You know what it feels like to be really embarrassed.
Maybe you sweat. Or get a little red in the face. Either way, you just want to disappear. You wish the moment never happened and would do anything to change it.
So, what if you did have the opportunity to avenge that moment?
The Houston Texans felt that same embarrassment when the Patriots blew them out in Foxboro, 42-14, in a Week 14 Monday Night Football slaughter.
Now, though, they have a second chance to prove that they aren’t the “frauds” that believe think the Patriots exposed them to be.
Everything’s bigger in Texas, and that also goes for chips on shoulders. But nobody inside Gillette Stadium is taking Houston for granted.
“Those guys have won a playoff game and we’re 0-0, so I guess that’s our chip,” linebacker Jerod Mayo said. “We know a hungry Texan team is going to come in here ready to play. I’m sure those guys have been talking all week about how they want to play this game, and we know the last game could have been a lot closer than what it was.”
History isn’t exactly on the side of the Patriots, either. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, teams that lost to a team by at least 28 points in the regular season are 11-11 when playing that team in the playoffs. The Patriots are already one of those 11 losses as in 2010 they lost to the Jets after beating them 45-3 earlier that season.
To avoid being loss No. 12, New England will need to attack early as it has for much of the season. The Pats ranked No. 1 in the NFL in first quarter points per game (7.1), and scored 14 points in the first quarter against Houston earlier this year. That takes the ball out of Texans running back Arian Foster’s hands and forces Houston to rely on quarterback Matt Schaub more.
Bill Belichick knows that they’ll have to be aggressive if they want to move on.
“You don’t win a war by digging a foxhole and sitting in it,” Belichick said. “You have to go out there and attack. You have to go out there and make the plays you need to make to win. It’s a one-game season.”
Brady vs. Schaub
Tom Brady and Matt Schaub are at two entirely different points in their respective careers, particularly when it comes to playoff success.
– Brady is tied with Joe Montana for the most wins (16) by a starting quarterback in NFL playoff history. No. 12 is 6-6 in his last 12 playoff starts after starting his career with an unfathomable 10-0 postseason record.
– Schaub won his first ever playoff game in his first ever playoff start last weekend against the Bengals. The Texans QB was mediocre in that game, owning an 83.4 QB rating while throwing a pick and no touchdowns.
– Brady threw a whopping six touchdown passes in last year’s divisional round playoff win over the Broncos.
– Schaub’s first NFL game with multiple TD passes (three) came in 2005 against the Patriots when Schaub was a member of the Atlanta Falcons.
– Matt Burke