Proud Patriots push forward after easy victory

Associated Press  |  Last updated December 11, 2012
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. Not anymore. 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 hype about Houston (11-2) was overblown, it couldn't be missed. ''Any competitive person is going to use whatever motivation best motivates himself,'' defensive coordinator Matt Patricia said Tuesday. ''In the end, our motivation is going to be to go out there to try to play the best we can, get better and do our job to the best of our ability.'' But ''statement'' game? ''Not at all,'' defensive tackle Vince Wilfork said. ''I'm not big on that.'' That's the real message coach Bill Belichick tries to deliver - treat every game as a difficult challenge, no matter how well or poorly the opponent has been playing. That emphasis has helped them win their past seven games. ''We don't really worry too much about records around here,'' he said. Just as he professes not to think much about making a statement with a lopsided victory over an opponent that had won six consecutive games. ''I don't think we put a whole lot of relevance or spend any time talking about that type of thing,'' Belichick said. ''We talk more about what we need to do to win each week.'' Still, the Patriots often contribute to the hype. They make each opponent sound like a huge obstacle, no matter how poorly it's been playing. The New York Jets had lost five of seven games, but Brady still called them ''a very good team'' before a Thanksgiving night matchup. Then the Patriots went out and rolled to a 35-0 lead in the second quarter and a 49-19 victory. But when the lavish praise of an opponent comes from the media and other outsiders, the Patriots say they try not to listen. Sometimes, though, all the chatter comes through. And that gives some players extra incentive - like when plenty of pre-game talk centered around Watt and the Texans defense. ''Obviously, we came into this game with a chip on our shoulders, everyone talking about the Houston Texans,'' Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo said. ''We always talk about ignoring the noise, but you hear it. You hear it walking down the street. It was a little bit of a motivational factor, for me at least. I'm sure the rest of the guys felt the same way.'' Early in the season, the defense was giving up big plays. Now, it's making them. Devin McCourty intercepted Matt Schaub's pass into the end zone on the Texans' second series. The Patriots sacked him on the third. They forced a three-and-out on the fourth. And they made fourth-down stops on the Texans' fifth and sixth possessions. New England's defense was outstanding. Houston's was overwhelmed. ''What everyone says (is) what everyone's got to say,'' McCourty said. ''We know we're a good defense here. We know we've played really well the last couple of weeks and the biggest focus for us is just trying to build on that.'' The Patriots have clinched the AFC East and, with three games left, have a chance for home-field advantage throughout the conference playoffs. They still must overtake Houston and finish with at least the same record as the Denver Broncos (10-3). But all that can wait. Now the Patriots are concentrating on their second straight highly touted opponent, the San Francisco 49ers (9-3-1) on Sunday night. Only this time, most of the attention could focus on how dominant the Patriots are, especially after the way they handled the Texans. Might the 49ers use that as motivation as they head into a stadium where the Patriots have won their last 20 games in December? ''We're just getting ready to play them,'' offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said. ''Extra this or that, I'm not sure that anybody needs it this time of the year. We're all fighting to win each and every game that we can.'' --- Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

U.S. Senator “appalled” by Bettman’s stance on concussions

Team USA’s Opening Ceremony uniforms look a little treasonous

Lawyer who reps concussion lawsuit wants to speak with Bettman

Former NFL LB Armstrong, wife reportedly killed by 16-year-old son

Tyler Eifert says he will never play in the Pro Bowl again

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Australian athletes evacuate the Olympic village after fire

Russian weightlifting team banned from Rio

Wade says Riley did not push him out of Miami

Nationals among multiple teams inquiring on Mark Melancon

McClain does not show up for Cowboys’ training camp

Andre Johnson agrees to two-year deal with Titans

Miami women’s basketball coach criticizes Texas A&M following slideshow

Twin Cities preparing for influx of sex trafficking during Super Bowl LII

WATCH: Bautista bat flip will be available as NHL 17 celebration

Former USMNT, current MLS forward Davies battled cancer, in remission

The definitive guide to U.S. Men's Basketball at Rio 2016

Tony Romo training camp picture leads to fat jokes, concern

Matt Cullen’s family eats cereal out of the Stanley Cup

Texas A&M suspends coaches for sexist slideshow

10 most dangerous college football defenders in 2016

Is it time to start taking West Ham seriously?

Storyline from 'Ballers' plays out in Cowboys preseason camp

Texas A&M creates a very sexist version of their fight song for women

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Dr. Phil calls out the Patriots for their cheating ways

Everything that's already gone wrong at the Rio Olympics

Amar'e Stoudemire's presence (and absence) changed the NBA

We asked Team USA: What other Olympic sport would you play?

Why Gary Bettman's CTE denial is cause for concern for NHL

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker