What a crazy football game! The Pats beat the spread (18 over 17-point spread) but as Belichick and Brady emphasized, they have to do better. Tom threw 2 INTs, matching his record for the entire season! The offense simply could not get in rhythm. Dion Lewis was a perfect example: he was trick-or-treat all night: he fumbled twice (lost one, a teammate recovered the other), but he set a playoff record of running for a TD, caught a pass for one, and ran a kick-off return for a third. He dazzled as he made playoff history, and also made franchise history with the 98-yard return. Of course, the coaches will focus on the fumbles on Monday. :)
Special teams featured steady reliability by the kicker and an above-average performance by punter Ryan Allen, the spectacular kick-off return by Lewis, but also Lewis' fumble that gave the Texans points. Trick-or-treat!
The defense saved the O's bacon by grabbing 3 INTs in the second half. Whew! They came through.
DB Eric Rowe committed a stupid penalty that allowed points scored by Houston. Boy, did Belichick lace into him! Patriots aren't supposed to do stupid.
Julian Edelman surpassed Wes Welker for the most playoff receptions (76 over 69) in Patriots history.
Brady and Belichick were grumpy because they knew if they had played a better team, they'd have been bounced. Hopefully they can come out stronger next week. Ha, if you didn't know who won the game, listening to their pressers, you would have thought they lost! :)
Expectations are high. Most teams would be giddy with an 18-point win after coughing up the ball 3 times. but our team knows better. I was nervous about this game with all the pundits predicting a walkover by the Pats, but I knew the Texans could win if the Pats beat themselves, and it looked as if they were doing just that in the first half. Fortunately the second half was much better!
Next week, either Pittsburgh or Kansas City come to Gillette Stadium for the AFC Championship Game. It's the Patriots' 6th straight AFCGG, an NFL record, and Tom's 32nd playoff game, also a record. Guess the scurrilous plot against Tom didn't work after all.
EDIT: Pittsburgh comes to Gillette next week!