The Bengals and Texans played it about as even as you can Monday night in front of a national television audience.
Both football teams totaled 256 yards of offense and generated 16 first downs.
There was less than three minutes difference in time of possession, Cincinnati holding the slight edge.
But the Bengals did not lead where it counted, as the scoreboard showed a 10-6 Texans win at Paul Brown Stadium in an unexciting defensive struggle for both teams.
The Bengals led 6-3 at halftime on a pair of Mike Nugent field goals. He was good from 42 yards after a holding penalty added 10 yards to the distance in the first quarter. He converted a 39-yarder in the second quarter.
The Texans went ahead for good with 14:20 to play in the game on wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins's 22-yard touchdown reception from backup quarterback T.J. Yates, capping a nine-play, 79-yard drive that took just 3:01 to complete.
Nick Novak's extra-point kick was good, setting the final score.
Yates directed the Texans offense after starter Brian Hoyer suffered a concussion, and rallied them to victory. Hoyer finished 12-of-22 passing for 123 yards and one intecerption, at the end of the first half on a Hail Mary toss in the end zone that was caught by safety Reggie Nelson. Nelson had seven tackles, one behind team-leader George Iloka (8).
Yates finished 5-of-11 for 69 yards and the TD toss to Hopkins, who had five catches for 57 yards on 11 targets.
Houston didn't have much of a running game, rushing 25 times for 82 yards (3.3 average), led by Jonathan Grimes' 33 yards on six carries.
Novak booted a 22-yard field goal in the second quarter for the Texans, who improved to 4-5 and stayed in the AFC South chase with frontrunning Indianapolis.
The Bengals, who had not played in 11 days, were shut down in the second half and failed to produce a touchdown for the first time this season.
Quarterback Andy Dalton was 22-of-38 for 197 yards with a pick by former Bengal cornerback Johnathan Joseph, and three sacks. Wide receiver A.J. Green was the top target with five catches for 67 yards, but he lost a fumble.
Linebackers Vincent Rey and A.J. Hawk, and lineman Domata Peko had one sack apiece for the Bengals, who will attempt to regroup Sunday night. They are in Arizona against the NFC West-leading Cardinals, who are thriving with former Bengal Carson Palmer at quarterback.