Outmatched Texans fall prey to Tom Brady, Patriots
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady celebrates a touchdown against the Texans during their AFC division game at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., Jan. 13, 2013. (BRIAN SNYDER/Reuters)
If there’s anything that Tom Brady doesn’t own, it’s probably not worth having.
He has the good looks, the trophy wife, the beautiful kids, a pretty sizeable paycheque and on Sunday evening he got to stick another feather in his cap.
By spearheading the New England Patriots to a 41-28 victory over the overmatched Houston Texans, Brady garnered his 17th post-season win, more than any quarterback in NFL history.
Coming into the game he sat tied with his boyhood hero Joe Montana, but now Brady is clearly in front and looking forward to extending his lead.
With Sunday’s triumph, Brady and the Pats earned the right to host next Sunday’s AFC championship game, a rematch of last year’s thriller against the Baltimore Ravens.
A thriller, Sunday’s match was not as it took two late and meaningless touchdowns by the Texans to make the score somewhat respectable.
As far as passing Montana, Brady didn’t seem to thrilled with the achievement. For Brady, it’s all about the team and not what he has or hasn’t accomplished.
“Well, I hope I’m around for a few more years,” he said. “It was an important win for our team and that’s always the No. 1 goal for me.”
Brady was then pushed to give a little more.
“I love playing. I love competing. I love being a part of this team and this organization,” he went on. “There’s a lot of mentally tough guys. I think I’ve just been fortunate to be on some great teams over the years. I very much appreciate that and never take it for granted. I’m always going to try and be the best teammate and leader that I can be.”
Actually, it’s the Patriots that are fortunate to have a player of Brady’s class and ability.
Against the Texans he was good on 25 of 40 passes for 344 yards, tossed three touchdown passes and didn’t throw a pick. Just the usual.
All 17 of his playoff wins have come under coach Bill Belichick, who never tires of Brady’s act.
“Of course Tom has meant a lot to us since he’s been here. He’s a great competitor and he had a great week of preparation as he always does for every game but especially the playoff games,” Belichick started off. “He’s our leader and we all follow him and respect him. Today he certainly did his part as he’s done many times before.
“There’s no quarterback I’d rather have than Tom Brady.”
Now it’s looking ahead to the Baltimore rematch.
“It’s good to be able to play in the AFC championship game next week,” Belichick said. “I’m proud of our players. They worked hard all year. It was a big win for us. Fortunately we had a bunch of guys step up today and make plays that we needed to make.
“It wasn’t perfect. There’s certainly a lot of things that we can do better. But it’s a good win.”
Houston didn’t have much going all game and fell behind quickly, much like they did in the 42-14 pasting they received here on Dec. 10.
With just over three minutes left in the opening half Sunday they were trailing 17-3, but for a short time found a pulse, scored 10 quick points and entered the dressing room trailing 17-13.
Perhaps there’d be a game after all.
The Patriots, though, snuffed out those thoughts by outscoring Houston 14-0 in the third and that was the game.
“We didn’t play a good game and they played a very good game,” Houston defensive end J.J. Watt said. “They are moving on and we are not. We came in here at halftime feeling pretty good. Obviously the long field goal (55 yards) by Shayne (Graham) was a heck of a kick.
“We came out in the second half and didn’t perform and it is plain and simple. We just didn’t do the things we needed to do to win. We needed to create turnovers on defence and we didn’t do that.”
At the end, there was no late drama in this one, folks.
No Hail Mary heroics. No game winning, last second drive.
On a weekend that produced a plethora of pulsating performances, the Patriots turned in a blue collar effort.
Wes Welker was Brady’s main target and the diminutive slotback set a personal career post-season high by gaining 131 yards on eight receptions. So, kudos to him.
The Ravens, meanwhile, will be up against it next weekend as New England is close to unbeatable in the playoffs on home turf. With the win Sunday they are now 10-2 at Gillette Stadium.
In the AFC championship they are 7-1 with a 3-0 mark at home.
The Ravens will have to find some magic to best the Pats here and pull another miracle out of their hat like they did Saturday to beat the Denver Broncos.
The Pats, meanwhile, don’t need magic. They just need Brady.
He’s been on the winning side 17 times.
No. 18 doesn’t figure to be that steep a hill to climb.