For the second straight season, the Texans road to the Super Bowl has ended in the Divisional Round.
Sunday in New England, the Texans got off to a quick start thanks to a long opening kickoff return by Daniel Manning, but after getting just three points, they crumbled, eventually losing 41-28.
”Whenever the season ends, no matter when, it’s really hard,” tight end Owen Daniels said. ”The farther along you get, the harder it is to take. It’s one we wanted to win really bad. It’s tough to swallow … but one team gets to have a smile on their face at the end of the season, and it’s not us this year.”
Tom Brady threw for 344 yards, and surpassed his idol, Joe Montana, for most playoff wins ever.
Next up is Baltimore for the Pats which stunned top-seeded Denver in double overtime Saturday, and lost 23-20 at Gillette Stadium last January in the last step before the Super Bowl. But the Ravens beat the Patriots in Week 3 this season at Baltimore.
”I think the two best teams are in the final,” Brady said. ”Baltimore certainly deserves to be here and so do we.”
New England’s defense helped put away the Texans. Rob Ninkovich’s leaping third-quarter interception stopped a drive, and six plays later, Brady hit Brandon Lloyd for a 6-yard score.
Although the Texans got two fourth-quarter TDs on passes by Matt Schaub, their season ended with four defeats in their last six games. That slump cost the AFC South champions the top seed in the playoffs, forcing a trip to New England after they beat Cincinnati in the wild-card round.
The Texans couldn’t measure up.