Texans head to New England with refreshed attitude

Texans head to New England with refreshed attitude
January 10, 2013, 10:00 am
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Confidence wasn’t a problem when the Texans flew to New England to face the Patriots in Week 14 of the regular season.

They wore their letterman jackets into Gillette Stadium. And then got smashed 42-14.

“Yeah, we have to come in with a different mindset,” linebacker Brooks Reed said. “We have to compete. We can’t let a team go up that many points so fast. The game changes after a team puts up 14 points so early. We can’t let them come out quick.”

If you remember, in that game, the Patriots jumped out to a 28-0 lead and the game was seemingly over before it even started. Reed remembers the game pretty well, even though he wasn't on the field. He was forced to miss that game with a groin injury but will be back this week.

Even though they lost badly in the first matchup, the Texans remain confident. Rookie linebacker Whitney Mercilus said the team heads to New England with “swagger” and that a confident team plays better.

But there’s been a lot of talk about that Week 14 game and what the Texans need to do in order to move past it this weekend. Believe it or not, the Texans say they’ve moved on from that beating at the hands of the Patriots.

“That game is gone,” head coach Gary Kubiak said. “It seems like it was a couple years ago, not a month ago. We understand. We own it. We did not play good. We understand all those things, but I think players let things go quick. I know coaches let things go quick. Anything can happen on any given day in this business and we’re trying to be at our best this Sunday.”

“There’s always a chance of losing every game you play,” Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said in a conference call with Houston media on Wednesday.

And Brady should know.

In 2010, the Patriots went 14-2 in the regular season. They finished the regular season on an eight-game winning streak, which included a Dec. 6 beating of the Jets (45-3) in Foxboro.

What happened next? The Patriots had a bye week and played the Jets in the first round of the playoffs, where they lost 28-21. Brady said the team no longer talks about that game and said that it hasn’t come up this week in New England.

“We talked about it at one point and kind of moved forward,” he said, “and a lot of guys weren’t a part of that team. No one has really brought it up.”

Just like that Jets’ team probably did, the Texans have put the regular season beating behind them. Star wideout Andre Johnson said he has, even if he doesn’t agree with his coach that the game feels like it was a couple of years ago.

“No, no that wasn’t two years ago, but you can’t dwell on the past,” Johnson said. “It happened. We know it happened. Everybody saw it. It happened on the big stage. We’re not running away from it. It happened, but it’s a new game. It’s a new game on Sunday so we’ll see what happens.”

The never-excitable Johnson was – no shock here – pretty subdued while talking about this weekend’s upcoming game. Johnson was one of the few Texans to have a good game in Week 14. He had eight catches for 95 yards, but it wasn’t enough.

“We got our butts kicked,” Johnson said. “That’s pretty much it. We didn’t play like we know how to play, so that’s what happened.”

Not many outsiders are giving the Texans a shot in this divisional game. In fact, the line according to Bovada has the Patriots as 10-point favorites. And the players in the Houston locker room know they’re the heavy underdogs. Johnson said he doesn’t care.

J.J. Watt uses it as motivation.

“Love it,” Watt said. “I love doing things people tell me I can’t. That’s a great feeling. Right now, there are a whole lot of people telling us what we can’t do.”