Twice this season the Houston Texans have taken on Super Bowl contenders in statement games.
Both times, let’s just say betting on the Texans hasn’t exactly been smart.
Monday night in New England, the Patriots used a relentless offense to slam the Texans 42-14, and once again leave Houston wondering – “are we good enough to play with the big boys?”
The Texans were no match for Tom Brady and New England’s throw happy offense, as the Pats set the tone right away. Wes Welker’s 31-yard punt return and 25-yard reception – the 107th straight game he’s had a catch – led to Aaron Hernandez’s 7-yard score to start the onslaught.
Houston may have well just boarded the bus right there.
Houston, which had won six straight, threatened on its next series, only to have Matt Schaub force a ball into double coverage in the Patriots’ end zone. McCourty picked it off and returned it 19 yards, setting up more pinpoint throws by Brady, who finished 21 of 35.
On the night, Brady wrapped up the evening with 296 yards with four touchdowns.
Although the Texans have clinched at least a wild-card berth, they haven’t had a truly convincing win since October. This was a convincing defeat, however – although they got on the scoreboard in the third quarter with an 88-yard drive capped by Arian Foster’s 1-yard run.
But Foster was held to 46 yards on 15 carries.
By then the Patriots had scored their fourth TD, a gorgeous 63-yard throw to Donte’ Stallworth, who was re-signed last week to replace injured Julian Edelman. It gave Brady his 18th game with at least four TD passes, moving ahead of Hall of Famer John Unitas for fourth all time.
Brady nearly had a fifth as Woodhead broke free on a screen pass early in the fourth period. Texans standout defensive end J.J. Watt, who was pretty much invisible otherwise, forced a fumble, but the ball soared 11 yards into the end zone, where Lloyd fell on it for a 35-7 lead.
Stevan Ridley made it 42-7 with a 14-yard run. The Texans have allowed 42 points in both losses, the other coming against Green Bay on Oct. 14.
Texans backup quarterback T.J. Yates scored on a 1-yard run with 2:00 remaining to close the scoring.
For the Texans, it’s another wake-up call that there’s a lot of work to be done. They have a few weeks to do it before the playoffs. If not – it’s going to be a long offseason for Gary Kubiak and the best record team in the AFC.