But now that he’s gotten past the first postseason game of his career, he expects a much better performance.
“We go up with a lot of confidence,” Schaub said. “If you want to move on, you’ve got to bring a sense of nastiness and attitude with you to go out and dominate your opponent on every play.”
That’s impossible, of course, especially against the Patriots’ offense.
Brady’s next postseason win will be his 17th, breaking a tie with Joe Montana for the most by any quarterback. He’ll get a boost from having tight ends Rob Gronkowski, sidelined for the first game against Houston, and Aaron Hernandez on the field together for only the sixth time this season after both dealt with injuries.
“It’s all about our execution,” Brady said. “They were out there a lot together last year and when we executed well it looked good, and when we didn’t it looked bad.”
Another performance against Watt like the last one would help. The NFL sacks leader with 20 1-2, plus 16 passes defensed, had none of either in the previous meeting.
“I got quite a few hits on Brady, but, obviously, the ball was gone every time,” Watt said. “That’s why you get another shot, and this is the playoffs and I’m going to bring everything that I have.”
The Patriots plan to do the same. Only two of their players, Brady and Wilfork, remain from the last Super Bowl-winning team in the 2004 season.
“We all play this game for one goal: to be champions,” Wilfork said. “You can’t take a situation and overlook it. And the situation for us is the Houston Texans. We can’t overlook this team. We have to go in and play good football. If we play well, we’ll be OK, but if we don’t, we’ll be in trouble.”
And then that one-sided win just a month ago really would mean nothing.
“People have their own opinions about it, but we know what kind of football team we are,” Johnson said. “We know if we go out and play well, we’re capable of beating anybody.”
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