Texans: Patriots 'showed us what championship ball is'


Texans: Patriots 'showed us what championship ball is'

FOXBORO -- To be the man, you've got to beat the man.

The 11-1 Houston Texans -- the AFC's top dog -- entered New England on Monday night looking to beat the defending AFC Champion Patriots.

It wasn't a playoff game at Gillette Stadium. But it certainly was a chance for the Texans to silence any critics that may exist or continue to "disrespect" them. They had something to prove.

But after the Patriots' 42-14 rout of the Texans in the national spotlight, the team with the best record in the NFL learned something on Monday night.

They are not the Patriots.

"It doesn't feel like we have 11 wins," said Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips after the loss. "It doesn't feel like we have more wins than New England right now."

They do though. The Patriots are now 10-3, and are currently in line to be the No. 2 seed in the AFC playoffs. So technically, the Patriots still aren't the top dog in the conference. But after Monday night's debacle, the Texans realize, neither are they.

"They showed us what championship ball is," said Houston linebacker Bradie James. "I think we put too much focus on this game as just a huge game, and not doing our approach as far as just going 1-0. And sometimes guys get a little tight, things get a little out of hand. But the Patriots played lights out in the first half. That's what it takes. I think they showed us what it takes to be a champion.

"Man, we just didn't play the way that we wanted to," added James. "But like I said, we got that example, as far as the intensity, the way you have to come out and you have to play when you come into somebody's house. These guys have been good for so long, and so, we know now. We know. And it's up to us to just man up, take this one. We've got to take it on the chin, and get ready to go back to work."

Quarterback Matt Schaub described the loss as "humbling" afterwards. He finished the game 19-of-32 for 232 yards, zero touchdowns, and one interception.

His first-quarter interception that ended up in the hands of Devin McCourty led to a 14-0 Patriots lead. But to some, this one was over well before that.

"We got our tails kicked," said Texans coach Gary Kubiak.

"I mean, the first play of the game we line up wrong," said Kubiak. "So that's really concerning. You know what you're fixing to do on the first play of the game for about three days, and then you line up wrong and get a penalty. That's concerning."

Houston received the ball first, but before they even could snap the ball, they got penalized for an illegal formation.

"Before we knew it, it was 21-0," said James. "We had to settle down and get back to doing some things. We had to stop them on third down. We were not getting off the field on third down. And that was our achilles heel, especially in that first half, first quarter."

It was over early, for sure. And the Texans learned that, regardless of their record, they're still not the top dog in the AFC. Not with the way the Patriots beat them on Monday night.

And Houston wide receiver Andre Johnson summed it all up perfectly.

"They just gave gave us a good ass-whooping," said Johnson. "That's pretty much it."

Pregame Number: Perimeter pain for the Bulls


Pregame Number: Perimeter pain for the Bulls

Tonight’s pregame number is 133. That’s the total number of made 3-point field goals made last season by the players starting for the Bulls tonight. Whatever the Bulls reasons for signing Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade were this offseason, floor spacing was not one of them.

Wade’s career mark of 28.4 percent from distance is the third-worst percentage among active players with 600+ career attempts, while Rondo’s 28.9 career 3-pt FG% is seventh worst. And, for what it’s worth, the new-look Bulls shot 31.8 percent from beyond the arc (21st in the NBA) this preseason, while hitting 7.7 3-pointers per game. 

Despite allowing 15 3’s last night vs the Nets, perimeter defense should once again be a strength for the Celtics. Last season, the Celtics were fourth in the NBA with an opponent 3-pt FG% of 33.6. They were 38-15 when holding opponents to eight or fewer 3’s. 

With the NBA continuing to trend towards more 3-point shooting, it will be interesting to see how Fred Hoiberg’s offense looks this season, and especially tonight vs the Celtics.

Thursday's Patriots-Bills practice participation/report: Edelman still limited


Thursday's Patriots-Bills practice participation/report: Edelman still limited

FOXBORO -- Even though Dion Lewis returned to practice on Thursday, there were no changes to the Patriots injury report.

Because Lewis remains on the physically unable to perform list, he does not count against the active roster, and the team is not required to list his participation level following practices. The Patriots have three weeks to activate Lewis, and whenever they do, he'll be eligible to show up on the participation report.

There were no changes to New England's injury report, meaning that tight end Martellus Bennett, receiver Julian Edelman and linebacker Jamie Collins all continue to be limited. Edelman has been limited with a foot injury since before his team's Week 6 matchup with the Browns. Despite just nine catches for 65 yards in Tom Brady's first two games back from suspension, Edelman bounced back against the Steelers and reeled in nine passes for 60 yards.

The Bills continue to be hampered by a variety of ailments. Linebacker Zach Brown, who almost single-handedly ruined Patriots plans back in Week 4, missed Thursday's workout with an illness, as did guard Richie Incognito. Running back LeSean McCoy missed practice for the second straight day with a hamstring injury, and receiver Marquis Goodwin was out with a concussion. 

Here's Thursday's full practice participation/injury report for the Patriots and Bills:


TE Martellus Bennett (ankle)
RB Brandon Bolden (knee)
LB Jamie Collins (hip)
WR Julian Edelman (foot)
DL Woodrow Hamilton (shoulder)
LB Shea McClellin (concussion)
WR Malcolm Mitchell (hamstring)
LB Elandon Roberts (ankle)
DL Vincent Valentine (back)


LB Zach Brown (illness)
TE Cordy Glenn (ankle)
WR Marquise Goodwin (concussion)
G Richie Incognito (illness)
RB LeSean McCoy (hamstring)
S Aaron Williams (neck)

DT Corbin Bryan (shoulder)
TE Charles Clay (knee)
DT Marcell Dareus (hamstring)
RB Mike Gillislee (foot)
LB Jerry Hughes (hand)
LB Lerentee McCray (knee)
G John Miller (shoulder)
WR Robert Woods (foot)

T Seantreal Henderson (back)

LB Lorenzo Alexander (non-injury related)
DT Adolphus Washington (illness)