Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Texans Trying to Shrug off a Rout

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Texans Trying to Shrug off a Rout

Article excerpt

HOUSTON --

They have been derided and disrespected to such an extent that no one would have blinked if the Houston Texans had pushed back by now, let fly a venomous tirade of trash talk at the doubters and defended their reputation.

What would be the downside? That they would stoke the ire of the New England Patriots and be beaten worse than 42-14 in Sunday's AFC divisional playoff game?

Instead, the Texans exhibited a veteran cool and clung to a clinical approach this week, preferring a clever coping mechanism that included a quiet anger and acceptance about what happened the night of Dec. 10 in Foxborough, Mass.

"That's the secret weapon of the underdog," defensive end Antonio Smith said Thursday. "You just sit there and take it, you let it harbor, you let it fester, until it grows to whatever you need it to grow to."

The Texans' loss to New England shook their foundation and began a season-ending stretch of three losses in four games.

Self-imposed amnesia about Tom Brady's four touchdown passes or how Brandon Lloyd recovered his teammate Danny Woodhead's fumble in the end zone for another score would be the easy way out. But the Texans said they had calmly dissected the videotape, offered no excuses and refused to manufacture bravado for the rematch.

"We got our butts kicked; that's pretty much it," wide receiver Andre Johnson said.

Coach Gary Kubiak said: "That game's gone. It seems like it was a couple years ago, not a month ago. We understand it. We own it. We did not play good. We understand all those things.

"Believe it or not, guys don't worry about that," he said. "Players let things go quick; coaches let things go quick."

Arian Foster, through social media, chose to use an old-school ploy for motivation. Foster replaced the avatar on his Twitter account with a photo of an excerpt from a newspaper article by a Boston columnist calling the Texans "frauds" and "tomato cans."

Call it double-reverse psychology from the introspective Foster, the key to the Texans' clock-consuming game plan, who had 46 yards on 15 carries against New England in December but was rendered useless when the Patriots stormed to a 28-0 lead early in the third quarter. …

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