win,'' Dalton said. ''This is another example of it, and this is how the season has gone this year.''
For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-NFL