When the Houston Texans were defeated 42-14 by the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium last month, few would have said the Texans were successful in playing their style of football to keep the game in their control.
Things were different on Saturday though, when the Texans were able to reverse their late-season misfortunes and close out the Cincinnati Bengals to advance to a divisional round re-match with the Patriots.
"That was a great example of how they like to play down there," Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia said on Tuesday of Houston's Wild Card playoff win. "Be physical, be aggressive, run the ball, control the clock, and really just do a good job of handling the game."
One of the NFL's best runners, Texans running back Arian Foster, rushed 32 times for 140 yards, his efforts boosted by the Texans never surrendering their lead in the game.
Meanwhile, quarterback Matt Schaub completed just one pass of over 20 yards in the contest -- a 22-yard third-quarter strike to top target Andre Johnson -- but Patricia on Tuesday lauded the Texans' ability to throw downfield off the play action.
"With the run game going the way they had it going, obviously it sets up the play action pass game, whether it's the play action downfield shot in the move game that they have, or as we saw they got the screen game going a little bit too," Patricia said. "But that complements their deeper, downfield throws along with their dropback game."
The Texans controlled the ball for over 38 minutes in the game, although the Bengals had an interception return for a touchdown in the first half that kept their offense off the field, while the Texans offense generally sputtered in the second half.
"The more they can go ahead and establish a solid running game, and obviously they have the players to do it and be physical and aggressive, I think that's the way they want to go," Patricia said.