Texans cage Bengals, will get another chance at Pats

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Texans cage Bengals, will get another chance at Pats

When the Houston Texans visited Foxboro less than a month ago, they tapped out after 45 minutes.

Next Sunday, they'll be back. And the question they'll answer is whether that loss built their resolve or broke it.

The Texans got past Cincinnati Saturday in a Wild Card matchup 24-10. It wasn't a work of art but the Texans haven't really had any of those since November began and their declining performance started in earnest.

Houston worked its way down from the No. 1 overall seed in the AFC down to the third seed by losing three of their final four games.

In taking out the sixth-seeded Bengals, Houston relied on its defense and the soon-to-be NFL Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt.

The Texans didn't allow an offensive touchdown while forcing Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton into a 14-for-30 passing evening.

Houston didn't do too much offensively either, managing four field goals and an Arian Foster touchdown.

The Texans were dominated by New England in the first meeting in a game where the stage just seemed too big for quarterback Matt Schaub.

Houston can - if it chooses - lament two things from its first meeting.

They ran into an offensive buzzsaw in New England that took advantage of some Houston injuries. And misfires by Schaub undid their offense rather than New England completely dominating them.

Schaub had the Texans at the Patriots 21 on Houston's second drive before he got picked. The Texans also failed to convert on fourth downs from the Patriots 33 and 38 in the second quarter.

If, if, if. ...

The Patriots, meanwhile, can note that they were without Rob Gronkowski and still scored touchdowns on their first three possessions while rendering Watt a non-factor.

There's plenty of time to mull what's changed and what will be different. But the Texans will know that this trip to New England - and the fact they are traveling at all - dates back to the Monday Night Drubbing they took on December 10.

Kraft won't hold a grudge over Deflategate, but he also won't forget it

Kraft won't hold a grudge over Deflategate, but he also won't forget it

Haters gonna hate. Robert Kraft knows that, and he's not going to hold a grudge because of it. But he won't forget, either.

The New England Patriots owner appeared on the latest episode of HBO's "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel" for an interview with Andrea Kremer that aired Tuesday night, and he was as candid as any member of the organization has been throughout the Deflategate saga.

“I really don’t hold grudges,” Kraft admitted in the interview, per WEEI. “I mean, I remember everything, but I move on. ... Envy and jealousy are incurable diseases. The haters still hate. And I understand it, and we’ll do our best to keep them in that position.”

And while Kraft isn't holding grudges, he still recognizes the negative impact the controversy left on Tom Brady's pristine reputation.

“He’s just not the greatest quarterback in the history of the NFL,” Kraft began. “He’s an amazing human being. And is genuine. And as nice as everybody thinks he is, he’s nicer. And to see anyone attack him as an individual or his integrity. And that just wasn’t fair.”

Bennett says he is 'just chilling' and hasn't given free agency 'a ton of thought'

Bennett says he is 'just chilling' and hasn't given free agency 'a ton of thought'

Will Martellus Bennett be back with the Patriots next season?

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport says it's "a real possibility" Bennett leaves given the asking price and potential offers.

Less than an hour later, the unrestricted free agent sent out a tweet responding to speculation about his future.

Bennett, who will 30 years old in March, had seven touchdowns in 19 games in his first season with the New England Patriots.