HOUSTON — Texans defensive end Antonio Smith said there was something fishy about the Patriots’ offensive adjustments in the second half Sunday, in which Tom Brady passed for 263 yards and led five scoring drives.
“Either teams are spying on us or scouting us . . . I don’t know what it is,” Smith said after Houston lost its 10th straight game, 34-31. “We had some ways that we were going to play this week that just got put in this week, and it was just miraculous that they changed up some things that they did on offense and keyed on what we put in this week to stop what they were doing.
“It was things that they had never done before out here. It just seems miraculous to me.”
Smith did not offer specifics in regards to the changes the Texans made defensively, fearing it would reveal too much of their scheme. But that did not stop him from hinting that Brady and the Patriots somehow had an unfair advantage in erasing a 10-point halftime deficit.
“You would have to be a descendant of Tonestradamus [Nostradamus] to know what we put in this week to be able to change that fast,” Smith said. “It is a specific thing that was important to what we were going to do today, to how we would call the defense. They changed it up in a way to where you were in in-decision in calling the defense that way. There’s no way . . . we have not done it ever before and they had never changed it ever before. So it was just kind of fishy how it got changed. It just let me know that something just ain’t right.”
But conspiracy theories aside, Smith did extend some praise New England’s way.
“I would say they’re pretty good,” the nine-year NFL veteran said. “I know Bill Belichick and Tom Brady are the best at their craft, because they put so much into their craft.”
That Brady adjusted to what the Texans were doing defensively did not come as a surprise to Houston cornerback Kareem Jackson, though.
“He found the mismatch,” Jackson said. “That’s the thing with their offense; they find the mismatch and exploit it. Coming in, we knew he would make adjustments as the game went on and we knew he would get the ball out quick. That’s what he does. That’s why he’s so good. A couple times they caught us in mismatches and he was able to go to it for some big plays coming out of halftime.”
One of those big plays came on the Patriots’ third snap of the third quarter, a 50-yard reception by tight end Rob Gronkowski. That set the tone for the second half, as the Patriots racked up 307 yards and collected 19 first downs.
Brady finished with 371 yards and two touchdowns.
“Brady is obviously one of the greatest of all time,” said Texans linebacker Darryl Sharpton. “He showed the reason why today. He had a lot of passing yards and he is able to dissect the defenses very well.”
Fellow linebacker Joe Mays shared that sentiment.
“They have a special guy,” he said in reference to Brady. “He’s a guy that’s going to be in the Hall of Fame. He’s one of the best two quarterbacks in the league, him and Peyton Manning. He’s just a guy that can definitely pick you apart at any given time.”
The Texans’ defense entered Sunday’s game allowing 290.4 yards per game of offense and 171.8 passing yards per game — each the lowest average in the NFL. Regardless, the Patriots offense had little trouble against the vaunted Houston unit.
As Jackson put it, “That’s Brady for you.”