BOSTON (CBS) — The Houston Texans aren’t denying they were beaten soundly by the Patriots one month ago, but they don’t seem afraid of heading back to the scene of the crime this weekend, with a trip to the AFC Championship Game on the line.
“Right when we left there last time, we wanted to play those guys again,” wide receiver Kevin Walter, who had zero catches against the Partriots in Week 14, said this weekend, according to the Texans’ website. “We had a bad outing, and we knew we could play a lot better than the first time. We are excited to go up to Foxboro and get it done.”
While the Texans are showing no fear, they are showing plenty of respect about their upcoming opponent.
“I can tell you right now we actually do have to beat those guys to be a Super Bowl-worthy team,” J.J. Watt said. “But it’s a great challenge. It’s a very good team. They know what they’re doing in the playoffs. They’ve been here many times before. They know what it takes, so it’s going to take everything we have and we’re really excited about that challenge.”
“They’re a great team, obviously,” said Arian Foster, who was held to just 46 yards on 15 carries against New England this year. “They have a great coach and a great quarterback and they have great role players on their team. I have a lot of respect for them but we can play ball, too. We didn’t play our best football up there and we hurt ourselves with penalties and mistakes. Any time you give them opportunities, they’ll take advantage of them, but we’ll play our best up there.”
Those mistakes for Houston included seven penalties and a Matt Schaub interception with the Texans trailing 7-0. It was the Texans’ only turnover, but it was one that changed the game, turning either a 7-3 or 7-7 game into a 14-0 Patriots lead in the first quarter.
“What we learned and the situations we were in a month ago, we can definitely pull from that,” Schaub said, according to the AP. “We’ve been down that road. We know what it takes to win and that’s play good road football. We didn’t do that last time we played up there.”
Foster said he doesn’t plan on spending too much time watching the film from that game in New England, but veteran defensive lineman Antonio Smith said it’s important for Houston to remember how it felt to go to Gillette Stadium and get beaten.
“New England’s intensity was higher than ours,” Smith told The Houston Chronicle. “You feel, like, ashamed to say it, but in that game, you could tell they were putting forth that extra effort. They were making those plays that I’m talking about to win. I’m pregnant with it and I told them that on the sideline. Can’t forget it. You gotta take it with you. You gotta feel it in you. Every bit of despair you felt going off that field, you gotta feel it. That’s the level you gotta go to when you’re playing a team like that. It can’t just be work as usual. It’s gotta be personal.”