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Sunday, January 13, 2013
Jackets not prominent for Texans this time

By Paul Kuharsky

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Five weeks ago, when the Texans got off their team busses here, they were all in new letterman jackets.

It was a harmless gesture of team unity. Yeah, it’s a high-schoolish deal, but injecting a little high school-style spirit into an NFL team was hardly a crime.

When the Texans bombed that night, losing 42-14 and getting a lesson in championship football, the jackets became a punch line for the some of the Patriots and plenty of the pundits.

This time around, I’ve been told only a handful of guys wore them to town.

Maybe, symbolically, Houston knows now that boosted team spirit means nothing if it’s not paired with top-flight execution when it’s measured against the caliber of top-flight execution the Patriots can deliver.

“In this day and age, I’m not surprised they became a deal,” left tackle Duane Brown said. “We were playing very well, getting a lot of coverage. It was something different that we decided to do. I’m not surprised it happened.”

In the aftermath of the blowout, I felt like the Texans were startled by the way the jackets were used against them and the way Andre Johnson having called that regular-season game the biggest in franchise history kind of backfired.

It was dumb luck, and bad luck, that New England on Monday night was the first game after the jackets came in.

They were feeling good about themselves and proudly wore them into Gillette Stadium.

They can’t be feeling as good about themselves now. They were 11-1 heading into that one. They are 2-3 since.

They felt they got some of their swag or mojo back last week. But that was a tight win over Cincinnati at home, and that’s nothing like New England on the road.

How the Texans looked getting off the bus should have zero impact on how they play at Gillette Stadium. They need to leave here not being laughed at this time.