Friday, March 7, 2014
The Associated Press
(Continued from page 1)
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) shakes hands with Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub (8) following an NFL football game in Foxborough, Mass., Monday, Dec. 10, 2012. The Patriots won 42-14. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick instructs his team during the third quarter of an NFL football game against the Houston Texans in Foxborough, Mass., Monday, Dec. 10, 2012. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)
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."