Patriots brace for balanced Texans offense

Patriots brace for balanced Texans offense
January 10, 2013, 6:00 pm
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A 42-14 game can be tough to get out of any player’s head, whichever side of the score you’re on. For New England linebacker Jerrod Mayo, he wants to forget that the Patriots blew out Houston, but remember what the Texans did on the field.

“Obviously you have to watch the film to see what happened, see what plays hurt us,” Mayo said. “We still were hurting some of those plays and we still had people running free down the field that could have been big plays. You have to take some of those plays, but at the same time, you have to be ready to know that this is the playoffs. It’s different; you’re one play away from being at home."

New England was able to force the Texans to abandon the running game by jumping out to a big early lead. Mayo said the Patriots know that the Texans, and Matt Schaub are much better when they can mix the run and pass.

“I see a guy who’s throwing the ball well,” Mayo said. “The play-action is great. He can throw the ball deep. He has a lot of weapons on the outside and also on the inside. He’s throwing the ball well, making all the checks at the line of scrimmage, great with recognizing what the defense is doing. He’s playing well for them.”

The one Texan who May is most familiar with is running back Arian Foster, who played with Mayo at the University of Tennessee. Mayo said he’s always been a fan of Foster’s, and really likes his running style.

“Arian’s great. He makes a lot of cuts where he makes the offensive line look good, but they’re also a good offensive line as well,” Mayo said. “He’s such a patient runner. I like to liken his running style to water. He’s not that guy that’s going to stick real hard. He’s going to be patient until the hole develops and he makes the whole team better.”

The Patriots were able to build their lead in the team’s last meeting with the Texans in part because of a timely turnover New England was able to force. Against Houston it was an interception, but the Patriots specialty this year has been getting fumbles, something Mayo says New England will have to do more of to get a win on Sunday.

“Going against a great offense, we practice getting balls out,” Mayo said. “But like you said, it is tough recovering those fumbles. I think guys like Vince Wilfork and Rob Ninkovich, I think they have five apiece. They have a special knack at getting on the ball and have been doing a good job all year.”