While there were still two quarters left when J.J. Watt plucked Andy Dalton's pass out of the air and returned it for a touchdown, the play still seemed like a turning point.
And whatever chance the Bengals had of coming back, the Texans snuffed it out with a dominant second half.
Arian Foster rushed for 153 yards and two touchdowns, rookie quarterback T.J. Yates passed for a score, and Houston pulled away from Cincinnati for a 31-10 victory in the first postseason game in franchise history.
In a year marked by the unexpected and potential pitfalls -- from the loss of starting quarterback Matt Schaub and backup Matt Leinart, to nagging injuries for star wide receiver Andre Johnson -- the Texans have put together the most successful season in the 10-year history of their franchise.
They captured the AFC South title and won 10 games for the first time in their short history, thanks in part to Yates. He helped them to the division- clinching 20-19 win in Week 14 against Cincinnati.
While Houston dropped its final three games of the regular season, it was in fine form during Saturday's dominant victory. Now the Texans are into the second round, and will face the Ravens in Baltimore next Sunday.