The Patriots insist that their rout of the Texans was not a ''statement'' game to show they could excel against the team with the NFL's best record.
They made one - loud and clear - nevertheless.
Tom Brady and company let the dwindling group of doubters know that they can dominate even their best opponents and are still improving as they head toward the playoffs.
''It needs to come together now,'' Brady said after throwing four touchdown passes in New England's 42-14 win over Houston on Monday night. ''This is the perfect time for it. We can't wait any longer.''
There was plenty of pregame focus on the Texans' big playmakers - J.J. Watt with an AFC-high 16 1/2 sacks, Arian Foster with an NFL-leading 15 touchdowns, Andre Johnson with 74 receptions. And Houston was the only NFL team with a perfect road record at 6-0.
The Patriots (10-3) took command quickly, scoring on passes in their first three possessions. Whether or not they wanted to deliver a message that the ...