- Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
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A sampling of comments from Texans coaches and players on Sunday's rematch with the Patriots, via Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle, John McClain of the Houston Chronicle and the Houston Texans official website:
DL Antonio Smith: "New England’s intensity was higher than ours [on Dec. 10]. 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."
RB Arian Foster: “I don’t know how much I’m going to look at that [Dec. 10 game], man, honestly. [The Patriots] are a good team. We’re a good team. I’ll glance at it. But I’m not going to sit there and burn a candle and watch it. ... No one is thinking about us losing like that. We put that behind us the next week and that’s what you have to do in this league. They’re a great team obviously. 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. Anytime you give them opportunities, they’ll take advantage of them but we’ll play our best up there."
OLB Connor Barwin: "Obviously, we were disappointed in how we played. The difference is there’s a lot more on the line this time. We didn’t play well the first time. We know they’ll be ready, and we know we’ll have to [turn] it up a notch if we want to go there and get the win. ... Obviously we were disappointed in how we played, embarrassed with how we played."
DL J.J. Watt: "It’s a great challenge. That’s a very good team. They know what they’re doing in the playoffs. They’ve been there many times before. They know what it takes. It’s going to take everything we have, and we’re really excited about that challenge and I know we’re going to have one heckuva week of practice."
WR Andre Johnson: "We knew that if we went out and took care of business [versus the Bengals] we would get another shot at them. They’re a great football team, we know that. Last time we went up there, we didn’t put out a good performance. Actually, they gave us a real good butt whooping. But we’ll be ready.”
CB Johnathan Joseph: "They’re not world beaters, but obviously they whooped us pretty good the first time. We’ll have that on our minds some, but we just can’t focus on that because we just have to focus on the goal at hand, and that’s going 1-0."
S Danieal Manning: " I think when we went up there to Foxborough we just didn’t play with the type of swagger and the energy and the urgency that they played with. I think we were playing a lot of ‘I-ball.’ And what I mean by that, guys were feeling like, ‘I have to make this play. I have to do this. I have to do that.’ Instead of playing within the defense and our system and we were able to be exposed.”
QB Matt Schaub: "What we learned and the situations we were in a month ago, we can definitely pull from that. 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."
WR Kevin Walter: "Right when we left there last time, we wanted to play those guys again. 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 Foxborough and get it done."
Center Chris Myers: "They’re very, very hard to beat up there, especially at this time of year. We have a huge test ahead of us.”
FB James Casey: "I feel like, personally, that we didn’t make as many plays [Dec. 10] as we had. We had guys open who could have made plays and for whatever reason we just weren’t getting those big plays that we needed. When you’re going back to a place like that you’re familiar with it, you know what the crowd’s going to be like, what the stadium’s going to be like so that’s not something that’s new to us. I think that will help us. We kind of, just like they say, get hot going into the playoffs but I think it’s more important to get hot during the playoffs.”
TE Owen Daniels: "When you face a team like New England that scores a lot of points, you have to take advantage of your opportunities down there. That will be a focus this week obviously. Something that we can definitely improve on, something that we can take away and improve on from this game. But I’m feeling pretty good about our defense right now with the way they’re playing. Hopefully they bring that to the table next week."
Coach Gary Kubiak: "We understand the challenge that we have. That is what is awesome about this league: it’s the ultimate challenge. We’ve earned our right to go back. We want to go back and play a heck of a lot better than we did."
Owner Bob McNair: "We just need to play with the same level of intensity that we had [versus the Bengals] and if we do that we’ll do very well. I’m not worried, if we have that kind of intensity we can play with anybody.”